Today on AutoInfluence, we take a look at MotorTrends’s 2019 Car of the Year, the Genesis G70.
Unbiased, it’s hard not to give Hyundai the credit that they deserve in terms of refining their image over the past three decades. For those of us old enough to remember the puzzling automotive landscape of the 1980’s with its influx of asian automakers whose names sometimes proved challenging for domesticated tongues, the inclusion of Korean Hyundai felt shoe-horned in, overshadowed by Toyota and Honda, as if forcing them sit in the corner next to (now-extinct Isuzu).
But Hyundai proved a consistent producer, showing that they were more than ready to compete in the world of small, practical, and economical sedans and coupes. And with each model year providing another opportunity to chip away at market share, Hyundai had also bought themselves enough time to launch the luxury-inspired Genesis brand.
It’s only been two years since the game-changing G90 was introduced to the world, a worthy (if not more accessible) contender to such full-sized luxury mainstays as the BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS. Followed by the equally appreciable impact of the midsize G80, Hyundai had successfully rebranded themselves – albeit in the minds of many who may have played critic in previous years. And now, the G70 arrives, like a drink-stirrer to the entry-level sport segment, mixing things up a bit.
Recently comparing MotorTrends announcement to that of their previous year, there are some similarities in the overall feel of the picks. Of course we’re comparing the G70 to the Alfa Romeo Guilia…well, at least in terms of (i) the out-of-nowhere vibe surrounding the choice, and (ii) the refreshing confidence placed in their sedan styling, in a world that seems all too ready to wave goodbye to sedans outside of luxury and/or performance segments.
But where MotorTrend’s selection of the G70 might feel surprising, it doesn’t feel underserving. Considering that the team behind the G70 consisted of engineering and design talent from Mercedes, Bugatti and Bentley, overseen by Albert Biermann (the conceptual genius formerly of BMW) it’s hard to find any reason why it wouldn’t be an overwhelming success.
In their announcement, MotorTrend described the G70 as hitting “all the right notes: Punchy powertrains and an agile chassis that’s a ton of fun, sporty exterior styling with strong graphics, and a well-appointed interior,” adding the warning, “Look out, BMW. It’s the real deal.”
High praise, indeed. Merging the design language of luxury sedans and American muscle cars, it’s a beefier, angrier alternative to the contoured (and sometimes flaccid) slope of some competitors. If feels imaginative and inspired, conveying a clear sense of intent in terms of the appearance Hyundai was aiming for. And the result is one that we applaud.
Served up in three trim levels, you can opt for the 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 (paired with either 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmissions) or the 3.3-liter V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic. Churning out 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, the G70’s a worthy competitor any way that you cut it.
And you can’t argue with the price. The base level G70 is priced-to-star around $34,900 MSRP, making it exponentially more affordable than the aspirational vehicles that it was created to compete against. Even the jump to the V6, accounting for an approximate difference of $10 grand feels nominal in comparison. This, of course, serves as another impactful bullet point in the list of reasons why Hyundai should be applauded for their efforts.
What are your thoughts on the Genesis G70, both on its own merit, and as MotorTrend’s 2019 Pick for Car of the Year? All thing being equal, we think they certainly could have chosen worse.
This has been AutoInfluence. Thanks for listening.