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2019 Genesis G70 2.0T Sport delivers high-value performance

With the legalization of marijuana now a few months in, the Genesis G70 isn’t the headlining product that Canadians can now have delivered right to their doorstep, though this new entry-level sport sedan from Hyundai’s recently spun-off luxury brand needs to be on your radar if you’re shopping in this segment.

Genesis hopes you’ll consider their G70 along with the multitude of premium competitors from around the globe. They hope you’ll appreciate how they come to you with a car to test drive, deliver your new car to you and pick it up for servicing when required, leaving a loaner behind. Literally, you never have to go to a dealership.

My tester was the relatively-rare G70 2.0T Sport. Most Canadian-sold G70s run a twin-turbo V6, automatic transmission and all wheel drive, but my tester took a different path with a two-litre turbo four (252 horsepower), six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. That’s supported by big Brembo brakes, sticky tires and a driving experience that requires the use of both feet — just the way the enthusiast likes it.

Key reasons to check this car out are how it feels and how it’s priced.

Like a BMW or Lexus, the G70 feels heavy and dense, like it weighs five tons while cruising at a steady state. Give it further instructions from the controls and the weight disappears and G70 feels remarkably lean and light.

The steering is excellent, good enough to out the Cadillac ATS’s steering system as my long-time favourite in this ballpark. The action at the wheel is glass-smooth and heavy, but deployed via a very quick ratio. Minimal inputs generate big reactions from the car, and you steer with your wrists and fingertips, not your arms and shoulders. This makes for a laid-back cruising experience, as well as a go-kart like feel when pushed. Steering best described as ‘mischievous’ and it feels like someone worked overtime tweaking and optimizing the feel.

The suspension and ride are in a similar ballpark. On one hand, G70 cruises comfortably, rarely crashes into bumps, and rarely finds itself feeling anything less than softly-sporty and solid beneath you. Little breaks its composure, and all but the roughest surfaces fail to generate unwanted suspension noise in the cabin.

Tossed around, the body stays positioned tidily over the wheels; there’s minimal unwanted body motion, minimal residual bounding and bouncing and nearly no sense that G70 is battling its weight. This puts a smile on your face, largely because of a blend of sporty comfort and sporty handling capability with minimal compromise.

The big Brembo brakes are slightly numb when first applied, presumably to keep things from feeling overly touchy or jarring when you’re attempting smooth use in traffic. The magic comes a bit deeper into the pedal, where the stopping power builds and piles on predictably, proportionately, and quickly. Precision grows as you get harder onto the brakes and, like the steering and suspension and handling, these brakes feel dialed in to perform with impressive confidence.

The engine exhibits a dab of turbo lag before steaming the G70 along with authority. This four-cylinder is a smooth and mostly-quiet performer that’s dripping with torque, cares little about the currently-deployed gear, and generates plenty of power at virtually any RPM. Driven gently, it’s a distant, muted hum from under the hood. Pushed, the sound is smooth, but quiet and relatively unremarkable.

The clutch is heavier and springier than you think — ideal for the enthusiast driver who prefers the pedal feel of a sporty clutch and not a heap of steamed Kleenex. I often found the shifter a little too springy and lumpy and learning the foot-and-arm rhythm required for consistently smooth shifting took me a few days. In your writer’s hands, the six-speed manual is more pleasing because it’s available, than for how it feels.

The unique arrangement of colours and textures and accenting and shapes creates a fresh and energetic cabin that nicely conveys quality and craftsmanship. A straightforward infotainment interface, comfy seats, good all-around visibility and plenty of easily-accessible storage and charging round out the package. Don’t miss the available metal accenting with red-stitched black-quilted leather, which smacks of a swanky Boudoir. Feature content included a Lexicon stereo, panoramic roof, push-button start, and excellent adaptive steerable LED headlamps.

Gripes? Rear seats are just large enough for average-sized adults, the tall or leggy among us need not apply. Also, there’s a bit more recycling going on than some customers may like, though much of the design and trimmings are unique to Genesis, numerous Hyundai parts and pieces are also on board.

Owners upgrading from a Sonata or Hyundai Genesis Coupe will already be familiar with the switchgear, infotainment system, stalks, buttons, and more, taking away from the ‘upgrade’ factor. Also, for the money, I could have done with a power-adjustable passenger seat.

Still, this one’s a highly-compelling package given its price; namely, $45,500, including freight, and delivered right to your doorstep.

The specs

  • Model: 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T Sport
  • Engine: two-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, 252 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed manual
  • Features: Lexicon audio system, blind spot monitoring, heated leather, automatic climate control, push-button start, Brembo brakes, touch-screen navigation, full driver computer, automatic lights
  • What’s hot: excellent handling, excellent brakes, exceptional steering, good overall value, ideal blend of sporty and comfortable.
  • What’s not: cramped rear seats, so-so exhaust note, a few too many Hyundai parts inside
  • As tested (G70 2.0T Sport RWD): $45,500 (includes freight), delivered
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