What Car? says...
These days, models from premium brands often outsell those of mainstream rivals, so if you're after exclusivity but don't want to spend a fortune, what do you buy? Well, this Genesis G70 executive car perhaps.
A relative newcomer to the UK, Genesis is the luxury division of Hyundai, in the same way that Lexus is Toyota’s, and with the G70, it's aiming to tempt people away from the big-name compact executive saloons. So what features does the G70 come with to help it take on the best in a competitive class?
Well, under the bonnet, you can have a 2.2-litre diesel engine or a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, which is available with two different power outputs. What's more, there are three well-equipped trim levels to choose from: Premium, Luxury and Sport.
Finally, you can opt to have the car as an estate – called the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake – or in the saloon bodystyle we're concentrating on in this review.
Over the next few pages we'll tell you how the Genesis G70 compares with key rivals such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class plus the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE. We'll also rate it for performance, comfort, interior quality, practicality, running costs and a whole host of other factors, and look in detail at the different engines and trims being offered.
If at the end you're tempted by any of the cars we've talked about, be sure to check out our free What Car? New Car Buying service. It has plenty of great executive car deals that don't require any haggling.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Genesis G70 produces 194bhp or 241bhp, or there's a 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel. Each has four cylinders and feeds its power to the back wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. However, unlike with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class, there's no hybrid offering.
We tried the more powerful of the two petrols, and it's impressively responsive even from low revs. It can get you up to motorways speeds without becoming overly stressed, and offers a good amount of shove for overtaking. Covering 0-62mph in 6.1sec, it’s quite a bit quicker than the less powerful petrol option which will do the same sprint in 8.8sec.
The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts pretty smoothly most of the time and doesn't dither when pulling out of junctions in the way that the auto in the Audi A4 can. However, the G70's does have a habit of changing down unnecessarily when you're driving through town rather than relying on the engine's torque.
That's a problem in the diesel as well, although it too offers all the performance you need, covering 0-62mph in 7.4sec. Unfortunately, the engine sounds horribly coarse and sends unpleasant vibrations into the car. Indeed, it feels closer to diesels of the early Noughties than the refined four-cylinder units used today by the likes of Audi and BMW.
More positively, wind noise is well contained, even at motorway speeds, but you hear quite a lot of road noise.
We drove the G70 with the adaptive suspension you get with the Luxury and Sport trim levels, and it's pretty good at isolating you from scruffy road surfaces when it's in the Comfort setting. However, the car can still crash and shudder over larger bumps and potholes.
Switching to Sport mode firms up the suspension slightly to keep body lean well controlled in bends. It also adds greater heft to steering, but this remains disappointingly vague, so the G70 is nowhere near as fun as a 3 Series or Jaguar XE on winding roads.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Genesis G70 makes it easy to find a good driving position because even the entry-level Premium trim gives you an electrically adjustable seat.
Unlike in the BMW 3 Series, you get lumbar adjustment to help you stay comfortable on a long drive. However, you might want to consider adding the Comfort Seat Pack on Luxury and Sport trims, which lets you adjust the side bolsters, thigh support and steering wheel electrically, and save your preferred settings.
You sit quite low down, yet still get a great view out at junctions, thanks to slim windscreen pillars. Over-the-shoulder visibility isn't as good as it is in the Audi A4 though, so you'll be grateful that blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard on all versions. The Innovation Pack which you can add on all trims brings a camera display in the driver’s instrument cluster, which shows what’s coming down your flank when you indicate.
Those instruments are a combination of analogue dials and an 8.0in screen unless you add the Innovation Pack, in which case you get fully digital instruments with a 3D effect to layer information. Perhaps most usefully of all, the pack includes a head-up display that projects your speed, sat-nav directions and other information on to the windscreen so you don't have to take your eyes off the road.
Elsewhere, the dashboard is quite logically laid out and has many physical controls, unlike the A4 and Mercedes C-Class, which put almost everything on screens. That might make the G70 look a bit old-fashioned inside, but it also means that it's far less distracting to adjust the climate control.
That’s not to say that the G70 lacks tech – you still get a 10.25in landscape-oriented touchscreen with built-in sat-nav, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The screen isn't as easy to operate on the move as the iDrive system in the 3 Series because it has quite small icons and does without a separate control dial, although mercifully you get some proper shortcut buttons for swapping between menus.
The quality of the materials in the G70 is good, and everything feels solidly put together, although the A4 still sets the standard in the executive car class.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
Up front, the Genesis G70 has plenty of head and leg room, even for those well over six feet tall. While the door bins only really give you enough space for a bottle of water, there's a useful cubby in front of the gear-selector, a large storage bin beneath the front centre armrest and a pair of cupholders.
Instead, it's in the rear that the G70 disappoints, because head and leg room are distinctly tight, and anyone sitting in the middle will struggle to find a spot for their feet.
The boot is also on the small side, offering less space than you get in any rival, at 330 litres. The width and length aren't too bad, but it's not very deep.
All G70s come with 60/40 split folding rear seats, which is pretty standard for the class, although the Audi A4 features a 40/20/40 configuration which gives you much more flexibility and is worth considering if you’ll sometimes be transporting longer items.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The G70 doesn’t fare particularly well when it comes to fuel economy either, with the official WLTP figures saying that even the diesel will average only 44mpg. For comparison, the C300d version of the C-Class averages 53mpg.
The G70 also slots into a slightly higher benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rate bracket than diesel versions of the A4, 3 Series and C-Class. Meanwhile, the plug-in hybrid variants of the 3 Series and C-Class work out substantially cheaper as company cars.
On a brighter note, the G70 gives you a lot of standard equipment for your money, with even the entry-level trim getting 17in alloy wheels, automatically dipping LED headlights and dual-zone climate control.
We'd therefore recommend sticking with this, although upgrading to Luxury does bring some desirable extras, including leather upholstery, 18in alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and a powered boot lid.
As for top-tier Sport Line trim, this adds heated, Napa leather sports seats, 19in alloy wheels and performance Brembo brakes.
We don't have any reliability data for Genesis but every car is backed up by a five-year unlimited mileage warranty. What's more, parent company Hyundai did very well in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey, which bodes well for its premium car division.
The G70 was awarded five stars out of five for safety by the independent experts at Euro NCAP, and all versions come with lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection.
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It should be. Genesis is too new to have any What Car? reliability data, but its parent company, Hyundai, has a fantastic reliability record. In our latest reliability survey, it finished joint fifth (with Suzuki) out of 32 brands. Read more here
Not particularly. Most of the G70’s rivals are better when it comes to fuel economy. Read more here
All G70s get keyless entry and start, but you can’t start the car from outside the vehicle via a smartphone. Read more here
Genesis is a standalone brand that is owned by, but separate from, Hyundai. So, no – the G70 is not a Hyundai. Read more here
|RRP price range||£37,750 - £44,850|
|Number of trims (see all)||2|
|Number of engines (see all)||2|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||petrol, diesel|
|MPG range across all versions||35.4 - 43.5|
|Available doors options||4|
|Warranty||5 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£2,742 / £3,267|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£5,483 / £6,534|