opinionated at any speed

Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige

Wed, 04/20/2022 - 11:30am

Yes, it’s a mouthful, but then it’s quite a car, too—I mean a two-row, midsize crossover sport-utility vehicle (another mouthful). I’m hard-pressed to think of another one that combines so much performance, luxury, good design, refinement and evident quality in one package at “only” $64,045.

This is the third Genesis vehicle we’ve covered in a year and a half, and it is every inch as impressive as the previous two, the G90 uber-sedan and the three-row version of this, the GV80 uber-SUV, the one Tiger Woods made famous in California. I ran out of superlatives describing them, so finding fresh adjectives may be a challenge this time, but here goes:

Let’s begin with the powerplant, the optional 3.5-liter V-6, turbocharged to 375 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. All I can say is, it feels like more. Well, I can add that it’s whisper-quiet and responds to the throttle near-instantly, and then the 8-speed automatic transmission does its thing about perfectly too. Click the drive-mode selector over to Sport (or Sport+) and all that thrust and response can be applied to the pavement quite aggressively.

The GV70’s exemplary manners are backed up by driver assists that include cameras on the wing mirrors, which show that side of the vehicle when the driver activates a turn signal. Such thoughtfulness abounds throughout: The steering-wheel heater has two settings (and no cold spots). The driver can adjust the passenger seat from her side. The Valet Mode offers fingerprint authentication to block unauthorized access to personal data stored in the computer.

That computer offers a sufficiently extensive menu of features and customizations that I had to get out the owner’s manual. Most of them are useful, but the ambient-noise maker tips over into the absurd. Sounds of Nature, anyone? Or perhaps Calm Sea Water, Rainy Day or Open-Air Café? Who doesn’t like the crackle of a cozy fireplace in their car?

Possibly because the GV70 seems so nearly perfect, I had to go looking for flaws. I found two: First is the placement of similar knobs just inches apart on the center console. One controls the computer—push and turn it to navigate the menu. The other one is the gear selector, which also requires turning, to select D, N or R, or pushing, for Park. A dozen times I found myself fingering the wrong knob, the computer instead of the transmission, or the other way around.

That’s a muscle memory issue. The driver’s head-up display, however, simply doesn’t reach the lofty standard set by the rest of the GV70—it’s informative, but too dim and plagued by reflections. Turn it off.

Otherwise, the instruments and switches, including the toggles and knurled rollers set into the steering wheel, are exemplary. Simply everything, from the seats to the dashboard and even the air vents, has a sculptural quality, and every symbol and line of text, on the computer screen and engraved into the switches, is crisp and clean. The leather, brushed-metal, chrome and carbon-fiber trim are equally three-dimensional. For the price, this is an exceptional vehicle.

Genesis offers the GV70 in seven trim levels, from the 2.5T with front-wheel drive and a 300-horsepower 2.5-liter turbo Four at $42,595 to our top-of-the-line AWD Sport Prestige with the V-6, which starts at $63,545. Having now experienced everything the GV70 can offer, it might be difficult to settle for a lesser version. However, the price becomes even more tolerable when compared to what other deluxe SUVs cost.

My wife, who over the past 20 years has lost her eyesight but in that time has ridden in more than a thousand different cars, climbed into this one and—even before we’d left the house—said “Oh, this feels really comfortable.” Then she ran her fingers over the center console and dashboard and added, “Really nice, too!” Even the blind can tell.