UPDATE 9/20/21: This review has been updated with test results for a 3.5T Sport Prestige model.
From the October 2021 issue of Car and Driver.
A memorable entrance can make up for lateness. Consider the GV70, Genesis’s mid-size-SUV answer to everything from the BMW X3 to the Lexus RX350. Sure, it’s a little tardy, but its compelling mix of luxury and performance with a competitive price appears to have been worth the wait.
Mechanically, the GV70 borrows liberally from the G70 sports sedan. As such, the same suspension mix of struts in the front and a multilink setup out back is found here, albeit with different tuning, and the wheelbase grows to increase interior volume. Two engines, a turbocharged 2.5-liter four and a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, are offered; both connect to an eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive isn’t an option, but the all-wheel-drive system has a rear-axle bias and can send 100 percent of the torque to the back.
Our test drive was limited to the top-shelf 3.5T Sport Prestige trim, and we hammered it through the tight, twisting canyon roads just east of Malibu. The 375-hp six-cylinder proved quite willing, but the chassis and all-season tires are happier coddling passengers than cornering at the limit.
Granted, not many GV70 owners will use their two-row SUV to carve canyons. Perhaps even fewer will try the GV70’s launch-control feature. With it, the four-cylinder should hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, by our estimate, and the six in just under 5.0. Towing capacity is 3500 pounds, and ground clearance measures 7.3 inches—both of which should be enough for most casual adventures.
We found the GV70’s sweet spot as we traced the gentle curves of the Pacific Coast Highway. With the car set in Comfort mode and freed of high-g shenanigans, the cabin is hushed and the V-6 purrs. The slow pace allowed us to take in the interior’s tapered forms, the pleasing integration of technology, and the bold use of brightwork. And while most competitors offer only a few interior color choices, the GV70 has seven, including a rather alluring blue and green two-tone scheme. Genesis also offers 13 exterior paints. Legroom is a little tight in the back seat, though the cargo area is slightly larger than some competitors’.
The GV70’s value is measured not in inches but in dollars. In typical upstart style, Genesis undercuts key competitors such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Lexus RX350, listing the posh base model for $42,045. The 3.5T starts at $53,645 and is equipped to do battle with the similarly powerful but more expensive and sportier Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and Audi SQ5. For while the upmarket design and luxurious accommodations are sure to get the GV70 noticed, Genesis knows it needs to sweeten the deal to lure customers away from tried-and-true legacy brands.
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