Good looking car, what is it? Haven’t seen one of these before.
Plenty of admiring comments but the name is a bit of a mystery in these parts. Guy the plumber thought the car on my drive had the look of an Aston Martin. May be, from the front.
It seems the Genesis message is struggling to get past Watford which might be down to initial thinking that most of the sales for this relatively new premium brand would be in the south, ‘where the money is’.
Genesis has been around for two years, the brainchild of Hyundai which funded this luxury brand to expand its burgeoning empire – think Toyota and Lexus.
And it is doing it differently. No flashy showrooms, you pop into a city centre studio for a virtual tour of chosen model and buy online with the help of a personal assistant who looks after the customer in a cradle to grave operation along with a generous five year warranty package.
The first studio was in London, where else, but there is life past Watford and a studio has been opened in Edinburgh which ties in nicely with the Genesis sponsored Scottish Open golf tournament, and there is talk of another somewhere in the middle.
There are six Genesis models with a full compliment of petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric and the GV70 is the best seller. It is an SUV with the likes of Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Lexus NX in its sights.
First impressions? Very good. An imposing in your face grille, clearly there to make a statement, flowing lines and coupe style roofline. The rear quarter window is eye catching too.
First impressions inside? Wow. Make that a double wow. All the premium brands, Audi in particular, have beautifully finished cabins but lack a bit of design flair. The Genesis stylists have gone that extra mile to make GV70 look special with brushed aluminium oval shapes and inserts.
A wide 14.3in infotainment screen dominates the dashboard with enough information to rival Encyclopedia Britannica. It is easy to navigate the menus either by touch or, better still, by using the rotary controller which is safer when driving. There is a minor design glitch here because there are two switches placed line astern between the seats, a gear selector with the screen controller in front.
Trouble is I invariably grabbed the screen switch when I wanted the gear selector. It was the same for my wife. Solution. Switch them round.
No such problems with the driver’s binnacle which has traditional speedo and rev counter dials, digital of course, with a separate central display to access relevant driver information. A head up display with digital speed, navigation instructions, safety warnings etc completes the picture.
GV70 is a car that puts you in a good frame of mind even before setting off. Comfy seats, good driving position, and it doesn’t take too many miles before you feel the comfort from a well damped suspension. There is a sport setting which firms up the ride but this is an SUV, not a sports hatch, so I stayed in comfort mode and enjoyed the ride.
A car this size it is a natural five seater although the all wheel drive transmission hump is a bit of nuisance for the middle seat passenger. But there is ample leg and head room for taller folk. A small improvement would be a three-way split for the back seat instead of the current 60-40. Boot space is plentiful but not class leading. A handy touch is an underfloor slot for the boot cover.
A good game for children is ‘find the tailgate opening button’. It is cleverly placed at the base of the rear wiper which might be a better slot for the camera which is low to the ground and gets covered in grime in a flash.
The surprise package is a diesel option. I thought diesel had gone out of fashion but if it suits your needs then this 2.2 litre is very refined and good for 38-39mpg. It is not the quickest in the SUV pack but may be we make too much of the odd second in a sprint to sixty league table. The bottom line is it is quick enough and well catered for with an eight speed automatic box with steering wheel paddle shifters should you need to up the engine response.
It is going to take a while for the Genesis brand to catch on, but catch on it will because this is a formidable, well equipped package even if you end up paying extra for luxury packs which is the way of the world with the premium brands.
Genesis GV70 Sport Line AWD
£41,800 (£49,260 tested)
2.2 litre diesel; 206bhp
0-62mph 7.9secs; 133mph
186g/km. 1st tax £945
Boot: 542-1678 litres
Insurance group 44