2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T: Award-winning performance
The Northwest Automotive Press Association named the 2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige as the top vehicle at its annual Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year competition. The all-new luxury compact crossover SUV came out on top because of its excellent on-road drivability, surprising off-road capability and premium interior during NWAPA's 26th annual competition. otherwise known as Mudfest.
"The 2021 NWAPA Outdoor Activity Vehicle of the Year competition brought together a diverse group of vehicles that reflects the evolving SUV and pickup markets," said NWAPA President John Vincent of U.S. News & World Report. "The 2022 Genesis GV70 luxury crossover brought together phenomenal road manners, elegant integration of technology, and an unexpected ability to tackle off-road obstacles with little drama."
Mudfest compares vehicles with even limited off-road capabilities submitted by different manufacturers. Some are best suited for light trails while others can conquer mountains. Nineteen vehicles competed at the 2021 event, which was held on Sept. 8 and 9 at the Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Wash. The first day's activities included on-road handling testing on the park's race track, while the second day took journalists through two custom-made off-road courses constructed to evaluate the limits of the crossovers, SUVs and pickups.
I took part in the testing as an NWAPA member and was a little surprised by the result. Not because I wasn't impressed by the GV70 for all the reasons Vincent cited. The styling is futuristic, the performance is awesome, the interior is first class, and it handled the moderate off-road test course better than I expected.
But, when considering a broad definition of outdoor activity, the GV70 was not my first choice. Sorry, Genesis, but I would be reluctant to risk damage to the huge, wildly styled wheels going through the woods to a remote fishing spot, given their low-profile tires. Likewise the low front air dam might suffer damage on steep mountain trails. I even felt a little guilty tracking mud into its carpeted interior during an assignment that required me to walk through, well, mud.
But I also think the award recognizes that even the toughest factory off-road vehicles are mostly driven on paved streets. Weekend getaways are fun, but daily commutes and common chores account for the vast majority of the miles that are racked up. So I think it's logical to compare the GV70 to its direct competitors, other compact luxury crossover SUVs. And that's where I can agree it excels.
The GV70 comes standard with two rows of seats, all-wheel-drive, and the choice of two engines, a turbocharged 2.5-liter four that produces a healthy 300 horsepower or a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 than pumps out an impressive 375. It is available in seven trim levels, beginning with the 2.5T and proceeding to the 3.5T Sport Prestige, the subject of the Mudfest testing and this review.
On the road, the GV70 AWD 3.5T feels incredibly light and nimble. It is very fast off the line, even in the Normal drive mode, but especially when Sport is selected. Braking is excellent, allowing for drama free stops from high speeds.
The exterior styling is strikingly organic, mostly curves with few sharp angles, which is different than most competitors. It features the trademark touches that define current Genesis models, including a large, shield-shaped grill and flush headlights and tail lights. The interior is organic as well and embraces the latest trends, including a wide 14.5-inch infotainment touch screen mounted high on the dash that is also controlled by a large dial on the center console. Our tester also came with a the Sport Prestige package that includes a 12.3-inch 3D digital cluster and the 21-inch sport alloy wheels that I wanted to avoid damaging.
The 2.5T starts at under $43,000, which is an attractively low price for any luxury compact crossover SUV with AWD. Out fully-loaded test model lists for $65,045, which is still a very good price and one reason why the Genesis brand is making waves in the automotive industry. All of the vehicles are well designed and made, and they all cost less than equivalent European competitors.
It's good to know the 2022 Genesis GV70 can handle light to moderate off-road duties when needed. But it's more important to understand that it is also a fun and rewarding daily driver that competes well in the growing luxury compact crossover SUV segment.
2022 Genesis GV70 AWD 3.5T
Base price: $41,500
Price as tested: $65,045
Style: Compact luxury SUV
Engines: (300 hp, 311 lbs-ft); turbocharged 3.5 V6 (375 hp, 391 lbs-ft - as tested)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, Snow
EPA fuel economy: 19/25 (as tested)
Length: 186 inches
Weight: 4167 pounds
Final assembly point: Ulsan, Korea
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