Forgive us for sounding a bit uppity, but the luxury SUV fatigue is real. Sure, the premise of a big-bodied vehicle capable of tearing up the urban terrain while still having enough get up and go to tackle the road less travelled is enticing, finding one that fits the bill is a little more challenging. Class-leading models like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid offer incredible performance, the 2022 Range Rover has its creature features to call out and the Bentley Bentayga is, well, a Bentley, but cycling through the top of the tops, you start to see a pattern emerge. Namely, if you want to buy a hefty SUV with all the trimmings, prepare to pay an equally hefty price.
Truly, the mid-tier luxury SUV range has long been an overlooked category. While value for money remains an integral part of the buying process for most Aussies, the fact that relatively standard off-roaders like the entry-level Nissan Pathfinder will set you back over $35,000, and higher-tier releases such as the 2022 HiLux going for over $70,000, the mid-tier SUV market has cannibalised itself in a sense.
Only the Jeep Compass really offers an affordable alternative, albeit a little heavier on the off-roading and a little lighter on the luxury. Switch those parameters around, however, and you find yourself with essentially only one option, the Genesis GV70. A mid-sized luxury vehicle with the spirit of an SUV, the 2021 model isn’t exactly one you’d hit the 4×4 tracks in, but it more than makes up for it, in its own unique way.
2021 Genesis GV70: At a Glance
Suffice to say, Genesis has had an interesting run. The Hyundai-backed automotive brand quietly emerged in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2014 that things really started to get rolling. The slow start has gone to show that creating a luxury brand from the ground up isn’t as easy as plugging your value for money options, however, Genesis seems to have learned from the builds of the past.
Arriving with the choice of three powertrains and four variants, ranging in price from AUD$66,400 before on-roads for the GV70 2.5T petrol RWD to AUD$83,400 for the GV70 3.5T petrol AWD range-topper, the recent release has a lot going for it. We spent the week with the entry-level GV70 2.5T petrol RWD to get a feel for the new model, and here’s what we learned.
|High Point||Low Point||Verdict|
|Interior is stunning, Dynamic performance and handling was surprisingly solid, Premium driving experience for a decent price||Synthetic engine sound, Difficult to read digital speed dial||A seriously impressive driving experience designed for the tech-conscious driver. Don’t expect big performance, simply enjoy the ride.|
Normally we’d start with the outside, but stepping inside the GV70, it’s not hard to see where Genesis has put its time and effort. Designed to compete with the BMW, Porsche and Lexus models in its class, the cabin design is truly world-class. Featuring Nappa leather seats are heated and ventilated at the front, with a massaging function for the driver. It may seem strange to throw that out as the main drawcard, but that’s essentially what the GV70 is – a series of luxury features that elevates the overall driving experience.
Dictating the entire process is the 14.5-inch ultra-wide central touch-screen, controlled by a handy dial in the centre console. From here, you can also utilise the 12.3-inch digital instrument display that comes complete with a 3D effect, where the central trip computer section appears elevated in a hologram sort of way. Throw in some LED lighting and a wealth of cabin space, and you’ve got yourself a seriously comfortable drive that more than stacks up to the established luxury marques.
On the outside, the GV70 bears a striking resemblance to the Bentleys of old. The large front grille, coupled with the low-set body make for a head-turning silhouette that is complemented by a series of sweeping lines. It might not have the same stunning language that Porsche exudes, but Genesis isn’t polarising anyone with its design, something BMW can’t say for its latest XM. Behind the wheel, it’s a different matter.
The Genesis GV70 2.5T model we drove is powered by a 224kW, 422Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine propelling the rear wheels. It’s a solid engine that Genesis claims will deliver a 0-100kmh speed of just 6.1 seconds, nothing to write home about, but admirable for a car that doesn’t bank on performance for sales.
That being said, the propulsion doesn’t exactly feel as powerful as the numbers would suggest. The synthesised cabin noise does nothing to quash your enthusiasm for going quick, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s not all you. Further, the car has virtually no external exhaust noise, which could actually be a good thing depending on your preferences for a drive.
Transmission-wise, the GV70 is unsurprisingly a little slower to respond than some of the performance-based counterparts, but it really matters less. Those who intend on picking up the GV70 probably aren’t likely to push it to its limits. Instead, it’s all about our driving pleasure, which in this case, relates to smooth sailing and comfort.
What Genesis has done well with the GV70 is improve the overall driving dynamics. Ultra-smooth and quiet on the highway, the daily drive makes for a perfect Sunday companion, more than capable of putting the kids to sleep in the backseat or taking the sights as you fly by.
This is experience further elevated by the semi-autonomous steering aids, which used the windscreen-mounted camera to either stay within the lanes or track and follow the vehicle in front. One thing we will mention is that they are pretty touchy. Much like learner-driving with your mother, one slight move to the left or right and you’re getting told about it, but then again, safety is never a bad thing.
One major benefit of the GV70 is the swathe of safety equipment that has been added to the mix. We found that the blind spot camera system that streams live rearward footage to the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel whenever you flick the indicator on was a huge plus especially when navigating tight car parks. There is also eight airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and some impressive lane assist features which, as we mentioned, came in handy during long highway drives.
The luxury SUV market is a strange one and finding your place can be difficult. Those wanting superior performance will have to sacrifice creature comforts, the luxury hounds wanting experience will give speed and acceleration while those who want it all will be forking out a fortune. The 2021 Genesis GV70 lands somewhere in the sweet spot between premium vehicle and daily driver, affordable enough to justify the commute and luxurious enough to feel a little bit fancy. It’s an ambitious drive that won’t be the performance purists, but for those looking to elevate their drive, Genesis has ticked a lot of boxes.
2021 Genesis GV70 2.5T petrol RWD Technical Specs
|Genesis GV70 2.5T petrol RWD|
|Engine||2.5 L 4-cylinder|
|Output||224 kW @ 5,800 rpm|
|Fuel||9.8 l/100km combined (14 city, 7.4 highway)|
|Kerb Weight||2,200 kg|