Awards and accolades in the automotive industry can become background. There are often so many awards of “best ofs” that winning something can lose its luster and prestige.
My tester this week won North American Car of the Year, which is the cream of the crop and quite a prestigious award. To have won this accolade in its first year is quite an accomplishment. I’m not a member of the NACOY jury, but I certainly tip my hat to their selection as the Genesis G70 is impressive.
The Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury brand like Lexus is to Toyota. Hyundai launched the Genesis brand several years ago as a concept, but it wasn’t until the 2015 model year that the nameplate became official. Hyundai dipped their toe into the luxury market in slowly but have really made improvements and progress over the last couple years. It culminates with the G70.
Not just with looks, but on value, performance and interior quality the G70 represents Hyundai’s vision for their luxury brand. It’s appropriately named as Genesis is a noun that means origin or beginning. And indeed, the G70 is the beginning of something special.
The styling on the G70 exudes luxury. There’s a Jaguar-like look to the front end and profile. It’s sleek and sporty. The mesh grille is not overly aggressive but classy. It has a certain distinguished appearance and is part of a gorgeous overall appearance.
The only flaw with the aesthetics is the impressive styling seems to fall off on the back end, as the rear of the G70 is less exciting than the rest of the car.
Too often luxury sedans are either too aggressive (yes, there is such a thing) or too comfortable and conservative. The G70 splits the difference and is a little bit of all those things. There are two engine options with a base turbocharged four-cylinder that seems to be impressive with 252 horsepower. My tester was the fun, and European-feeling 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. This engine cranks out 365 hp and 375 lbs.-ft. of torque. It’s tremendously quick and a blazer off the line. It has a perfectly tuned eight-speed automatic transmission. The shifts are fast with no turbo lag.
The rear-wheel-drive sport sedan has five driver settings including sport, comfort, smart, eco and custom that change the dynamics. I preferred comfort and sport the most, for different reasons. This is where the G70 can be whatever kind of luxury car you want. Want a little more handling and quicker shifts? Switch into sport mode. Want a little more well-mannered refinement? Then comfort mode is ideal. For most cars I drive, I prefer one mode over the other, but that wasn’t the case with this G70.
If the Genesis badging were concealed and someone sat inside the G70, they’d think they were in a European luxury vehicle. Much of the G70 is nicer than comparable Acura or Lexus sedans. There were no corners cut or money pulled out of this car. The touch points are soft and refined. The road noise is minimal inside.
Keeping in mind that the G70 is the smallest of the Genesis cars, the back seat is comfortable. Though rated as a five-passenger vehicle, it’s more suited for two adults in the back seat.
The infotainment system is outstanding. As some makers in the luxury segment tend to over-engineer their infotainment systems and offer gobs of superfluous features, the G70 gets it right. The 8-inch touchscreen is well placed in the center stack. The screen itself is responsive and not overly complicated. There’s a good combination of knobs and switches and touch commands. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto helps with smart phone integration, and there are three USB ports.
With the bigger engine, the G70 has a fuel economy of 18 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving I averaged 22 mpg.
There are four trim levels, with all-wheel drive as an option. The base trim Advanced has a starting price just under $35,000, making it less expensive than many non-luxury brand sedans.
My tester was the mid-level trim Sport with an MSRP of $43,750. With added upgrades like the Elite Package (with a sunroof and park assist) and Prestige Package (with head-up display and Nappa leather seats) and Sport Package (with an electronically controlled suspension and alloy wheels), my tester had a final price tag of $50,495. That is less expensive than just about every luxury brand sedan on the market today.
I’m sure price and value played a role in the COY jury’s decision to award the G70 with its top honor. The NACOY jury got it right with the G70. Consumers should take note and not let such an accomplishment get glazed over with other less significant trophies and awards.
2019 GENESIS G70 SPORT
- Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $43,750/$50,495
- Mileage…………………………………… 18 mpg/city; 26 mpg/hwy
- Engine……………………………………… 3.3-liter turbocharged V6
- Horsepower…………………………… 365 hp/375 lbs.-ft.
- Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic
- Drive wheels……………. Rear-wheel drive
- Final assembly point……………. Ulsan, Korea
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