This car doesn’t make much sense on the face of it. But did we love it anyway?

Why we ran it: To see if this old-school compact executive estate had new-world charms

Month 1 - Month 2 - Month 3Specs

Final report: This car doesn’t make much sense on the face of it. But did we love it anyway? 

I don't know how easy it is to recommend the Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, a car that's sufficiently old-fashioned in ethos that it would be an expensive choice to own yet so rewarding in its execution that it's tempting to guide people towards it anyway.

To recap: Genesis is the posh arm of Hyundai like Lexus is to Toyota or Infiniti is to Nissan - the latter no longer in Europe after discovering how hard it is to convince people to buy into a new prestige brand.

That's Genesis's first challenge, then. Add in launching during a pandemic with a 2.0-litre petrol estate that returns 31mpg when everybody is buying SUVs and when EVs are hugely incentivised as company cars and you get an idea of why it isn't common to stumble across a G70 Shooting Brake today.

It's a shame because I've enjoyed the time I've spent with this car. It's easy and practical to rub along with, sensibly and logically laid out inside and rewardingly characterful to drive in a way that taller cars generally aren't.

It came in 2.0-litre Sport form, then costing £41,995 before options (of which there were many fitted) - although back then you could have it with a 2.2-litre diesel instead.

As with the BMW 3 Series which is the G70's most obvious rival, this once would have been unmistakable company car territory for executives whose car list would have included compact saloons and wagons.

The G70 petrol's corresponding 217g/km of COz emissions, which puts it into the 37% benefit-in-kind tax bracket, is why it's a much harder sell than it once would have been.

Still, this is a pleasant engine, driving through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a limited-slip differential to the rear wheels. You can decide how brappily augmented its sound is by the car's speakers through a comprehensive and attractively designed infotainment system that happily isn't lumbered with operating too many driving functions.

Such is the array of physical switchgear that it's possible to go through a journey without using the touchscreen at all - once, that is, you have spent a minute or two the first time you drive it setting the driver assistance settings to the levels you want. Otherwise, the number of bings and bongs can drive you to distraction.

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The best-looking Genesis yet is also clearly the best to drive, even if its slightly flat four-pot engines will dim its appeal to keener drivers.

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The Innovation Pack as fitted here adds no more functions to the touchscreen (yay) but does give you a head-up display, blindspot monitoring, all-round parking cameras and 3D-look instruments. It's quite cool, but at £3250 then or £2670 now, I think I'd live without it.

It's harder to call the Comfort Seats or the stereo upgrade without trying the alternatives. All G70 wheels are now 19in and fitted with racy Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, but 18s were standard when our car arrived. Every alternative is now dark-coloured, though, which I think is a shame.

The ride is agreeable and the handling benefits from the G70 being low-slung. It has slick steering, a pleasant balance and limited body roll. It's reasonably firm on the 19in wheels, but I like the amount of control that it has.

I did pick up a puncture, which was in no way the G70's fault, and even if there had been a smaller wheel size with more sidewall, I suspect I still would have done.

That was one of few expenses: the car used no oil or coolant and nothing went wrong. And while service intervals are short, at just 6500 miles, for the first five years there's no cost to those either.

Included in the list price is a Care Plan that comprises a five-year warranty, five years of servicing (with Genesis picking up the car and returning it later) and a courtesy car. So it's about as hassle-free as it gets: make a phone call or send an email, engage in a little to and fro to sort dates and wait for it to happen.

There are also free over-the-air software updates, although I doubt there will be too many of those.

In terms of fuel economy, what's reasonable to expect? I saw a fairly routine 31mpg - not much under, not much over. In a leggy diesel, you might expect to squeeze considerably better MPG out of a tank if you've done, say, a lot of leisurely motorway running, but with this petrol car it didn't seem to make much difference, even over a very long run to Scotland and back.

We've got used to talking about much better economy than this, but if we've turned buyers off diesels but they can't drive electric, this is where we are.

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If you're in this fairly conservative sphere, then, the 3 Series Touring, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate and Audi A4 Avant all still loom fairly large. It would be a niche choice to pick the G70 in that company, but I would entirely understand it.

Second Opinion

I had a blat in Prior’s faux-Flying Spur and came away with the distinct notion that, lacklustre economy aside, it’s a pretty tight match for its German rivals in terms of dynamism, finish and raw kerb appeal. I thought I might even name it my favourite swish exec – but then I drove an M340i

Felix Page

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Love it:

Key fob The buttons are big and the locker has little knobbles, so once you’re familiar, you needn’t look at it.

Steering shortcut You just need one long button press on the steering wheel to disable or enable this ‘aid’, which is a bonus.

All those buttons The list extends to one to dim or brighten the dials – a vanishingly rare but really welcome perk.

Radio readout The frequency is displayed like old-school Nixie tubes. It’s almost worth listening to AM for that look.

Loathe it:

Black wheels I like the design but not the colour. It makes it hard to see their shape and they show up dirt readily.

