All-new 2019 luxury compact sedan satisfies those who appreciate high performance
Differences between the suave all-new 2019 Genesis G70 and its cousin, the rambunctious Kia Stinger, are relatively modest. Either could satisfy a motoring enthusiast or anyone who appreciates high performance.
As with other vehicles from Hyundai, which owns about 34 percent of Kia, the G70 shares its engines and transmission with the Stinger. The G70 is the third vehicle from Genesis, which was spun off from Hyundai as a luxury brand. The other two are the midsize G80 and full-size G90.
Both the Genesis G70 and the Kia Stinger have the same drivetrains: Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive with a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or a 365-horsepower V-6 engine with twin turbochargers. Both use an 8-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually. Surprisingly, the G70 with the four-cylinder can be equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but the more sport-oriented Stinger does not offer the stick shift.
The base price of the G70 rear-drive turbo four-cylinder is $35,895. Driven for this review was an all-wheel-drive version with the 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and the Prestige and Elite option packages. The base price, including the destination charge, was $45,750 and the as-tested price came to $50,995. That’s not cheap but it’s a lot of car for the money, especially on the performance front.
With all four tires clawing at the pavement, the G70 accelerates to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. To haul it back to something more reasonable, the G70 comes with Brembo high-performance racing brakes. The handling and ride would not disappoint owners of other sports sedans, and the power steering delivers tactile feedback around curves while tracking truly in straight-line freeway driving.
There are five selectable driving modes: Smart, Eco, and Comfort enhance efficiency and ease; Custom can be adjusted for driver preferences; and Sport is the setup for maximum performance, holding transmission shifts to higher rpms, and tightening up the steering and adaptable suspension system.
For enthusiasts, the audio system can be set up to pipe engine sounds into the passenger area, or shut off for silent running. Front seats have prominent bolsters that tighten and hug the torso in the Sport mode for aggressive driving on twisting mountain roads.
The G70 Prestige comes with advanced modern safety equipment, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic and blind-spot alert, lane-keeping assist, a surround-view camera, and parking distance warning.
Other equipment on the test car included a one-touch motorized glass sunroof with an opaque sunshade, power adjustable steering wheel, wireless smart phone charging, automatic climate control, Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power front seats, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, SXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and hands-free trunk opening.
Though access to the back seat takes some ducking and twisting, the outboard rear-seat passengers sit low in nicely covered and comfortable seats. However, middle-seat passengers suffer on a hard cushion with intrusion of the center console and a high floor hump.
The small trunk is shallow but usable and the C-hinges are isolated from luggage. A temporary spare wheel and tire nestles under the trunk floor.
Likely the only drawback to the current Genesis lineup is the fact that it markets only four-door sedans at a time when crossover SUVs are overwhelming the market. Eventually, Genesis will have to join the stampede. The suggestion here is to start with and upgrade the superb 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe — call it the Genesis XG70.
2019 GENESIS G70
VEHICLE TYPE: five-passenger AWD compact sedan
BASE PRICE: $45,750 (as tested: $50,995)
ENGINE TYPE: twin turbocharged V-6
HORSEPOWER (net): 365 at 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.): 376 at 1,300-4,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
OVERALL LENGTH: 184.4 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb): 36.1 ft.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,840 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY: 15.8 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING: 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway