Back in Christmas of 2020, our Jaguar F-Pace got stolen from our house by some kids that wanted to have fun but quickly found themselves driving a bright red diesel Jaguar with my last name as the number plate.
And, while the good people at QLD Police managed to find it and change its colour to fingerprint chalk white (would make a nice option), my wife refused to ever drive it again.
It was tainted, she said, and even though I joked that they did less damage to the wheels in those two weeks they had the Jag than she would have done (which didn’t go down all that well), it was pretty clear that we needed to get ourselves a new family car. This is dangerous territory for any car-loving man who loves cars but knows this decision is not up to him.
My wife wanted a Bentley Bentayga or a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but having predicted this potentially costly exercise much earlier, my house builder and I had designed the upstairs garage of my new place so it was just not long enough for such expensive things to fit comfortably.
There was also no way she was going to park one of these in the downstairs garage next to the less practical cars. Again, this once seemingly genius sense of planning did not go down well with the other half.
After much arguing (aka listening), I found myself on a very warm Saturday in the autumn of 2021, passenger-ing in a Bentayga around Brisbane with my wife smiling as though she had just found her new thing to buy and the salesman eagerly talking to her about the history, prestige and the excellent quilting of the British mega-SUV.
Annoyingly, everything he was saying was true, the Bentayga is a brilliant thing, but my kids would destroy it in about 15 minutes and parting with $500,000 for an SUV that would have its wheels destroyed in less than a week would give me a great deal of anxiety.
With time running out, I devised this brilliant idea to see if I could entice her into… a Genesis. You see, though, for these ideas to become reality, they cannot be forced or presented as cheaper alternatives. One must take some learnings from the movie Inception and implant the idea organically, which takes delicate planning.
You can’t just present the Genesis as an alternative to Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi (or, God forbid, a Lexus).
Thankfully CarExpert performance editor and former WRC driver Chris Atkinson happened to have a GV80 at the time.
I invited him to come around for a beer just when my wife happened to be home, and what do you know, this new unknown brand looked like a Bentley, had an interior that almost rivals a Bentley (seriously), and … well, let’s not talk about the price.
At the time the GV80 was just too big for us, so the next step was to go and get into a GV70. Some calls were made and without too much hassle, a beautiful matte white GV70 with all the options showed up to our house.
After that momentary hesitation and wording up the kids to tell mummy just how much they loved the Genesis, it was a done deal.
Now, two years later and 20,000km on the clock, my wife absolutely loves the Genesis GV70 and I have become a true advocate for the Korean SUV, which helped me save hundreds of thousands of dollars without really missing out on anything tangible.
People often ask what I would recommend in the luxury medium-SUV segment, and the GV70 is always at the top of my list for its pure luxury, fit and finish, design and price point.
Recently, we parted ways with the luxury South Korean SUV because we have come to the point where the larger GV80 actually makes more sense for our growing family and their friends; but while we anticipate that vehicle’s arrival, let’s talk about our experience with the GV70.
Our Genesis GV70 priced today is around $94,000 drive-away if bought in QLD – it has gone up a little bit in price, but what hasn’t?
It’s a 2.5T AWD with the Luxury Sport Line package, finished in Matterhorn White (matte) with Ultramarine blue Nappa leather.
You can get a base model rear-wheel drive at around $75,000 drive-away but I think AWD for about $2500 more makes sense – and if you can stretch to one of the three option packs, it really does add that sense of luxury to the GV70.
Although it looks spectacular from the outside, the GV70’s main appeal is the interior – I have no qualms in telling you that the Koreans now do a better interior than Mercedes-Benz, at least in the this segment.
There is not a surface that feels cheap, rather the opposite, because the good folks at Hyundai clearly had the same dilemma as me in wanting an alternative for their wife buying a Bentley or Rolls-Royce and decided to make their own.
The craftsmanship inside is definitely a step above what you would get from a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLC. It kind of has to be, though, because Genesis as a brand needs to make a massive statement to justify its existence.
You really need to just jump in one in order to know why this is not another Infiniti and why – in my opinion anyway – it will have a much easier time in the long run, taking sales away from the Germans than Lexus.
Whether it’s the cooled and heated front seats with beautiful quilting or the beautifully knurled switchgear, there is nothing inside the GV70 that lacks luxury.
Despite two years of use, our GV70’s interior still looked as good new today as it did on the day it arrived. Everything wipes off and there were no indents or strains on the leather.
The main complaint from our use of the car is the lack of wireless Apple CarPlay. This is mainly an issue because the car lacked USB-C, so fast-charging wasn’t really a thing and it would be far easier to just drop the phone into the wireless charger and let it connect wirelessly. Alas, you have to plug it in.
My wife had a phone holder setup with the cord always attached so she never even noticed the limitation, but it did annoy me a fair bit each time I drove it, but certainly not enough to be a deal breaker.
Best of all, I ended up buying a $45 wireless CarPlay streamer from eBay that would connect to the car then connect to my phone wirelessly which worked a treat.
