When you think of driving in snowy climes you don’t usually think sedans. Likely, your first thought will be of an SUV or a crossover with four-wheel drive, but not if you’re considering the new 2019 Genesis G70 with AWD. It’s no surprise that the 2019 Genesis G70 has garnered a whole litany of awards recently, too. Most recently the G70 won the North American Car of the Year Award at the Detroit Auto Show this year, and it is one of the most highly-decorated vehicles in Genesis’ line-up. The G70 was also awarded Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award for 2019. Genesis recently flew me to Colorado to chat with Erwin Raphael, the new COO of Genesis, about the future of the newest luxury brand in the marketplace, and experience just what the 2019 Genesis G70 could do on a snow track.
What is the Genesis G70?
The Genesis G70 is an entry-level luxury four-door sedan sold by the new luxury car maker, Genesis. Genesis is owned by Hyundai. The Genesis G70 competes with a number of German luxury vehicles including the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Genesis G70 shares its underpinnings with Kia Stinger (Hyundai and Kia are the same company). The G70 represents the brand’s first attempt at a true sports sedan that has both the power and handling to satisfy the driving enthusiast.
What is a Genesis car?
While you may not be familiar with the Genesis car brand, it’s been its own standalone company since November 2015 when Hyundai-Kia decided to spin out the luxury marque. The Genesis name began as a luxury car that Hyundai sold. The main reason for spinning Genesis out as a standalone brand was that the Genesis buyer had (and still has) a different make-up than your typical Hyundai buyer and the company wanted to target a more well-heeled group than those that traditionally shopped at Hyundai dealerships.
Hyundai and Genesis are Korean brands that have only been in the U.S. market for the last 10 years. In those 10 years, Hyundai-Kia and Genesis have made tremendous strides in the reliability, quality and craftsmanship of their vehicles, most recently, finishing first, second and third in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey in 2018. In fact, Genesis ranked the highest in the initial quality survey. Genesis also employs some of the most well-known and well-respected top-level people in the business. The roster of top-level folks include people who made their names at companies like Lamborghini, Bentley, Audi, and BMW. Manfred Fitzgerald is the head of design and brand for Genesis and he came from Lamborghini. Luc Donckerwolke is the former design director from VW Group where he headed up designs for Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi. He currently leads the design team at Genesis and works with Peter Schreyer, formerly of Audi, who is famous for his Audi TT design. Albert Biermann, who was head of BMW’s performance M-Division, is now in charge of tuning and performance at Genesis. All in, that means that the cars coming out of Genesis (and Hyundai and Kia by extension) are good-looking, well-sorted, and downright fun to drive. Genesis currently only offers three cars, the G70, G80, and the G90. Raphael said that by 2021, Genesis will offer six models including a mid-size SUV, an SUV, and a sport coupe. Genesis is not only challenging luxury title-holders like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. They’re also working to change the way that people buy cars. To that end, Genesis has very tight guidelines for their dealers. “Dealers aren’t allowed to have a lot of variation from what we put into the marketplace. They can play with the downpayment, but buyers won’t see a lot of sales deals or special APRs only if they have fantastic credit. The Genesis buying experience is straightforward and clear,” Raphael said.
Can you drive the Genesis G70 in the snow?
Absolutely! When built with the optional AWD, the Genesis G70 is sure-footed and agile in the snow and ice. The G70 we experienced in Aspen, Colorado was the G70 Sport with AWD. It has a 3.3-liter engine that puts out 365 hp and 376 lb. ft. of torque, which is plenty of power to get you into (and out of) trouble on slick roads. The short snow track, located at a Christmas Tree farm near Basalt, Colorado, was created by Genesis to specifically show off the G70 Sport AWD prowess in slippery conditions.
What’s it like to drive the Genesis G70 on an ice track?
While I didn’t get to drive the G70 on an ice track I rode as a passenger and got to experience the thrill of the car on the slippery route. The driver took us through two different modes in the G70 — one with the AWD system totally on, and another in what Genesis calls Drift Mode.
In AWD mode on packed snow, the Genesis was sure-footed and stable. The stability control and traction control would only interfere when the car began to slide when pushed too hard through a corner and it wasn’t over-intrusive or jarring. From the passenger seat the ride felt smooth, quick, and engaging and the driver did not have to work very hard to keep the G70 on the track. Small movements of his hands were more than enough to keep the line and steer through some tricky chicanes and hairpins that the Genesis team had laid out for us. To put the G70 in Drift Mode, you turn off both ESC and traction control. This puts the G70 AWD Sport into rear-wheel drive mode allowing the back end of the car to slip and slide around the course. In this mode the car is tail happy like an excited puppy, spinning the back end out towards the outside edges of the track at turn in. The driver modulates the throttle and steering wheel to ease the slide and keep the G70 sideways through a few turns, which, of course, results in a few excited giggles from the passenger seat. Rooster tails of snow and ice abound as we push the car faster around the track. Want to see a video of our Snow Day with the Genesis G70?
Where can I get a Genesis G70?
Finding a Genesis G70 can be a bit tricky right now because the dealership network is still being built out. Genesis PR told us there are roughly 200 Genesis dealers around the country right now and according to Raphael, there are currently only 10 dealerships in all of California. Raphael said that by the end of March there will be 30 dealerships in the state.
If you live in Florida, it will be far easier to find a Genesis G70 since there are a much larger number of dealers in the area. According to Raphael, more than 25% of the dealerships are concentrated in the state. The best way to find a Genesis G70 is to visit Genesis’ site, and search for Genesis dealers in your area.
What dealerships have the new Genesis G70?
It’s hard to find the Genesis G70 in a showroom because there are currently no standalone Genesis dealers anywhere in the US. Currently, all Genesis cars are sold in Hyundai dealers. You can, however, order your vehicle online and have it shipped to a dealership nearby. The rollout of dealerships across the country has been slow thanks, in a large part, to the various franchise, building, and permit requirements in each different state that Genesis wants to be in. Since the announcement in 2015 there are currently no standalone Genesis stores, right now, according to Raphael. Most Genesis cars are sold in Hyundai dealerships alongside other high-volume, lower-priced Hyundai vehicles. For Genesis, Raphael said, this is far from ideal since Genesis is positioned and priced as a luxury brand.
When does Genesis G70 go on sale?
The Genesis G70 is currently on sale all over the country. While it may be hard to find one near where you live, Erwin Raphael told us that Genesis currently has more than 350 dealers all over the country who will become Genesis-only dealerships in the near future. Many people are going out of state to purchase their Genesis G70, according to Raphael. He mentioned that many people in California are heading to Nevada to test drive and buy their G70. Raphael also said, that most buyers are opting for a three-year purchase cycle for the G70. He said that 70% of buyers are leasing the car while 30% are financing it for three to four years. “The thing people come to us for is our service and the entire experience of luxury. Part of the Genesis offering is customers can get a loaner car, delivered to their home when their car goes in for service. Plus, they’ll never have a mystery check-engine light. The G70 is cloud-connected and gathers data about the conditions when an alert is triggered so that customers don’t have to worry about explaining what was going on when the alert goes off.” “At Genesis, style is important, details are crucial and performance is also a priority,” Raphael said, “We want to evolve the shopping experience and make it as transparent as possible.”