I need to get one thing out of the way first: I didn’t vote for the Genesis G70 to be MotorTrend Car of the Year. I was part of the underground movement trying to award it to the Honda Insight hybrid. But our effort was Sparta defending Thermopylae: valiant but doomed. And in the end, I can honestly say I’m fine with the Genesis having won. It deserved the honor of being the first South Korean vehicle to win an OTY award, and it won fair and square.
But this also means, dear reader, that my year-long loan period will not be a wet kiss to Hyundai‘s luxury brand. Sure, a fanboi would wax lyrical about the latest entry into the hotly contested “Is the G70 better than a BMW 3 Series?” battle (Answer: Yes, as seen in a recent comparison test)
From my perspective, however, this means I may be a bit more judicious in describing my year-long experience (I can hear our VP of advertising sales screaming from his palatial office in Detroit as I type this). But that circumspect tone will only serve to help you better, in terms of defining the nascent Genesis brand’s place in the automotive world, and answering the questions that many of you have about this upstart entry:
Is the G70 just a Hyundai (or Kia) with better leather seats and stereo?
Is the G70 worth the price?
Is the G70 as good as the Germans or the Japanese?
Is the G70 service experience more like Lexus, or Hyundai?
And so on.
Trust me, over the course of the year, these questions will be answered. Just because a car wins Car of the Year doesn’t mean it cannot have faults. We will find them and call them out. You only hurt the ones you love, after all.
But we will also celebrate the G70’s victories, smart plays, and savvy decisions. And there are many, otherwise it never would have reached the top of our podium.
In ordering our COTY representative for a year-long loan, it was tempting to see if we could get a value-packed base model G70 with a 2.0-liter turbo-four to see if we could underprice a loaded Honda Accord (you can, BTW, as a base G70 starts at $35,895, and you can spec an Accord EX-L 2.0T all the way up to $36,034).
But the enthusiasts in the office (and my right foot) voted for the tire-melting 3.3-liter 365-hp, 376-lb-ft V-6 version. Turns out Genesis allows you to create a value-packed V-6 version, as well, for thousands (and thousands and thousands) less than the German triad. So, well done, there. The folks at Genesis must get up very early in the morning.
The G70 RWD 3.3T Elite sport sedan we ordered comes in at $43,750, plus $1,750 for the Elite package and $995 destination, totaling $46,495.
Sharp-eyed readers will see the price above and flip back to the October issue of MotorTrend, where Jonny Lieberman raved about the G70’s platform-sharing, slightly larger cousin—the Kia Stinger GT—which crossed the pricing scanner at $50,100. This pricing paradox for two nearly identically equipped vehicles, the more expensive one coming from the mass-market brand, is something that should be reconciled in Seoul. If Toyota priced a Lexus ES cheaper than a Camry XLE, heads would roll in Nagoya.
So, what do you get with a G70 for 46 large? A lot.
The throaty V-6 is mated to an eight-speed shift-by-wire automatic transmission with paddle shifters and rev match, along with a limited-slip differential. The 19-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 summer tires and clamped by Brembo ventilated front and rear disc brakes.
Lighting features include full LED headlights and taillights, automatic high beams, LED running lights, and LED turn indicator lights on the power-folding side mirrors.
Full leather seats provide the driver with 16-way adjustment and four-way lumbar support (the passenger seat gets a 12-and-4 adjustment pattern). Both driver and passenger get heated and ventilated seats.
A scan of the interior shows aluminum interior trim, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather, and dual-zone climate control. Information comes from a 7.0-inch instrument panel screen and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and satellite radio blasting through a 15-speaker Lexicon stereo. There are three USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity.
The G70’s smart cruise control brings the Genesis all the way to a dead stop. Safety features include seven airbags (including driver’s kneebag), forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, cross-traffic collision warning, lane keeping assist, driver attentiveness warning, and a rearview camera with parking guidelines.
Adding the Elite package nets rain-sensing wipers, parking distance warning, a “wide” sunroof, and a wireless charging pad.
In total, that’s a lot of stuff in a well-priced package. This is no stripped-down version designed to lure in someone who just wants the cheapest V-6 engine in the segment. This is value, pure and simple. As for how this package performs, stay tuned.