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Driven: 2023 Genesis G70. Image by Genesis.

Driven: 2023 Genesis G70
Can South Korean newbie Genesisí compact executive saloon really compete with the BMW 3 Series and its cronies?

   



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2023 Genesis G70

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Genesis may be the new kid on the premium car block, but it has already come up with some remarkably competent products. The GV60, G80 and GV70 all spring to mind. But what of the closest thing Genesis has to a mass-market product? The G70 Ė a rival for the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Ė is just that car, but can it compete with such a cohort of fantastic executive saloons.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Genesis G70 Sport 2.2D
Price: £49,910 as tested
Engine: 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power: 200hp
Torque: 440Nm
Emissions: 171g/km
Economy: 42.7-44.5mpg
0-62mph: 7.4 seconds
Top speed: 143mph
Boot space: 330 litres

Styling

From the outside, the G70 certainly looks the part. The crest-shaped grille wonít be to everyoneís taste, but the basic shape is pretty smart and even the details donít do it any harm. The lights, for example, are more than stylish enough, and the wheels look sporty and smart all at once. And though thereís a whiff of the Grand Theft Auto knock-off C-Class about it, thereís no doubt youíre looking at a proper executive saloon Ė and a relatively attractive one, at that.

Interior

Across Genesis' line-up, the interiors have always been a highlight, and though the G70 may not be the best in the Genesis stable on that front, it's still pretty good. Quality is largely great, with some lovely materials and really solid switchgear that feels robust and durable. The only downside is the occasional plasticky button that surfaces here and there, particularly on the steering wheel.

More impressive is the technology on show, which sees a big touchscreen infotainment system combined with a digital instrument display. Both are clear and easy to read, and while neither has the functionality of some of the more glamorous systems from other manufacturers, they are easier to use on the move, and that puts them ahead of the curve in our book.

Practicality

Though the G70's cabin may be smart and well built, it isn't exactly spacious. For those in the front, it's absolutely fine, with a nice driving position and plenty of seat adjustment, as well as ample head- and elbow-room. But the rear seats struggle both in terms of head- and legroom, which limits the car's use as a four-seater, particularly for tall adults. And that's before we get onto the boot, which looks bigger than the numbers suggest, but still isn't massive. At 330 litres, it's nowhere near as spacious as that of a 3 Series.

Performance

G70 customers get a choice of two engines, with the basic 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine joined by the 2.2-litre diesel engine tested here. Whichever engine you choose, itíll be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that will send the power to the rear wheels. Although the dieselís days are numbered, itís still worthy of consideration, simply because it promises decent fuel economy and 200hp, both of which will be appealing to those who drive long distances.

In truth, the engine feels a little old-school and agricultural at times Ė especially when itís cold Ė but the combination of economy and performance (0-62mph takes just over seven seconds) is compelling enough. It just gets a bit noisy when you put your foot down and the gearbox can feel a bit hesitant when youíre pulling away. In the cruise, however, itís a really strong engine.

Ride & Handling

While the G70 looks good in the metal and on paper, the car doesnít perform quite as well as we were hoping on the road. While the ride is perfectly acceptable, and a match for most other cars in this class, it isnít especially remarkable. And while that wouldnít be a problem were the G70 a dynamic masterpiece, it seems handling isnít its forte either Ė numb steering and a bit too much body roll put paid to that.

Instead, the Genesis attempts to strike a balance between comfort and sportiness, and while that is a noble enough cause, it doesnít really allow the G70 to shine alongside the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In fairness, though, thatís more down to the brilliance of the German saloons than any great weakness on the Genesisí part.

Value

The G70 starts at a little over £40,000, which is pretty standard for a car in this class, but our test car, with a fair few optional extras included, came in at more than £49,000. That isn't outrageous for a car in this class, and certainly not one with a diesel engine and a host of goodies, including a head-up display and more upmarket alloys. But even the basic Sport model gets heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as a rear-view camera, a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a digital instrument display. You don't really need to add all that much extra if you don't want to.

Verdict

The G70 isnít a bad car by any stretch of the imagination Ė itís a really competent alternative to Jaguar XE or an Audi A4 Ė but it isnít perfect, either. A small boot and cramped rear seats all count against it, and though thereís nothing especially wrong with the way it drives, that lack of focus on either ride or handling puts it behind the German rivals that manage to do everything so well.



James Fossdyke - 22 Dec 2023



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2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.

2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.2023 Genesis G70 Saloon. Image by Genesis.








 

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