2022 Genesis GV70 Review - Redefining the Luxury Standard
2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige
We love categorization, don’t we? We must always define exactly who or what something or someone is before we can be satisfied. Whether by gender, race, political persuasion, religion, society has always done great things when we reduce to base characteristics and put everyone into their neat little boxes.
Cars are like this too. We have definitions for compact, subcompact, full-size, and midsize cars – but the definitions are always in flux. Crossovers and SUVs are their own Linnaean nightmare – and don’t get me started on how to define luxury. It used to be 10 steers worth of leather and enough road isolation to allow for delicate medical procedures in the backseat, but times have changed. The 2022 Genesis GV70 is a different look at tall car luxury.
Perhaps I must turn in my Genuine Automotive Enthusiast Membership Card and Decoder Ring (engraved with a five-speed manual-shift pattern), but I’m finding myself genuinely enamored with the styling of this crossover/SUV thing. I know. It’s not a sports car, nor is it even a sports sedan. It’s a high-ish riding tall wagon, the likes of which have plagued our roadways and shopping plazas for too many decades. But Genesis has taken the familiar profile and made it objectively stunning.
Even the ever-yawning mouth, festooned as it is with chromed diamond-weave orthodontia, makes for one of the most appealing facias in the segment – admittedly not a particularly high bar. The side panels have a gentle downward sweep to the primary character line, with a second crease creating a hump over the rear wheel that gives the rear some attractive haunches. Further back, I love the fat dual exhaust pipes jutting through the rear valence, a subtle hint to the lovely twin-turbo six within.
Having driven the similarly-nomenclatured G70 sedan a few times, I made a few assumptions about the interior accommodations of the GV70. I was pleased, therefore, to find that the rear-seat legroom was a bit more commodious than in the sedan sibling. My teens, in their last outing in the junior G70, found their knees well into the backs of their parents – a situation most intolerable for all.
Not so in the GV70, where legroom – while not limousine-like as in the G90 – was more than adequate for a highway jaunt. Upfront is even better, with massaging seats lined in a suede-like material that your pessimistic author fears won’t look great in 10 years’ time, but it’s quite nice right now.
I’ve recently railed about the atypical HVAC and audio controls in other products from the Hyundai/Kia/Genesis group, and I’ll echo them here. The 14.25-inch widescreen is lovely, with intuitive access from touch, a central touch/tilt/spin knob, a dedicated clickwheel, and steering wheel controls for audio. However, you’ll note the presence of a touchscreen for most of the HVAC controls save for temperature, defogging, and rear defrost. Fan speed, vent direction, and most notably heated seat and steering wheel controls are all managed through the small HVAC screen.
Note the snow accumulating in these photos.
The touch screen is of a type that will not work with typical gloves – and I don’t use “touchscreen gloves” as they annoy me. On a cold morning, what does one typically reach for upon starting the car? You guessed it – seat and steering wheel heat. Which, again, can’t be activated while I’m wearing the gloves.
Had I had any sort of musical chops whatsoever, I’d be recording a cover of a Skynyrd classic – this time titled “Gimme Back My Buttons.”
As we have seen from the rest of the Genesis lineup, it should be no surprise that the GV70 is quite engaging to drive. That’s a hedge, I’ll admit – the GV70 is no sports sedan, and it isn’t trying to be. It simply feels as if it wants to be driven with a bit more verve than the usual suspects. It doesn’t leap off the line in a haze of rubber and squealing – rather, it gets up to speed quickly but gracefully. And boy, does it like speed. Cruising at well over the posted limits is effortless, and sometimes unnoticeable except by the gendarmerie¸ which I mercifully avoided this week.
Handling isn’t quite in sports-sedan territory, but it’s not far off. The body leans, unable to oobleck its way out of Sir Isaac’s consideration of a couple of tons, but with plenty of control. The tradeoff comes in ride quality, which is superb – the body is solid and quiet when impacting potholes and expansion joints, giving all occupants a pleasant experience. Despite the roll, it still feels much more eager to have fun at seven-tenths, where most competitors leave any fun behind at the design office.
Indeed, the only competitor that I can think of that offers anything resembling this kind of driving joy would be some sort of M-ified version of the BMW X3. While the German-with-a-lowcountry accent might be a bit rowdier in the twisty bits, it’s more punishing when the pavement gets straight and choppy. Others that come to mind are the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Acura RDX, and the Lincoln Nautilus, which all lean to the softer side of the couch-versus-crotchrocket pendulum.
All worthy competitors, but Genesis has outshined them all. It’s not perfect – a four-seat Miata with a manual (that can be switched to automatic if someone else wants to drive it), a 1,900-pound curb weight, the ability to carry a half-dozen sheets of plywood, and 50 mpg is really the ideal if you’re asking – but for this entry-to-sorta-midsized luxury-ish crossovery segment, it’s hard to beat. Justice Potter Stewart probably didn’t have luxury cars in mind when he handed down his “I know it when I see it” opinion on porn, but I have to believe that it applies here to the 2022 Genesis GV70. It’s a stunning combo of features and performance that has to be the new luxury standard.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
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