Final mileage: 9014

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Life with a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake: Month 3

Four-cylinder petrol estate gets a deserved break from the rigours of everyday life - 24 January

A trip to drive a Kia EV9 near Inverness just a week or so before Christmas gave me a chance to stretch the legs of my Genesis G70 Shooting Brake, which was otherwise being relegated to daily duties.

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Not that there was anything wrong with the way it was handling those: the shops, the gym, the commute, the weekly trips to intercept Steve Cropley to record our podcast.

There's a lot to be said for a car that fits so seamlessly into your morning routine that, like turning on a tap, opening a sock drawer or locking the front door, you barely notice the event: get in, push a couple of buttons, twiddle the wheel and pedals a bit and get out at the other end. But a car deserves better.

I had to be at Inverness by 9.30am to start a day's driving in the EV9, so I'd broken up the outbound journey overnight and driven most of it in the dark on the quickest (ergo least interesting) route.

But knowing that I could make an early start on the way back, I wanted to take in some of my favourite roads through the Cairngorms. If you tell a sat-nav system you want to go from Inverness to Perth via Braemar, you get directed the right way, up and over the old military road and past the Lecht and Glenshee ski centres.

The ski lifts weren't running, but it had snowed a bit, and while Scotland's wonderfully named gritters there's an online tracker, and Penelope Gritstop isn't far away as I write) had been out and about, they can't cover minor roads.

The G70 runs Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, which isn't exactly frozen-road friendly; it has rear-wheel drive; and I'd seen -7c on the instrument panel. So I vowed that if at any point progress looked iffy, I'd just turn around and head back to cleared main roads.

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However, beyond the cloud and fog, it was gloriously sunny and black asphalt responds to that, so it never got worse than a tiny bit slushy underwheel, even at the road's highest points.

I wouldn't have fancied it on my motorbike and I didn't wander off the road into snowy car parks or lay-bys, but it's just such a nice drive that I'm glad I made the time.

I stopped in Braemar for an early lunch and then, once past Perth, let a Google Maps and Waze combo suggest the quickest route home. I've heard recreational flying described as an expensive way to go for a cup of tea.

Recreational driving like this could be similarly dismissed as a long diversion for a cheese toastie.

But hey, it's a hobby. With stops, it was a 520-mile, 12-hour day, with the only lowlight being a short section of motorway held to a 20mph speed limit with the matrix boards saying "oncoming vehicle". (Thankfully it turned out incident-free.) Some matrix messages are ignored, but that seemed to get people's attention.

While I was away, news came through that Genesis UK's corporate structure was being melded into Hyundai's (not that customers should notice any difference). With a launch hampered and delayed by Covid and selling niche ICE cars (like this one) before moving on to EVs, Genesis UK hasn't had the easiest start to life.

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And while I like the G70 Shooting Brake a great deal and would have happily climbed into it and done the return journey all over again the next morning, a glance at a trip computer reading 30.2mpg isn't terribly helpful.

As a result, I suspect there's a relatively small group of drivers for whom the G70 is the 'right' car: those who don't want diesel or electric or an SUV or a BMW 3 Series. If they do try the G/, though, I think they will like it.

Jack Harrison

Love it

Keep on rolling

Sad that I am, I like seeing a sat-nav display that tells me the next instruction is another 233 miles down the road.

Loathe it

The moustache 

I like the look of the G70, so it’s a pity that forward-facing safety tech necessitates a weird-looking block in the centre of the grille.

Mileage: 8714

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Radio gives the modern-looking Genesis a retro feel - 3 January 

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I’m a huge fan of the radio display on the G70 Shooting Brake’s touchscreen. When you select DAB, the station names are rendered in orange neon on black, retro style. It’s cool, yet nowhere near as cool as the Nixie tube rendering for the frequency on medium wave. Shame I don’t listen to it

Mileage: 6850

Life with a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake: Month 2

Even without its free servicing, it’s pretty cheap – for a Bentley - 20 December

The number of times people have mistaken the Genesis for a Bentley is mounting. And curious, given Bentley doesn't make a five-door estate car, but there must be something about the nose that does it.

If there's good news for Bentley in this, it's that the frighteningly limited and expensive Batur, which I think it's reasonable to admit the G70

Shooting Brake's nose resembles, clearly entered the public's consciousness to a healthy degree. To be honest, finding the two parked next to each other would be one of the UK's rarer car park spots.

Given Genesis's rarity and that this car is a relative unknown in the marketplace, it's also interesting to gauge how expensive people think it is. More than its £42,000 price (before options) is the short of it.

This car does have around £3500 worth of additional leather, which presumably lifts the interior ambience a little (I haven't been in a G70 without it to compare), but still - three in five people (it's a small sample size) thought that it's more expensive than it is.

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It's also pleasing to think that people who see a load of interior buttons and dials separate to the touchscreen, plastic though they are, don't see it as cheapening the interior - and ergonomically I'm enjoying its excellence.

Typically, I've found people assume that the G70 is a £60,000-plus car. So maybe they're on top of recent car price hikes better than I am. This is a traditionally old-school compact executive estate car with a base price that just skips under £40,000.

