Genesis GV70 SUV review
"The Genesis GV70 is a smooth and comfortable SUV from Hyundai's upmarket brand"
- Attractive interior
- Generously equipped
- Expensive to run
- Sedate handling
- No hybrid
Please give a warm welcome to the Genesis GV70, just when you were already struggling to decide which SUV to pick. If you aren't aware, Genesis is the upmarket sub-brand of Hyundai, in a similar way to how Lexus models sit above the Toyota range. The GV70 is designed to take on models such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Lexus NX.
While Genesis is new in the UK, it's been around in other markets for some time, and comes with the backing of Hyundai's impressive reliability and a five-year warranty package that also includes servicing and roadside assistance. Hyundai has been producing cars like the Tucson with increasingly top-notch interior design, and the GV70 moves the game on even further still.
Everywhere you touch inside, there are high quality, soft-touch materials and a sense of luxury executed in a slightly different manner to German rivals. Highlights like knurled column stalks show real attention to detail, and the Genesis feels more like an SUV designed to soothe and comfort its occupants, rather than be driven aggressively. It also feels bang up-to-date, thanks to a huge 14.5-inch ultra-wide infotainment touchscreen, which can also be controlled via a rotary knob mounted on the centre console.
Perhaps the GV70's biggest limiting factor is its engines, which may appeal to private buyers, but won't make it popular on company car lists. Both the 2.5-litre petrol turbo and 2.2-litre diesel sit in the top Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) bandings, with CO2 emissions of over 180g/km for each. While the petrol struggles to hit 30mpg, the diesel is a better all-rounder, with fuel-efficiency closer to 40mpg.
Thanks to a standard eight-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, the GV70 has smooth acceleration, and is easily quick enough to keep up with most other cars on the road. It's at its best when driven in a fairly gentle manner, though, because it's quite heavy and this is noticeable in corners. Here, the GV70 rolls on its suspension and has rather heavy steering.
Stay away from the thirsty petrol, and the GV70 makes sense if you want a comfortable and quiet SUV that stands out from the crowd. It's generously equipped and should also prove to be safe and reliable.
MPG, running costs & CO2
At launch, the GV70 is available with two engines, but a lack of electrification and relatively high CO2 emissions means neither is likely to appeal to company-car drivers. This could change in future, of course, but for now the GV70 is better suited to families looking for a stylish and upmarket SUV.
The 2.5-litre petrol could suit drivers with a low annual mileage, but even on a motorway run we struggled to see 30mpg; it has an official economy figure of 29.7mpg. Its CO2 emissions of 216g/km are also very high for the class. These are similar figures to the BMW X3 M40i, which offers significantly faster performance over the GV70.
For this reason, the 2.2-litre diesel will be the better choice for most drivers for the time being, with fuel economy of around 40mpg. Emissions are expected to be around 180-190g/km, so it will also sit in the highest BiK band, but owners should at least get further between refuelling stops.
Engines, drive & performance
Despite being a medium-sized SUV, the GV70 weighs more than two tonnes, and it feels rather heavy on the move. There's a reasonable amount of body lean if you drive it with vigour, and while Genesis has made the steering heavier to add a sporting feel, it actually makes the GV70 feel a bit sluggish from behind the wheel.
The 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine has 300bhp, so performance is plentiful, with 0-62mph taking just 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 149mph. Like the diesel, it's fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive as standard.
With 199bhp, the 2.2-litre diesel isn't as powerful as the petrol, but it has more torque. The upshot is that in most normal driving situations, it feels able to get the GV70 up to speed without much fuss. Its official 0-62mph time is 7.9 seconds and it'll do 133mph, but more important is the fact it's very refined and smooth most of the time, boosting the Genesis' upmarket feel.
Interior & comfort
The GV70 has lots of sound deadening, so most of the time it's impressively quiet, even if you go for the diesel. Ride comfort is reasonably smooth as well, but an Audi Q5 does even better here, particularly when fitted with air suspension.
Genesis has clearly prioritised the interior design and quality is excellent. Indeed, everything on display and within reach is of a high standard, and there are unique touches like the knurled effect column stalks and glass-topped rotary gear selector. Soft-touch materials are plentiful, while parts you'll grab like the door handles have a reassuringly sturdy and metallic feel.
Infotainment is taken care of by a large and impressive 14.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, but the graphics don't quite match Jaguar's Pivi Pro setup and it's not as user friendly as BMW's iDrive software. A round rotary click wheel can be used to control the menus, which is a nice feature while driving. Its position on the centre console isn't ideal though, because it's next to the gear selector and easily grabbed in error.
Trim levels are called Premium Line, Sport Line and Luxury Line. Sport Line gets a more aggressive look, in a similar style to BMW's M Sport trim, with 21-inch alloy wheels, a subtly different exterior look, dark chrome trim and bigger tailpipes.
Practicality & boot space
As seems to be the current fashion, the GV70 is somewhere between an estate car on stilts, and a traditional SUV. Inside, the driving position feels quite car-like, and there's plenty of room. Perhaps surprisingly, there's also decent head room and knee room in the back seats.
The tailgate features powered opening, and there's a lever just inside the boot to split and fold the rear seats. There's just over 540 litres of luggage space, and there's some extra space beneath the boot floor. This doesn't put it far behind the BMW X3's 550-litre boot, and should provide plenty of space for most families.
Reliability & safety
While Genesis is a new brand in the UK, the fact it's the luxury wing of Hyundai means there's little to worry about. Hyundai was ranked a middling 16th out of 29 manufacturers in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, which was a small slip from 13th-place in 2020. A reasonable 21% of customers reported a fault within the first year of ownership, and some respondents reported issues with build quality.
The GV70 hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP yet, but the larger Genesis G80 and Genesis GV80 were recently awarded five-star scores. With some shared technology, we're hoping for a similar result for the smaller SUV.
Plentiful amounts of safety kit is expected, including collision-mitigation features like autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assist. The GV70's myriad of sensors can detect vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles ahead and to the left and right when approaching a junction, and apply the brakes automatically if the driver doesn't spot them in time.