The new striking Genesis G70 Shooting Brake arrives to challenge the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring

  • 3.5 out of 5

    Verdict

    The Shooting Brake is our preferred version of the G70, offering additional style and boot space for a fairly modest outlay. It’s a distinctive and likeable car, but in a number of key areas – namely practicality, efficiency and performance – it’s found wanting compared to key rivals. The more up-to-date G80 and GV80 also offer nicer interiors, showing up the G70’s relative age.

    Like the old adage about London buses, we waited ages for Genesis to arrive in Europe and suddenly there’s a full range of six models (and even more on the way) to choose from.

    Bosses tell us they didn’t want a half-baked approach to launching the Hyundai Group’s luxury division in Europe. Rather than dipping its toes in the market with a couple of tarted-up Hyundais that go unnoticed (the DS brand’s early efforts spring to mind), Genesis has jumped in with both feet via several bespoke models in different segments, all launching within about six months of each other.

    • New Genesis G70 2021 review
    • And this is the latest arrival: The G70 Shooting Brake. Unlike most of its other products, which are for a global audience, Genesis claims this is a car designed wholeheartedly with Europe in mind. After all, Europeans do still buy estate cars in decent numbers, despite the SUV onslaught.

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      • New Genesis G70 2021 review

      The G70 Shooting Brake has a fairly broad church of rivals. There are the traditional premium estates in the form of the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class Estate, but potential buyers will probably consider the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake and smaller Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake, too.

      Really, though, if you’re looking at a Genesis you’re likely to be making a deliberate choice not to buy German like everyone else. And we reckon the G70 Shooting Brake’s design should certainly win some fans.

      Based as it is on the G70 saloon, all is familiar visually until you get past the rear doors, where the roofline takes a gentler curve downwards to meet a neat ‘floating’ rear spoiler above a shrunken estate-style bootlid. It’s certainly distinctive and turned many heads during our drive. it’s a match for the Arteon and CLA in the style stakes, and is more visually arresting than full-fat estate rivals.

      Unsurprisingly, it’s more practical as a result. Despite sharing the same external footprint as the saloon, the Shooting Brake’s boot is 40 per cent larger. But, given the saloon offers up a frankly pitiful 330 litres of space (that’s 60 litres less than the Renault Clio), that’s hardly a great achievement. Indeed, the 465 litres that results is still down on most rivals – even the hatchback-based CLA.

      What’s more, the elegant tailgate design results in a narrow boot opening and a high load lip, making loading larger items a bit of a faff. Still, at least you can fold the rear seats in a 40/20/40 split via easy boot-mounted levers. The bootlid release is also neatly integrated into the rear wiper so it doesn’t mess up the G70’s smooth lines. Another cool touch is a pair of LED reversing lights that project a direct beam onto the road below, warning others of your intentions.

      The rest of the cabin is shared with the G70 saloon, which means it’s a tactile, extremely comfortable and quality-feeling place to sit, particularly in the higher-end Sport or Luxury Line trims with plenty of quilted leather and knurled switchgear. It is, however, an older Genesis model (launched four years ago, albeit heavily facelifted since) so the design is a bit dated in places when compared to the impressive cabins of the brand’s newer cars. It also lacks the wow factor of cars such as the latest Mercedes C-Class. And, while the physical climate control dials are a doddle to use, the touchscreen-only infotainment system is only okay; Genesis’ newer systems are less laggy and have the option of a BMW-style rotary controller.

      More disappointing is the G70 Shooting Brake’s rear-seat space, which is seemingly no better than in the saloon. Kneeroom in general isn’t too bad, although far from generous, but it’s the low-mounted front seats that cause the biggest issue, preventing you from sliding your feet under them and – when combined with a high floor – leaving you with raised legs and a shortage of under-thigh support. A slight cut-out in the roof makes headroom acceptable, but six-footers will find their heads brushing the headlining. The G70 shares its platform with the Kia Stinger, which also suffers similar issues. Most rivals are better in this respect.

      The driving experience is more competitive than the cabin, however. The only fundamental difference between the Shooting Brake and the saloon is an extra 40kg or so, which you’d be very hard pressed to notice on a 1700kg+ car. That means it retains the same direct steering, keen turn-in and balanced chassis, although the grip levels of our test car were boosted by it being four-wheel drive, something that won’t be offered in the UK for the time being.

      Ride quality was generally pretty good, even on the largest 19-inch wheels of our test model, while refinement is strong. It stops short of offering the complete dynamic experience of, say, a BMW 3 Series Touring, but is competitive enough when compared to the general class standard. Or, rather, it would be with a better choice of engines.

      Only two are offered at the G70 Shooting Brake’s launch, and both are four cylinders. We tried the 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel first, which offers respectable performance but only adequate refinement and efficiency, but Genesis expects the 241bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol to grab the lion’s share of sales.

      It certainly sounds better than the somewhat gruff diesel, with a synthesised note mimicking a V8 (that can be turned off if you prefer a more muted soundtrack). It feels more urgent, too, but only slightly; indeed, it’s down on power and torque when compared to a 330i, so is never truly sparkling despite a strong-looking 0-60mph time aided by launch control. The eight-speed auto, too, is smooth but not stand-out in its responses, sometimes refusing to select a lower gear when prompted to by the wheel-mounted paddles. Efficiency isn’t amazing either; we managed a disappointing 28mpg on our mixed test route.

      Even more disappointing is that Genesis bosses have confirmed that the UK will not be taking the flagship 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 offered in other markets. The same engine is offered in the Kia Stinger here, and we reckon it would inject some much-needed fizz into the G70’s range.

      Price-wise, the G70 Shooting Brake demands an additional £1,850 over the saloon, spec-for-spec. That seems like a reasonable figure given the injection of style and practicality it brings, while competitive pricing combines with Genesis’ main USP: a more bespoke ownership experience with an on-call personal assistant and home delivery and collection replacing the usual dealership experience. Time will tell if the brand can make an impact in the highly competitive premium sectors, however.

      Model: Genesis G70 Shooting Brake 2.0T Sport Line
      Price:  £41,430
      Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl petrol turbo
      Power/torque:  241bhp/353Nm
      Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
      0-60mph: 6.4 seconds
      Top speed: 146mph
      Economy/CO2: 33.1mpg/191g/km
      On sale: Now

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