If you hear the sound of groaning these days, it’s the shelf at Genesis HQ in Fountain Valley, California; groaning under the weight of the multitude of awards and accolades, gongs and trophies lavished on this young automaker’s model line-up.
Car of the Year this, SUV of the Year that, and a mountain of J.D. Power quality and customer satisfaction awards. The latest, and most-coveted J.D Power Initial Quality Award? Yup, top place went to Genesis.
And the hot new Genesis GV70 crossover I’ve been driving has already scooped-up everything from Top Compact Premium SUV in J.D. Power’s APEAL Study, to the super-high-profile 2022 Motor Trend magazine “SUV of the Year” award, to Top-rated Luxury SUV from Edmunds.
Talk about an over-achiever. If this was the Academy Awards, it would grab the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.
Totally justified too. This is a “cute-ute” compact sport-utility that can go head-to-head with superstars like BMW’s X3, Audi’s Q5, Cadillac’s XT5, Volvo’s XC60, and Mercedes’ GLC and go come out top of the class.
Yes, amazing value is a big part of the appeal. The well-equipped GV70 2.5 I’ve been driving, kicks off at just $42,900 – that’s thousands of bucks less than the competition. Even checking plenty of options boxes, you’re hard-pressed to break $52-grand.
But it’s so much more than that. It boasts everything from really cool exterior design and best-of-the-best interior, to dynamic, agile handling and zippy performance.
It’s based closely on the mechanical bits of Genesis’ equally impressive G70 sports sedan, but is wrapped in truly gorgeous, head-turning bodywork.
Yes, it took me a while to warm to that flashy, oversized, shield-like mesh grille. But while it looks over-done, and over-bearing in the low-to-the-ground G70 sedan, it works better in the taller GV70, flanked by those big air-gulping intakes and skinny LED headlights.
And the exterior design is brimming with so much really cool detailing. Lots of eye-candy, like the swoopy roofline, the lovely body creases, the use of shiny brushed metal to outline the shape of the windows, and those quite-stunning optional 21-inch “G-Matrix” wheels. I could gaze at it all day long.
If you really want to be wowed, just open a door and slide inside the Bentley-esque cabin with its acres of diamond-quilted leather and lovely detailing. It feels like something out an SUV costing $100,000 let alone $40,000.
And it’s surprisingly roomy too, with stretch-out back-seat space and an impressive 28.9 cubic feet of load volume behind the rear seats. Opt for the panoramic glass roof and the cabin gets flooded with light.
Power-wise, two GV70 engines are on offer. Our tester came with the 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder packing an impressive 300 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive.
Want more? There’s a potent twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 delivering 375-hp and 391 lb-ft that really puts the “sport” in sport-utility. And all for around $55,000.
But while all that power is a blast, most of us would be perfectly happy with the 300-hp 2.5. It delivers quick off the line sprinting, has super-strong mid-range thrust for safe, speedy passing and on-ramp merging, and is hushed and quiet at high-speed.
It’s nicely economical too, averaging over 28 the gallon on the highway and 22 around town.
Show the GV70 a twisty backroad, and it steers with pin-point precision, grips like a tube of Superglue, and rides with smoothness and sophistication. No, it doesn’t quite have the performance and handling pedigree of a BMW, or the vault-like build of a Mercedes, but it’s pretty close.
It really is rare that a vehicle comes along that checks so many boxes, leads the pack in so many areas, and over-achieves in pretty much everything it does. That’s this Genesis GV70.