2019 Genesis G70 Sport Review - Handsome Anachronism
2019 Genesis G70 Sport
Take a good look at the state of the sports sedan. Once defined as four doors, compact dimensions, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission, there are precious few new cars sold today that fit that narrow criteria. The German manufacturers who made their names in this segment have abandoned the third pedal.
The only choice left is this 2019 Genesis G70 Sport – fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a six-speed manual transmission, and rear wheel drive. Does it win by default as the last car standing in a shrinking market, or is it worthy of accolades on its own merits?
So enthralled was I with the joyful driving manners of the G70 that I weaseled my way out of Saturday morning dad duties and pointed the car southeast to Ohio’s famed Hocking Hills. Not quite the epic canyons of California, the rapid switchbacks up and down the well-wooded Appalachian foothills are still the best thing I can get short of renting a racetrack.
Here, the G70 shines. Even on snow tires. The chassis was never upset by sudden maneuvers to avoid potholes and rabbits, always happily bringing the rear around under power. The transmission, while not quite as slick as that of a Miata, shifted beautifully with reasonably short throws and well-defined gates. The steering is a bit light, but communicates road imperfections well.
And, yes, you read that right. Because Ohio weather is so unpredictable, this rear-drive sedan was delivered to me in March wearing Pirelli Sottozero winter rubber. Oh, well.
I’d prefer a bit more power out of the 2.0L turbo, but 252 hp is adequate for most drivers. I had no problems getting to some unprintable speeds in some of the more deserted sections of the forest, as the Brembo brakes gave plenty of confidence to whoa should wildlife rudely present itself.
The beauty of every Genesis I’ve driven is the ease of use in everyday driving. The infotainment layout is basically identical to every current Hyundai – it’s intuitive and quick to respond. Steering wheel controls, too, are basically identical, though the knobs and buttons are of a nicer metallic material (possibly actual metal?) versus the rubber and plastic found on plebian models. The interior is attractive and roomy – enough room even with the rear floor bisected by a propshaft tunnel for the improbably tall tween to sit without her knees in my back.
And thank you, Genesis, for including a real hand-operated parking brake with your manual transmission. I’m sure that with hill-holding mechanisms, a modern electric parking brake is acceptable for most, but I’d rather have the assurance that I can easily control the rear brakes independently.
It’s a handsomely styled sports sedan, too. It’s not flashy, and in this subdued Himalayan Gray easily blends into traffic, but everything just looks right – save the silly fake front fender vent.
This is where I’d normally wander over to the build-and-price tool on the manufacturer’s website and tell you how I’d choose my car were I to buy. No need here – there are no options on the G70 Sport with the manual transmission save floor mats, wheel locks and the like. The manual transmission is a $3,000 step up from the slushbox, but otherwise this might qualify for Mr. Guy’s Ace of Base series. I’d choose one of the shades of blue, probably.
I’m struggling to find anything truly negative about the G70. I’ll concede on one point – when I’m committing to pay nearly forty thousand of my hard-earned imaginary dollars for a luxury sports sedan, I don’t know that I’d like to come back for service where there’ll likely be a ratty Hyundai Excel (complete with the car’s equally ratty owner) in the next bay. Not judging – my budget is more in the ratty Excel range at this point – but the dealership experience is typically better when looking at the German and Japanese rivals.
Further, I’d like the option of a manual transmission with the big engine. I loved the twin-turbo V6 in the very similar Kia Stinger, but I know the driving experience would be even more rewarding with a bit more driving involvement. The power in this turbo four is enough for most, but for some, excessive power is just enough. I’d love to see a track-focused G70 someday.
For now, though, I’d be quite happy with the Genesis G70 Sport as my only car. It’s quiet, comfortable, and roomy for daily chores, but is all too happy to play when called upon. Sometimes the last one standing is still standing for a reason.
[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]
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