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Road tests

New Genesis GV70 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the new Genesis GV70 in the UK as the luxury brand aims to take on the BMW X3

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The GV70 is an SUV with plenty of appeal. It’s spacious, very generously equipped and its cabin beats many of the established German rivals for style, and almost matches them for quality. However, it’s not quite on the level of the class best for ride comfort and body control. We’d steer clear of this petrol option too, because it’s very thirsty. Otherwise, Genesis is right on the mark of the class standard.

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This is the GV70, the latest model to join the family of the fledgling Genesis brand. The Hyundai-owned premium make has now reached Europe to tackle a market where the established German makers dominate. It’s pitched as a rival to the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, as well as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60.

There really isn’t a bad car in that list, so it’ll be quite an achievement to match any of them at Genesis’s first attempt.

Prices start from £39,450, meaning the GV70 undercuts all of those rivals. Even the top-spec petrol-powered Luxury Line only comes in at £44,370. Below Luxury Line there’s also Premium Line and Sport Line trims, the latter of which we’re driving here.

The GV70 is an impressive sight. The split head and tail-lights and huge shield grille give it a distinctive look, while Sport Line adds unique bumpers, dark chrome grille elements and fat, round tailpipes.

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Things get even better inside. Quality is excellent, and it’s clear that great care has been taken to ensure that all of the bits you touch most often are finished to a high standard. The knurled effect of the column stalks feels great, as does the glass-topped rotary gear selector. Most of the trim is soft and squidgy; the door handles solid and metallic. There are very few hard plastics anywhere. Okay, it doesn’t quite feel as immovably sturdy as a BMW X3, but the contemporary design makes up for that.

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The infotainment tech is displayed on a huge 14.5-inch touchscreen. If we’re being picky, it can’t match the brilliant processing power and sharp graphics of Jaguar’s Pivi Pro set-up, nor the usability of BMW’s iDrive. On the other hand, it’s slicker than what Alfa Romeo offers Stelvio buyers. There’s a BMW-style click wheel to control the menus, as well as the touchscreen, but its position isn’t ideal; it sits just ahead of the rotary gear selector and is similarly sized, so it’s easy to grab the wrong one.

The graphics of the digital driver’s display change according to the driving modes. In addition to off-road, there are also four road modes: Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+. The last of those we normally only see in high-performance machines, but out on the road, its use here is rather optimistic.

The GV70 feels heavy, mainly because it is (this model weighs more than two tonnes) and as a result there’s an appreciable amount of body roll. The steering is heavier than in other Genesis models to give an impression of sportiness, but it only adds to a sense of lethargy. 

Ignore the sporty pretensions, and the GV70 is perfectly pleasant to drive. Ride comfort is reasonable overall, although the Audi Q5 is smoother, especially when equipped with air suspension.

There’s a choice of two engines from launch. This is the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol; at 300bhp and 422Nm, performance is adequate, and the eight-speed auto gearbox is responsive and smooth. It’s thirsty, though, and we struggled to top 30mpg on a motorway run. We’d go for the 2.2 diesel instead.

The GV70 won’t be on many company car users’ lists (especially because a plug-in hybrid option isn’t currently available), but there are incentives for private buyers. As standard, all Genesis models come with the brand’s Five-Year Care Plan, which includes a warranty, servicing, roadside assistance, a courtesy car and over-the-air software updates for the full five years.

Model:Genesis GV70 2.5T Sport Line
Price:£43,350
Engine:2.5-litre 4cyl petrol
Power/Torque:300bhp/422Nm
Transmission:Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph:6.1 seconds
Top speed:149mph
Economy:29.7mpg
CO2:216g/km
On sale:September
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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