SAN DIEGO — One of the hazards of reviewing cars is that friends often come to me and ask which car they should buy.
I have many opinions about which vehicle to get, of course, but though I’m ostensibly being asked, they don’t actually want to know my thoughts. Instead, folks want me to confirm the decision they’ve already made.
These days, I ask, “what are you thinking about getting?” and then reply, “those are great!” regardless of what they’re considering. I save my honest thoughts for these reviews.
This brings us to the Genesis GV70, a luxury two-row SUV that manages to stand out from a very crowded field of German and Japanese luxury vehicles. And it’s the rig I would recommend if someone came to me wondering which two-row luxury SUV to buy.
There are only so many ways to draw a crossover. If you put a Volvo XC60, a BMW X3, an Acura RDX, and a Lexus RX next to each other and white out everything but the shape, I would be hard-pressed to tell them apart. But still, the GV70 stands out. I think it’s something about how the rear taillights — two long, horizontal red lines that wrap around the curved corners of the back end — combine with the wide-set dual tailpipes and the sharply-raked rear window.
At the front is an enormous grille flanked by sharp daytime running lights that echo the taillights at the back. The look is aped from the (terrific) Genesis G70 sedan, but it works. The GV70 looks and feels sporty and taut but curvy and nicely proportioned. The lighting is gorgeous, as are the wheels and the lines and everything. I’m sure there are unflattering angles, but I haven’t found them yet.
Opt for the Sport Advanced ($5,000) and the Sport Prestige ($4,900) packages to get Nappa leather seating surfaces with sport pattern quilting and suede inserts — my tester had an outrageous Seville Red leather interior that was a wild contrast with the staid Melbourne Gray exterior paint. Open the door and you are immediately assaulted by color in the very best way.
This Genesis has attitude and spunk, and with the 375 horsepower 3.5-liter turbocharged V6, it has the oomph to back it up. It’s one of the best-driving luxury SUVs around. It’s fun to drive on back roads and highways, and Hyundai’s excellent driver-assist features make long-distance drives and commutes much more palatable.
Hyundai’s infotainment stack, of which this is a reskinned variant, is excellent. It’s responsive and supports Apple CarPlay and android auto. The large touchscreen is fast and responsive, and a secondary row of climate controls are easy enough to use.
At around $65,000, my fully loaded GV70 feels competitive for the segment. You can save a bit of cash by getting an interior that isn’t quite as plush, but I don’t know that you’ll want to. If it’s your thing, this brilliant red interior is addictive.
If I were in the market, this Genesis SUV would be at the top of my list. It looks great, it’s entertaining to drive, and it stands out. That last feature, by the way, is one of the most important. With so many crossovers looking so similar, finding one that looks a bit different, in an entirely pleasing way, is a big deal.
The trio of Korean brands, Hyundai, Genesis, and Kia, are knocking it out of the park these days. Just about all of their cars are fantastic, especially the EVs. Even more exciting, an electric GV70 will be here soon. We’ll see if that car ends up on top of my recommendation list as well.