The GV70 has a fingerprint scanner that can help you set up a profile so that when you jump in, it can recall your preferred your settings for air-con, seats etc. It’s a nice feature but we didn’t get much use out of it as it had a primary driver the majority of the time, and each time I jumped in and bumped my knee into the steering column it was already too late.
The ‘3D’ instrument cluster is a bit of a gimmick, almost a little disorientating at first, but does help highlight certain aspects you want to see by making them appear to be floating ahead of the rest. In reality though, you just can rely on the head-up display.
This is the only car my wife has driven for such a long period of time that we have not had a speeding ticket in, which is testament to not only the HUD, but also the adaptive cruise control system.
Just like our Jaguar, you select the gears using a rotary dial. Unlike the Jag though, there’s a second rotary dial ahead of the transmission controller which needs to be used in lieu of a touchscreen. This is ok once you get used to it, but I certainly mistook it for the transmission dial for the first few weeks of driving.
The lower touchscreen is devoted to air-conditioning functions including front seat heating and cooling. With the options on our GV70, the kids could also pick to have seat heating and as they jumped out of their booster seats, they definitely got to better appreciate just how supportive and well made the second row of seating was.
Although the coupe-like shape may suggest that it’s compromised, never once did we managed to fill it to the point where we needed more room. There’s 542 litres of space behind the second row, which expands to 1678 litres with those seats folded almost flat.
You can opt for the more powerful 3.5T twin-turbo V6, but that felt somewhat unnecessary for our inner-city use and we ended up with a 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol pumping out a very healthy 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque o all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Genesis claims a thirsty fuel economy figure of 9.8L/100km but its relatively accurate in mixed driving, though you will tend to hover around the 12L/100km mark (95 RON required) for everyday driving in town.
Despite not being the top-spec GV70 in terms of performance, the 2.5-litre AWD can still do the 0-100km/h dash in a very respectable 6.4 seconds, which is frankly more than you will ever need in a family SUV.
With the average fuel economy and the 66L fuel tank, expect to get around 550km per fill. We always ran it on 98 RON fuel instead, so perhaps it may do a little less on 95.
Before we get into the driving, there is one particular feature of the GV70 that I really wish to bring attention to, and that is the remote start and drive system.
It’s now far more common than ever before and of course Teslas have it as well, but for where our GV70 was parked in the rather small upstairs garage, being able to remotely turn the car on, have it safely drive out of the garage before the kids and I jumped it, was extremely useful to avoid the doors hitting the other car in there or something else.
It was also perfect for when we did the weekly shopping as I would reverse the car in half way into the garage, open the boot to get everything out, then remotely drive it back further.
Best of all, it uses the car’s sensors so it’s basically impossible to hit anything going forward or backward.
This is a really simple feature that every car should have because if you live in inner city, being able to get out of the car before you park it can mean the difference between utilising a tight parking space or not.
From a driving perspective, the GV70 was a rather surprising package. It rode far better than the Jaguar F-Pace we had and also with much more confidence.
If you want the ultimate, go for the bigger motor but if all you’re doing in inner-city commutes, the four-cylinder is more than enough.
We found the ride to be comfortable despite the upgraded 21-inch wheels and regardless of what driving mode it was in, the GV70 adapted well to what we asked it to do, be it going fast or being stuck in traffic.
It’s also an incredibly well-insulated cabin, with little noise getting through, perfect for kids sleeping in the back.
The steering is sharp and responsive but it’s not BMW sharp, it doesn’t feel lazy like a GV80 though, proving to be a pretty decent thing if you want to have a little bit of fun.
But the reality is, this is more on the luxury side than the sporty side, and that is really where the buyer for this car sits, no matter what the advertisements tell you.
The transmission and engine work rather well together and the 224kW of power and 422Nm of torque come on when you need it. It doesn’t have any noticeable turbo lag and it’s rather brisk for sudden highway overtakes, or if you need to speed up to merge in traffic.
Perhaps – and this is splitting hairs – one area of improvement would be more exhaust sound. It’s not a very sporty note that comes out the back, the six-cylinder is a little better but the four sounds very muted.
One feature we really wish the GV70 had is automatic parking sensors for front. Each time we drove into the garage front-in, we would have to manually enable the parking sensors so it would start to show the camera and beep.
Most cars have sensors that automatically enable the sensors as they detect objects approaching at low speed. Nonetheless, with or without cameras and sensors (which are excellent when on), the GV70 has great visibility despite its sweeping A-pillars and and coupe-like shape.
