Genesis G70 Review

Written by Andy Brady

heycar ratingWeird and wonderful premium saloon
  • 2021
  • Premium
  • Petrol, Diesel

Quick overview


  • A refreshing alternative to a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class
  • A unique ownership prospect with a personal assistant and at-home test drives
  • Generous equipment levels


  • Thirsty petrol and diesel engines (no hybrid power)
  • Interior feels a bit dated
  • Boot is small while access is tight

Overall verdict on the Genesis G70

"Another day, another premium car brand. But Genesis really does have the potential to make an impact on a competitive market – with a unique approach to car sales and a strong line-up. But does the Genesis G70 have what it takes to tempt buyers away from the Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4? Read our full Genesis G70 review to find out."

Genesis G70 Review 2021: front dynamic

Let's be realistic, there's no way the Genesis G70 is going to sell in the same numbers as the premium German saloons. It does, however, have a number of left-field alternatives in its sights – buyers of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and Volvo S60 could all be tempted away by this new South Korean competitor.

The Genesis G70 has been on sale elsewhere for a number of years, but a recent facelift has coincided with its introduction into the UK. It's based on the excellent (but equally left-field) Kia Stinger, sharing petrol and diesel engines with numerous cars in the Kia and Hyundai line-ups. That means we get a choice of 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines, while an automatic gearbox is standard across the range.

You can't buy a Genesis G70 with a hybrid drivetrain, which seems a bit odd when competitors are now embracing mild-hybrid power at the very least. The brand says it's going to skip that step, instead jumping straight to pure-electric models such as the upcoming Genesis GV60.

Unfortunately, for now, that means the petrol and diesel engines found in the Genesis G70 look a bit old fashioned. We've only driven the 2.0-litre petrol which, even with 245PS on tap (a lower-powered model is also available), doesn't feel all that eager. And its 35.4mpg official fuel economy figure means you'll be visiting the petrol station on a fairly regular basis.

It's quite enjoyable to drive, although its steering isn't as direct as you'd find in a BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XE. All models are rear-wheel drive, while there are numerous sport modes on hand to change the car's personality depending on your mood. Select models get Electronic Control Suspension which stiffens things up when you select 'sport'. The rest of the time, it's a comfortable companion, but not as compliant as a Volvo S60 or Mercedes C-Class.

The Genesis G70's interior is well-equipped for the money and feels perfectly premium, if not quite as up-to-date as alternatives. That's because there are quite a few buttons and switches, while the desirable 12.3-inch digital instrument display is only available as part of the expensive Innovation Pack.

While it's easy to get comfortable in the front seats, the Genesis G70 makes for quite a cramped family car. Space for rear-seat passengers is tight, while the boot is absolutely tiny for a car of this class. Fortunately, a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake estate car is on its way.

So far, it sounds like the Genesis G70 is lacking a real USP that's going to tempt buyers away from more popular models in the class. But that comes in the way that the G70 is sold.

As soon as you express an interest in a Genesis model, you'll be assigned a personal assistant. They'll personally deliver a car to you for a test drive, while you won't have to step foot inside a conventional dealership to place an order. Prices are fixed, while there's unlikely to be an excess of nearly-new models hitting the used market. That's a good thing if the idea of hunting down a good deal makes you nervous, but there won't be bargains for the taking.

Once you've got your Genesis G70, your personal assistant is just a phone call away to answer any questions. When it's time to have your car serviced, they'll collect it. All Genesis models sold in the UK will come with a five-year Care Plan, which includes a warranty, servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy cars and over-the-air software updates.

Looking for a review of the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake? You'll need our Genesis G70 Shooting Brake review.

If you want to stand out in a car park full of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models, the Genesis G70 is a good choice. Most of its appeal comes from the ownership experience – not only are you unlikely to park next to another one, but you'll also enjoy the luxury of a Genesis personal assistant. Servicing's included in the price, while you'll never have to visit a dealer again.

We've only sampled the Genesis G70 with the 2.0-litre petrol engine but we suspect the 2.2-litre diesel engine will be a better choice – not only will it be more efficient, but its extra torque means it ought to be more relaxing to drive, too.

Similarly, we wouldn't necessarily recommend a Genesis G70 Sport Line like our test car. The Genesis G70 Premium Line is more affordable and has everything most buyers would want – including smaller alloy wheels, which is good news for ride comfort.

The big sellers in this class include the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. In reality, the Genesis G70 competes with left-field alternatives such as the Jaguar XE, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Volvo S60 and Lexus IS. You might also be considering SUVs like the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC, or electric cars like the Tesla Model 3.

Comfort and design: Genesis G70 interior

"While the Genesis G70 is new to the UK market, it's been on sale elsewhere for a number of years. That means it feels strangely dated for a newcomer – but that's not entirely a bad thing."

Genesis G70 Review 2021: interior

How so? Well, there are physical controls for the climate control and some very Kia-like buttons acting as shortcuts to nav functions. It's certainly not futuristic, but it does feel premium and comfortable. A bit like a pair of M&S slippers.

