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First Look: 2022 Genesis GV70 compact SUV and refreshed G70 3-Series fighter

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Behind a heavy black curtain of the Genesis boutique located in Square One, Ontario’s largest mall, the Canadian debut of the all-new 2022 Genesis GV70 was low-key in a way the nascent four-year old brand was surely not expecting. With its on-sale introduction to the market now planned for the second half of 2021, the BMW X3-sized SUV in most years would receive a splashier introduction at various auto shows, at least one or likely multiple large test drive events, and numerous posh sneak preview events, complete with finger food and champagne for favoured customers.

But at least in the past year, none of this has been possible. That world has now changed, certainly in the immediate future, and perhaps for good. For this sneak peek at the all-new GV70, it was one media member at a time, with information gleaned by three company executives. And no driving, at least for now.

Which is unfortunate, because the GV70 promises an enthusiast-friendly if traditional drivetrain formula: take the already powerful gas engine from your larger and pricier model, in this case the highly regarded Genesis GV80 SUV, and stuff it into a smaller and lighter body for instant driving fun. Therefore, the powerful 300 hp 2.5-litre turbocharged base four-cylinder from the larger mid-size G80 arrives largely untouched, as does its 311 lb-ft of torque – both of these figures dwarf those of base X3 and Audi Q5 models, while early fuel efficiency figures from Genesis suggest the GV70 will swill roughly equal amounts of premium fuel as its German counterparts, or the Lexus NX 300 as well.

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The GV70 will be available in four trims, and interestingly – and perhaps strangely – each of the four 2.5T trims of the GV70 is listed as adding one additional horsepower as you climb the line. So the base Select is at 300 hp, the Advanced is at 301, the Advanced Plus at 302, and the Prestige at 303. It’s a similar pattern for the torque listings, which starts at 311 lb-ft for the Select, on up to 314 for the Prestige. Your muscle may vary (YMMV), as they say.

For those that want max muscle, the GV70 also offers the much brawnier 3.5-litre V6, which pumps out 375 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque, the latter at a notably lower 1,300 r.p.m. No acceleration estimates were provided, but given that the GV70 is roughly 190 kg (419 lb) lighter than the larger but already fleet GV80, Genesis is clearly laying down generous amounts of rubber and ‘sport’ to its second sport-utility vehicle.

Unlike some rivals that offer hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of its luxury SUVs, Genesis Canada executives confirmed it will be foregoing both those routes with the GV70, leaving its efficiency standard-bearer to be an upcoming all-electric BEV SUV based on the E-GMP platform.

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First Look 2022 Genesis GV70

Inside, the GV70 offers a few industry firsts: one, there’s a fingerprint reader behind the steering wheel that can be matched to yours, and used in an emergency to start and drive the car. Granted, if your fob is totally out of battery power or just in someone else’s pocket accidentally, gaining access to be able to use that button may be an issue.

Another is a radar-based system that actively monitors the rear seat for activity, using sensors inside that can not only detect movements, but can detect heartbeats and breathing, to alert the driver to sleeping children and/or pets.

As more Genesis models emerge, it’s seeming clear now that the ‘GV’ signifies an SUV model, whereas the number indicates where the model lands size and price-wise in the current Genesis lineup. The G70 compact sedan also receives a refresh for 2022, with both models sharing a new twin LED headlight and taillight designs first seen on the larger GV80 that will become a signature visual feature for all Genesis models going forward, said Richard Trevisan, brand director at Genesis Motors Canada.

“We’re a very customer focused brand – we come to you,” he said, describing how the fledgling brand has helped differentiate itself, by delivering vehicles to customers for test drives, as well as doing the same for any scheduled maintenance, dropping off a Genesis loaner at the same time.

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The Genesis Canada website notes that the brand’s “At-Home services are limited to a 50 km radius from the nearest agency,” but the brand has been creating and expanding its physical footprint as well, now up to 30 across the country, its latest opening in Newfoundland in January this year.

With the G70 sedan and GV70 sitting next to each other, the family resemblance was clear, the similar twin LED lighting motifs front and rear the most noticeable visual change in the G70 four-door. Genesis has also opted to replace its rear badge with a spelled out ‘Genesis’ name, to help increase its brand recognition as well.

Powertrain-wise, the G70 no longer offers rear-wheel drive nor a manual transmission, making all Genesis models all-wheel drive as of 2022 model year, said the Genesis folks. The G70 Sport will offer a throatier variable exhaust system to its 3.3 V6 models, which will top out at 368 hp versus 365 without it. The ’22 G70 is slated to arrive in May this year.

Hyundai’s upscale Genesis brand has benefitted from its early focus of launching its brand largely online, gaining a foothold on building relationships online with customers that proved invaluable for the last year spent a in pandemic-related upheaval. The G70 has grown its market share versus the powerhouse Mercedes-Benz C-Class and other market rivals even in a down year, and Trevisan expects the GV70 to take an even larger bite out of its faster-growing growing market segment.

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