Included in that is a five-year warranty and also five years of servicing. And the latter is just as well. As the odometer crept towards 6000 miles, 1 got a ping on the dashboard telling me that an oil change service would shortly be due.

A bit soon, I thought but figured that plenty of modern cars have an oil quality monitor on board and that this car could have arrived with us having done plenty of road testing with other magazines.

And I sometimes have no option but to accelerate briskly from relatively cold temperatures onto a busy, fast road when I leave home. Anyway, on checking the service manual, it turns out that oil changes are required every year, or 6500 miles.

The average UK car travels 8000 miles a year but this is a new compact executive estate car, which implies it might end up running rather more than that. Genesis makes it easy - after a couple of swapped calls and emails, they picked the car up and later dropped it back (both while I was away on a job), service completed.

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I guess after five years of free looking after, it's likely a car will have gone onto a more gentle use case, where it might want only one check a year, but if you're doing 20,000 miles a year, it's worth remembering there will be a little fatigue - albeit at no cost- every few months.

The cost comes at the fuel pumps: I'm still returning only a little over 32mpg from this 2.0-litre turbo petrol wagon. And as a company car, given it's a 204g/km vehicle, it would also be expensive to run as a benefit in kind, nestled firmly into the 37% tax banding.

The company car tax system has rather decided to leave cars like this behind, so no wonder it's a niche thing. It's a bit of a shame. I'm finding it very amenable, even if you are almost as likely to bump into a Bentley Batur.

Love it 

Black Ops

Easy to feel the lock and unlock buttons on the key fob in the dark.

Loathe it 

Lane keep assist is too full of false positives – but very easy to turn off.

Mileage: 6940

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Life with a Genesis G70 Shooting Brake: Month 1

The Genesis gets hit by a winter pothole - 22 November

Gah! In some roadworks that briefly narrowed, an oncoming car pushed me towards the verge. Thunk! The damaged sidewall slowly seeped air and proved unrepairable. After I had spent £220 on a Michelin Pilot Sport and wondered if I should bill the local council, I went back to find not a pothole but the pointed metal edge of an access cover, newly exposed. I bet I wasn’t its only victim.

Mileage: 5970

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Welcoming the G70 to the fleet - 8 November 2023

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Second Opinion

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.  

Felix Page

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Genesis G70 Shooting Brake 2.0 T Sport specification

Prices: List price new £41,995 List price now £42,870 Price as tested £52,425

Options: Innovation Pack £3250, Leather Seat Pack £2470, Comfort Seat Pack £1850, sunroof £960, Lexicon audio £790, Mallorca Blue metallic paint £750, 19in wheels £360

Fuel consumption and range: Claimed economy 29.5-30.2mpg Fuel tank 60 litres Test average 31.2mpg Test best 32.4mpg Test worst 30.0mpg Real-world range 412 miles

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 6.9sec Top speed 146mph Engine 4 cyles in line, 1998cc, turbocharged, petrol Max power 241bhp at 6200rpm Max torque 260lb ft at 2000-4500rpm Transmission 8-spd auomatic RWD Boot capacity 465-1535 litres Wheels 255/40 R19 (front), 255/35 R19 (rear) Tyres Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Kerb weight 1787kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £604pcm CO2 212-217g/km Service costs None Other costs £220 (replacement tyre) Fuel costs £1167 Running costs inc fuel £1387 Cost per mile 20 pence Faults None

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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jason_recliner 22 February 2024
So, so nice. Too nice. I'd be afraid to put the MTBs back there :-(
KeithS 16 November 2023

Whilst a completely different model, and an EV, i also have a Genesis, and its also a traditional car in the sense that its a four door Executive saloon and not an SUV!

I have the Electrified G80, and have owned it since July of last year. Prior to the Genesis I had a Maserati Ghibli Diesel for some seven years, and that was after twenty years of various Jaguar's. I always buy from new with the car ordered to my own spec, and I am asked a lot how the G80 compares to my previous car's, and I have to say this is the best car Ive owned!

At 80k for the model with options that I've got its some 10k less than its closest rival the Mercedes EQE, and whilst still an expensive car, it has every gadget, and for me the semi autonomous functionality is an absolute stand out feature making journeys, particularly on the Motorway so much more relaxing! 

In terms of appearance both inside and out, there are few cars that offer this much 'bang for the buck'! Thanks to the rarity it often gets confused for a Bentley, which is not surprising given the chief stylist at Genesis used to occupy the same position at Bentley! 

Whilst the cabin, unlike most new cars these days takes a luxury approach with extensive use of Nappa Leather on the seats doors and dashboard with a modern take on the use of real wood veneers. 

In terms of real world range, in warm weather you can get between 250 -280 miles when driving at the speed limit, with 3.5 miles per kWh easily achievable.

 

shiftright 16 November 2023

I really like this overall, but the front end is 85% grille, and the main one looks like they took Alfa Romeo's trademark shield and enlarged it 800%. Needs some refining.