The seats are very welcoming, while all models get electric seat adjustment with adjustable lumbar support. You shouldn't have any issues finding a comfortable seating position, while we felt fresh after a few hours behind the wheel of the Genesis G70. 

Our test car was fitted with the optional Innovation Pack, which includes a wireless phone charger, head-up display and a swish 12.3-inch 3D instrument cluster. This apparently uses cameras to monitor your eyes and highlight areas directly in your line of sight... a cool idea, but we'd have to spend more time with it to notice if it's actually any use. 

What is useful, though, is the blind spot monitoring system which displays images from the side on the instrument cluster when indicating – perfect for avoiding kerbed wheels.

Interior quality is generally very good in the Genesis G70. There are a few hard plastics hidden away here and there, but most of the materials you'll come into contact with are satisfyingly squishy.

Standard features on our Genesis G70 Sport Line test car included leather seats (heated in the front with 12-way power adjustment), laminated front glass, a leather steering wheel and adjustable interior ambient lighting – all features which makes it feel quite luxurious, if not quite in the same league as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

All Genesis G70 trim levels come with a 10.25-inch navigation system with DAB radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is the same unit that you'll find in a range of Hyundai and Kia models and, while there's little fancy about it, it's simple to operate and does everything you'd need it to.

Our one gripe is that, unlike bigger Genesis models (including the GV70), there isn't a rotary controller for navigating around the media system. That means it's reliant solely on touchscreen operation (unless you resort to voice commands), which isn't as easy and safe when you're on the move.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Genesis G70 is 4685mm long, 1850mm wide and 1400mm tall.

Boot space in the Genesis G70 is actually pretty poor. It can accommodate just 330 litres of luggage – and, even then, only if you can fit it through the rather slim boot opening. There's no adjustable boot floor, either, while there's only space underneath for a tyre repair kit (rather than a spare wheel).

Elsewhere in the cabin, the Genesis G70 feels similarly cramped. Passengers in the back feel like second-class citizens, with tight legroom and only marginally more acceptable headroom. Things are better in the front, where there's enough space for tall drivers and front-seat passengers. A wide centre console provides space for two generous cupholders, while there's room for a few odds and ends in the door bins.

Rival models are almost universally more spacious but, if you need more space, there's always the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Genesis G70 like to drive?

"The Genesis G70 sends power exclusively to the rear wheels. Under day-to-day driving, you won't really notice a difference compared to front-wheel-drive models, but it does feel sportier than something like a Volvo S60. The steering is direct with eager responses to the smallest of inputs, although the BMW 3 Series has it licked in terms of feel."

Genesis G70 Review 2021: side profile dynamic

The ride is definitely on the firm side (particularly on the 19-inch alloy wheels of our test car), but it's not uncomfortable enough to make you wince at the mere thought of a pothole. Sport Line and Luxury Line models feature electronically controlled adaptive dampers, providing a slightly more dynamic driving experience when you select sport mode.

There are four drive modes on offer (eco, comfort sport and sport+) – as is often the case, these are a little gimmicky, although sport is good for those occasions when you want the automatic gearbox to hold on to lower gears. Sport+ is best used for track use – and if that's what you're after, you'd be better looking at the BMW 3 Series. Or a Lotus Elise...

Around town, the Genesis G70 is easy to drive, helped by front and rear parking sensors which are standard across the range. You sit fairly low down, so you might want to consider the Genesis GV70 SUV if you want better visibility.

There are two core engines available in the Genesis G70: a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel. Both send power to the rear wheels and are paired exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.0-litre petrol is available with two power outputs: 197PS and 245PS. Both produce 353Nm of torque, accelerating to 62mph in 8.8 and 6.1 seconds respectively.

The 2.2-litre diesel, meanwhile, packs 200PS and 440Nm of torque. 0-62mph acceleration takes 7.4 seconds, while top speed is 143mph.

So far, we've only sampled the 245PS 2.0-litre petrol engine. This is eager enough, although we suspect the additional torque of the diesel engine would be welcome. For those wanting a sportier Genesis G70, it's a shame that the twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 isn't offered in the UK.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox – an old-fashioned torque-converter unit – can occasionally get a bit flustered, particularly if you need a burst of acceleration out of a bend. You can always take control using the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, though, and – even left to its own devices – it's not as frustrating as the dual-clutch gearboxes used in Audi models.

As you'd expect for a car that's intending to tempt buyers away from a Mercedes C-Class, the Genesis G70 is very quiet and refined. You won't notice much of a noise from the engine (unless you work it particularly hard in sport mode), and there's not a great deal of wind or road noise.

Genesis says it's aiming for best-in-class safety with the Genesis G70 – a bold claim for a car that's set to rival premium competitors like the ultra-safe Volvo S60. As such, it's got a wide range of standard safety equipment provided across the range, including an innovative centre airbag that prevents front-seat passengers colliding in a crash.

