Why we’re running it: To see if this old-school compact executive estate has new-world charms.
Month 1 - Specs
Life with a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake: Month 1
Welcoming the G70 to the fleet - 8 November 2023
On our fleet, I’ve gone from running a Citroën C5 X to an Alpina D3 S Touring to a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake. So if you want to know what a niche posh wagon is like, it would appear I’m your man.
Still, nicer than yet another SUV, no? It is to me, anyway. Genesis sells some of those too, of course, and with or without electrification, but this G70 Shooting Brake is a compact executive estate of much more traditional style.
Back when sales reps ruled the motorways and ‘i’ on the back of a car stood for ‘important’, many more cars were like this. It’s a 4.7m-long and 1.85m-wide estate – both dimensions less than 3cm from a BMW 3 Series Touring – with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. That’s turbocharged too, to make 241bhp at 6200rpm, and drives the rear wheels only, through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
There are three models in the G70 Shooting Brake line-up. The £39,545 Premium, without or with a £4430 Luxury Pack, and the £41,995 Sport, which this is. It takes the Premium’s standard features (there are many) and adds things like a heated steering wheel, uprated brakes, leather seats, an electric tailgate, adjustable dampers anda limited-slip differential.
Into my third estate on the go, though, I have come to remember how much I enjoy cars like this. It’s lower than so many crossed- over alternatives, and unlike the G70 saloon, which is a global car, Genesis’s German-based team designed and made the estate specifically for Europe so that they could tune it just for the likes of us.
A kerb weight of 1787kg is towards the upper end of where I’d like it to be, but otherwise we’re very much in the agreeable territory I’d have wandered into as a travelling regional sales and service manager. Forward my calls to the car: I have fax machines to sell in a modern industrial park at the other end of the M4.
At least, that would have been the case before benefit-in-kind tax rates for combustion and electric cars diverted quite so massively and has EV drivers paying a 2% benefit-in-kind tax rate, and G70 Shooting Brake drivers paying tax on 37% of the car’s value on account of the 2.0-litre turbo’s 217g/km CO2 output. Which means it’s a car for the private buyer. Which means you don’t see very many.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen another since it arrived with us. That should be no huge surprise. If Genesis, the posh branch of Hyundai, is committed to us Europeans like Lexus (of Toyota) was, and Infiniti (parent: Nissan) ultimately wasn’t, these things take time. Decades, not just years.
Lexus has sold cars in the UK since 1990, when it moved 582 of its groundbreaking LS luxury saloons. Last year, it sold a little over 10,000 cars, which is pushing on for £500 million worth, so business well worth having, but still less than a tenth of the number of BMWs sold here, 33 years after the LS’s launch.
Globally, Genesis now sells more than 200,000 cars a year, which makes it about a third the size of Lexus and a tenth of BMW – both impressive numbers given it has only existed since 2015. But last year, the UK accounted for just 1000 of those. So it’s a niche prospect.
None the worse for it, in my view. And I think it deserves a wider audience than it’s getting. So far, while it’s early days, the G70 is proving a rewarding car to live with. It did take a few minutes to find and disable a shocking number of bongs.
Shortly after getting aboard the car for the first time in Twickenham, on the westbound M3 I was comfortably under the speed limit and about to divert onto the M25, but because I was driving roughly towards a 50mph average speed camera section, it wouldn’t shut up about me doing over 50mph, even though I’d have pulled off the motorway before I reached it. So I had to find and mute that, and then everything else.
There are ways to make them stay off too. So a single, long deliberate press of the lane keeping assistance is now the only button I have to press when I set off, which is otherwise confusingly gnawing at the wheel within 30 seconds of leaving the driveway.
The G70 has to have these things, of course. What it doesn’t have to have but, praise be, does anyway is a number of big, easy-to-reach physical buttons. You'll likely have read about my beef with the Volvo EX30’s user interface. One of its engineers told me he believed the touchscreen was just as good to use as, if not better than, separate real buttons and dials.
I didn’t believe him then and I believed him even less when I returned to the UK and climbed back into the G70, popped on the heated seat and steering wheel, turned up the temperature, turned down the radio and adjusted the mirrors and the sensitivity of the windscreen wipers all with the merest cursory glance – and could do so without looking away from the road at all, if I tried. This stuff is vitally important. And, frankly, screw the arrogant, misguided car makers who think otherwise.
Given that, I could almost not care how well the G70 Shooting Brake otherwise drives. Thankfully, I’m finding that agreeable too, probably because it’s lower than your average SUV. More on the dynamism, though, next time.
I had a quick go in Prior’s G70 during a photoshoot recently (yes, I took a shooting break) and found it... fine. It sounds pretty fruity and steers neatly enough, but the shadow of the 3 Series looms large, and only a few thousand miles will determine whether the Genesis can step out from underneath it.
Genesis G70 Shooting Brake 2.0 T Sport specification
Specs: Price New £41,995 Price as tested £52,425 Options Innovation pack £3250, Leather Seat pack £2470, Comfort Seat pack £1850, sunroof £960, Lexicon audio £790, Metallic paint £750, 19in wheels £360
Test Data: Engine 4 cyls in-line, 1998cc, turbocharged petrol Power 241bhp at 6200rpm Torque 260lb ft at 1400-4000rpm Kerb weight 1675kg Top speed 149mph 0-62mph 6.1sec Fuel economy 31.9-35.4mpg CO2 182/km Faults None Expenses None