2022 Genesis GV70 First Drive Review: Great Expectations

2022 Genesis GV70
Genesis has evolved its exterior design to subtly incorporate self-branding: Look closely at the GV70’s grille and tastefully integrated headlamps, and you’ll see a stylized interpretation of the Genesis wing emblem logo.  Genesis

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Genesis is one of the hottest carmakers in the business right now. From their head-turning style to seemingly clairvoyant decisions like stockpiling microprocessor chips ahead of a global shortage, the Korean brand’s savvy moves have been rewarded with industry acclaim and record sales.  With great success comes great expectations, which puts unusually bright spotlight on a new model like the highly anticipated 2022 Genesis GV70, the company’s first compact crossover.

Pressure’s On 

The automaker’s first SUV was the GV80, and that midsize machine proved a radical departure from established players with its fresh looks and refined dynamics. It also happened to catch the SUV-hungry public’s attention in a way no previous Genesis had, demonstrating its safety bona fides in a high-profile crash involving Tiger Woods, only to have the public take a fancy to its other many merits. 

The GV70 steps into the fiercely competitive compact luxury crossover bullring, facing off against long-established players like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.  

At first blush, the GV70 looks like an original in a sea of similarity. Claiming the lowest and widest proportions in its class, the aggressively-styled GV70 can be ordered in one of two trim levels: Standard 2.5T and Sport 3.5T. Visually, the latter sharpens the exterior styling with more visual flair, including larger front air intakes and a rear diffuser. In profile, all GV70s are accentuated with what Genesis calls a “Parabolic Line,” essentially a sharp character line that drops towards the rear of the vehicle, complementing the coupé-like roofline. 

2022 Genesis GV70
Beautiful detail work and vivid colors characterize the interior, and high quality materials abound, including real aluminum trim on switches and dials. Genesis

Inside, the look is equally striking, thanks to an elliptically-themed cabin Genesis says was inspired by the cross-section of an airplane wing. Unlike many competitors which take a more functional approach to interior design, the GV70 feels airy and contemporary. This modern cabin incorporates attractive furnishings like a massive 14.5-inch central touchscreen and available features like Nappa and suede upholstered seats finished in an imaginative array of colors including green and burgundy.  

Forward-Thinking Tech 

Proving the brand’s allegiance to progress, the GV70 steps up with the world’s first fingerprint reader that enables the vehicle to start without a key, and an Android-only digital key that uses NFC and Bluetooth sensors to lock, unlock and start the car using cell phones. Premium features include an available 12.3-inch digital cluster that uses an infrared camera to track eye movements and display virtual gauges in 3D. 

Advanced driver assistance options include the world’s first smart cruise control system with machine learning, which tailors responsiveness and follow distance based on driver behavior.  

2022 Genesis GV70
The GV70’s interior incorporates a theme of ellipses, and boasts an impressive 14.5-inch centrally positioned touchscreen is standard. Genesis 

The optional Highway Driving Assist package uses adaptive features like lane centering and follow distance, while the more advanced Highway Driving Assist (HDA) II option enables lane change assistance. HDA II comes standard on the Sport. 

The progress continues in the area of safety, where GV70 features a segment first center airbag, bringing the total to 8. The GV70 is based on the same architecture as the G70 sedan, the 2021 edition of which earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The new SUV hasn’t been tested yet by either IIHS or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but is expected to get good evaluations from both agencies.

Behind the Wheel: Focused Performance 

While many carmakers have approached the compact crossover segment with an eye towards creating a livable balance between driver involvement and ease of use, the Genesis GV70 tilts its focus towards the former, specifically calling out the BMW X3 as a benchmark target. That said, the GV70’s 28.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity puts it on par with the Bimmer. 

The GV70 is paired with two powertrains: a 300-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder (Standard), and a 375-horsepower 3.5-liter turbo V6 (Sport). The smaller engine version starts at $41,500, while the V6 begins at $52,600. Both pair to an 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters, as well as an all-wheel drive system that biases power to the rear wheels for sporty handling and can send up to 100% of torque to the tail when needed.  

2022 Genesis GV70
The GV70’s “Parabolic Line” greenhouse and round roof offer most of the visual pizzazz of a “Crossover Coupe” but without sacrificing too much space or utility. It offers plenty of power and taut driving dynamics to suit its athletic shape. Genesis

With 5 drive modes available, including Sport+ which amps up the dynamics, and launch control which optimizes hard acceleration from a standstill. The GV70 is calibrated more like a sport sedan on stilts than a peoplemoving crossover, which hints at its relationship with the sporty G70.

Though the interior can be outfitted in supple leather surfaces that speak to traditional luxury, the driver’s seat feels firmly connected to the road. The steering is direct, ride quality is generally responsive (though adaptive damping can soften the experience somewhat), and the 3.5-liter V6 accelerates with enough gusto to entertain all but the most jaded motorists.  

The GV70 is available with 18, 19 or 21-inch wheels with the four-cylinder engine. Interestingly, the largest hoops sacrifice 2 mpg overall, resulting in EPA numbers of 19 mpg city and 26 highway. Despite the involving driving dynamics (and sometimes too-stiff ride over potholes), the GV70 does cruise with comfort and relative quiet at highway speeds.  

The large letterboxed touchscreen works intuitively with the multimedia wheel controller, and a sense of quality is perceptible throughout the cabin—from the rotary shift knob which features real tempered glass to the capacitive touch climate control screen and physical dials. There’s a general feeling of interior solidity that’s a requirement of playing in this class.

2022 Genesis GV70
These sport model GV70s are distinguished by darkened grille surrounds and a larger air intake with a skid plate. While you can get them in conventional hues like red and silver, Genesis makes 12 exterior colors and four interior schemes available, including vivid shades of violet and green. Genesis

Bottom Line: A New Player Is Shaking Up the Scene 

Genesis has introduced a bold spirit into its automobiles, and the new GV70 doesn’t let up on that trailblazing mission. From its distinctive styling to its luxurious appointments, this latest Korean crossover breathes a breath of fresh air into a segment whose stalwarts are aging.  

While the GV70’s personality traits are strong, in its most potent form— the V6 model rolling on big 21-inch rims— the model’s ride can be a bit unrelenting on bumpy roads, a trait we didn’t observe on the statelier GV80, whose suspension is tuned towards comfort and compliance. The difference might be more comprehensible if the two models had a wider price delta, but as it stands a fully loaded GV70 hits around $64,000, while a top GV80 comes in at around $66,000.  

Though both fully equipped models boast unique style and state-of-the-art features, the near-negligible price difference leads us to favor the GV80. While some drivers won’t mind the stiffer ride and smaller proportions of the GV70 (and may actually prefer its sleeker style), the crossover’s well-rounded stablemate makes a strong case for supersizing your Genesis SUV order.