All models come with Smart Cruise Control, which can speed up and slow down with traffic, while Highway Driving Assist can nudge the steering to keep the car within its lane on the motorway. A Stop & Go function, meanwhile, allows the G70 to come to a total stop in traffic before accelerating away again without any input from the driver.

A Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system can help bring the car to a stop when it detects a potential collision with an approaching vehicle detected on the left or right side of a junction. Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, meanwhile, will alert you of vehicles in your blind spot (and apply the brakes to prevent a crash if necessary).

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Genesis G70 cost to run?

"With no hybrid technology, the Genesis G70 isn't the most efficient premium car on sale today. Indeed, petrol models can barely scrape mid-30s MPG in official fuel economy tests."

Genesis G70 Review 2021: rear static

Both versions of the 2.0-litre petrol will officially return up to 35.4mpg in WLTP tests – that's pretty poor, when a BMW 320i M Sport can manage 44.1mpg. There aren't any plans to offer the Genesis G70 with hybrid assistance, either – the brand says it will move straight to pure-electric power.

For this reason alone, we suspect a lot of Genesis G70 buyers would be better opting for a diesel model. The Genesis G70 2.2-litre diesel officially returns up to 44.5mpg. A 60-litre fuel tank is comparable to rivals.

While Genesis hasn't been around for long in the UK, its reliance on Kia and Hyundai parts ought to be a good thing for long-term reliability. Both brands have a strong track record for dependability, each achieving a place in the top 10 hall of fame in the latest Satisfaction Index.

If you have any concerns about reliability, the brand's five-year Care Plan, which includes a warranty and roadside assistance, should help put these to rest.

If you're looking to save money on car insurance, look for a Genesis G70 with the low powered 197PS 2.0-litre petrol engine. This falls into insurance group 31A. Most other models have been placed into insurance groups 37A or 38A.

With no electric or hybrid power available, the Genesis G70 will cost a flat rate of £155 a year in VED (car tax) after the first year. Be careful, though – if you buy one with a list price when new of more than £40,000, and you'll be stung by the premium car tax. This adds an extra £335 a year for five years (from the second time the car's taxed).

How much should you be paying for a used Genesis G70?

"Genesis provides a pretty transparent pricing structure. Everyone pays the same – there's no haggling – while it has no intentions to flood the market with pre-reg models."

Genesis G70 Review 2021: front static sunset

You won't find a Genesis showroom springing up next to BMW and Audi dealers across the UK. Instead, you can request a car to be delivered to your home or office for a test drive. In the first instance, there'll be just three physical Genesis 'studios' in high footfall locations across Europe – including one in Westfield, London.

The Genesis G70 is still a very new model in the UK, and the brand's direct-to-consumer approach means you're going to struggle to save money by looking for a used bargain. Prices start from £33,400 for a Genesis G70 Premium Line with the 197PS 2.0-litre petrol engine, rising to £40,480 for a Genesis G70 Sport Line with the more powerful 245PS petrol.

The Genesis G70 is available in three different trim levels: Premium Line, Luxury Line and Sport Line.

The Genesis G70 Premium Line is comprehensively equipped. Standard kit includes LED lights, 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on petrol models) and a puddle lamp displaying the Genesis logo. Inside, there's leatherette seats with electric adjustment, front and rear parking sensors, air conditioning and cruise control. Tech highlights include a 10.25-inch navigation system with DAB radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while there's a host of standard advanced safety features (including Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision-avoidance Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist to name a few).

As its name suggests, the Genesis G70 Luxury Line adds a few luxurious touches. Highlights include 18-inch alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and heated leather seats. Electronic Control Suspension is standard, as well as electric rear tailgate opening.

The Genesis G70 Sport Line is a more dynamic choice. Standard equipment includes black exterior detailing, 19-inch alloy wheels, Brembo brakes and the Electronic Control Suspension. It also gets the electric boot opening, while interior highlights include metallic pedals, heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Genesis G70 is a premium car with a premium price tag, starting from £33,400 in the UK. That puts it in-line with competitors such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series. You'll be making a statement by buying a Genesis G70 over its more traditional rivals, but we reckon it's worth the cash – especially when you consider the five-year Care Plan and personal assistant that Genesis offers. Genesis says it doesn't negotiate on price.
We'd describe the Genesis G70 as 'sufficiently swift' rather than outright rapid. There's no hybrid assistance, nor can you buy a UK-spec Genesis G70 with the 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that's available in the States. Still, the 245PS 2.0-litre petrol will accelerate to 62mph in a not-too-shabby 6.1 seconds. Top speed is 149mph.
The Genesis G70 should be very cheap to maintain. All Genesis models sold in the UK will come with the brand's five-year Care Plan, which includes a warranty, servicing, roadside assistance, courtesy cars and over-the-air software updates. You'll also get your own Genesis personal assistant, on hand to provide advice or help with logistics when it's time for the car to be serviced. Combine that with mechanical bits that have already proved to be very reliable in Kia and Hyundai models, and we have no doubt that the Genesis G70 will be cheap to run.

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