The Genesis GV70 has a five-star safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in North America and Euro NCAP – two far more credible organisations than Australia’s ANCAP, which also gave it a five-star rating , if that means anything.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Junction turning, crossing support
- Evasive steering assist
- Lane-change oncoming, side support
- Blind-spot assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Lane Following Assist (lane centring)
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Parking Collision Avoidance Assist – Reverse
- Safe Exit Assist
- Driver attention warning
- Leading vehicle departure alert
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Surround-view camera with 3D view
Luxury Pack adds:
- Forward attention warning
- Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist – reverse
- Intelligent front-lighting system
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Automatic high-beam
- LED headlights
- Panoramic sunroof
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Acoustic laminated windshield and front door glass
- Power-folding exterior mirrors
- Puddle lights with Genesis logo
- 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Satellite navigation with augmented reality
- DAB+ digital radio
- 8.0-inch instrument cluster screen
- Nine-speaker sound system
- Wireless phone charger
- Dual-zone climate control with second-row temperature control and vents
- Colour-adjustable ambient lighting
- Leather upholstery
- Leather-appointed dashboard, centre console and door trims
- 12-way power front seats with memory
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Power-adjustable steering column
- Reclining rear seats
- Remote start
- Keyless entry and start
- Fingerprint authentication system
- Power-adjustable steering column adjustment
- 60:40 split/fold rear seats
- Hands-free power tailgate
- Manual rear door sunshades
- 2 x 12V outlets (centre console, boot)
- 3 x USB-A outlets (1 x front, 2 x rear)
Luxury Line Package adds:
- 21-inch wheels
- Smart Parking Assist with Remote Smart Parking
- Nappa Leather appointed* interior with quilted seat pattern
- Lexicon by HARMAN premium 16 speaker audio system
- Ergo Motion with Active Stretch mode driver & front passenger seat
- 12.3″ 3D instrument cluster
- Intelligent Front-Lighting System (IFS) – Intelligent High Beam function
- Forward Attention Warning (FAW)
- Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist – Reverse (PCA-R)
- Heated 2nd row seating
- Privacy Glass – rear side and tailgate + Rear door acoustic laminated glass
- 12″ Heads-Up Display (HUD)
- 3D effect backlit interior trim
Sport Line Package adds:
- 19-inch wheels with dark grey finish
- Nappa leather and suede appointed Sport seats
- Dark Chrome Front Grille surround
- Sport type front and rear bumpers
- Sport alloy pedals and sport aluminium trim
- Black bezel and dark chrome head lights
- Piano black finish roof rails
- Sports specific exterior colours
- Sports specific interior colours
- Sport type 3D back lit interior trim
- Sport+ Drive mode with Sport gauges
- Suede headlining elements
- Dark Chrome door handle inserts and window frame trim
Luxury Sport Line (as tested) adds:
- Luxury + Sport Line packages
- Exclusive 21-inch Sport 5-spoke dark grey wheels with G-Matrix pattern
- Excludes two-tone steering wheel/column where applicable
This was actually the best part of owning a Genesis – someone would come pick it up, give us a nice Genesis loan car and then have the car serviced and returned to us, even at a different location.
We had a Genesis representative pick up the GV70 at our house and leave us with a nice G70, then call and bring the car to a different location where we were. Pretty good way to get your car serviced… and best of all? It was free!
Genesis provides free scheduled servicing for the first five years or 75,000km (whichever comes first) and as mentioned, will pick up the car so long as you live within 70km of Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.
We absolutely loved our Genesis GV70, it was the perfect car for our family and was always a talking point wherever we went.
It’s a true luxury SUV and feels like one. As we mentioned at the start, the GV70 feels more premium and more luxury than some of the German rivals. In fact, it’s more like a budget Bentley than anything else.
Genesis remains a bit of an unknown brand in Australia but we are yet to meet a single owner who hasn’t had a great experience with purchasing and owning a Genesis, regardless of the model.
If you’re in the market for a luxury SUV, you would actually be a little bit mad to not at least go and test drive one, because it will reset your expectations for what your money can buy in that category.
Yes, it doesn’t have a German badge but if you value actual luxury features and fit and finish over a badge, then it’s definitely ticking a fair few boxes.
One note before you run off to spec your GV70, don’t go for a matte paint.
It’s beautifully done and the detailer I use who does the pre-delivery for brands such as Rolls-Royce and Ferrari even joked that its the best matte paint application he has ever seen from factory, but if you get the tiniest bit of damage or scratch it’s basically irreparable without going to a shop and having the entire thing resprayed.
We had someone scrape the car’s front bumper in a car park, and trying to get the tiniest bit of paint damage repaired proved to be a nightmare as most places didn’t want to deal with it, or suggested that not only the bumper but the bonnet also had to be resprayed, where as normal metallic paint would have been fixed in 30 minutes by a mobile touch-up repairer or any decent shop.
On another note, since we got this car as a MY21, there have been numerous changes for MY23 and MY24; including 18-way power front passenger seat (previously reserved for the driver only) with the massage functions for the Luxury Package – which my wife would have absolutely loved.
In addition, there is also additional acoustic laminated rear door windows, for further reduction of unwanted exterior noise intrusion (not that it needed it). Meanwhile, the system that tells you if you have left your kid in the back seat has also changed to utilise ultrasonic sensors mounted in the headlining.
If Genesis could just add wireless CarPlay, that would be great.
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