The G70 Shooting Brake might not have the immense practicality of rival wagons but can stunning good looks and RWD dynamics still make it worth considering?
The Genesis G70 was one of the first vehicles sold under the budding luxury car brand out of Korea, first launching in Australia in 2018, and it essentially had one job: get people excited.
It succeeded. The G70 had people talking about the brand, and even if that didn’t always translate into booming sales, slow yet steady growth is a big achievement in a country like Australia, where buying behaviour and perhaps a bit of badge snobbery is entrenched.
The midsize sedan followed the larger G80 four-door before landing a one-two with its SUV range consisting of the GV70 and GV80 mid- and large-size SUVs, followed by a variety of electric model variants as well as the all-electric GV60 that silently rolled into its showrooms to set the theme for the future.
But it’s been six years since the humble G70 arrived and despite undergoing a deep facelift in late 2021 and with another, far milder makeover planned later this year, this sensible sedan range has remained quite familiar.
Perhaps sensing the G70 had been a bit neglected, Genesis decided to introduce a ‘Shooting Brake’ wagon variant following the update in late 2021, with the long-roof option focused on the European market where such body styles are still highly sought after.
The name itself is a bit divisive as, traditionally, the term ‘shooting brake’ applies to what is essentially a two-door station wagon and the math whizzes among you will note that this has four.
But Genesis is hardly alone in this naming strategy, the G70’s close rival in the Volkswagen Arteon 206TSI R-Line ($74,390) adorned with the name. Other rivals, priced a far shout more upmarket, include the BMW 330i Touring ($98,700) and Audi A4 45 TFSI Avant Quattro ($80,369).
Priced from $76,727 before on-road costs – a decrease over its $79,000 sticker price at launch – the G70 Shooting Brake appears like good value in this company. But is it?
Genesis has equipped the G70 with a strong list of features as standard and this is taken further with the Shooting Brake, which incorporates the sedan’s Luxury and Sport Line packages as standard.
Some of the highlight features include:
Missing from this list of inclusions is the literal kitchen sink.
It’s clear Genesis wants the G70 Shooting Brake to catch buyers’ attention and its value pitch is a strong draw card, no matter which way you slice it.
As one of the oldest vehicles in the Genesis lineup, the G70 presents an altogether more familiar driving experience, but that’s no bad thing.
Engine at the front, smooth eight-speed automatic in the middle and power sent to the rear wheels only, it’s a classic recipe that works well for a reason.
An unfortunate bi-product of the G70 Shooting Braking being such a Europe-targeted vehicle, where emissions regulations are very tight, is that the 274kW/510Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 that provides so much personality and performance in the sedan is not available here. And that’s a real shame.
In its place is the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, which puts out a punchy but still rather unmotivated 179kW and 353Nm outputs. Essentially, it’s a longitudinal variant of the crackle-and-pop heart found in the Hyundai i30 N hot hatch and sedan.
The incoming Korean market facelift has seen this motor replaced with the 2.5-litre unit found in the GV70 and GV80, providing significantly increased outputs of 224kW/422Nm. However, it’s unlikely we’ll see this in Australia.
Why? Well, one clue is the fact that Kia Australia ruled out the swap for the Stinger (which shares a platform with the G70) from the 2.0- to 2.5-litre for Australia back in 2022. And engineering this engine for RHD solely for the ageing G70 model perhaps proved too costly.
It’s a shame really because although the 2.0-litre engine is punchy enough, it’s nothing all that close to being fast.
Is it fun? Yes, it can be. But you have to go looking for it deep in the throttle pedal, there is no accidental tyre-chirping behaviour when exiting roundabouts, thanks to the fairly substantial lag from the turbocharger.
Hilariously, the synthesised noise played in the cabin to enhance the four-banger sounds an awful lot like a V8. Which I both love and hate on principle.
Genesis has engineered the G70 to understeer upon the initial turn in and while it’s a safe bet for most drivers, it makes the car less engaging than it could be.
The initial hesitation to bite the bitumen combined with the lag in power actually makes the G70 surprisingly snappy, as once the front is engaged and the power rushes to the rear, this wagon is suddenly very rotatable indeed.
It’s a notable contrast to my previous experience in the sedan, where the grunty twin-turbo V6 revealed a car that felt up on its toes, yet still quite controllable, at all but the slowest speeds.
The Shooting Brakes’ rear-biased dynamics could still be seen as a key advantage over something such as a Passat or Arteon with FWD-biased AWD – though each handles great in its own right – but the implementation could be improved.
The G70 wears a fairly serious set of Brembo brakes front and rear but somehow I was still left wanting for more stopping power.
This to me was odd as the 19-inch wheels are wrapped in Pilot Sport 4 tyres (measuring 225mm front and 255mm rear), which I’ve seen great performance from in the past.
Thankfully the G70 Shooting Brake is more agreeable when performing those crucial everyday duties, the suspension offering a compliant ride over harsh city streets, abrupt speed bumps and poorly laid highways.
The midsize proportions of the G70 also make for a more nimble vehicle than big-bodied sedans and the visibility is actually quite good out of the back windows and boot area. This came as a shock to me as the back end looks to have about as much rearward visibility as an igloo.
The G70’s deep facelift in 2021 really modernised this space, adding features that are now non-negotiable such as a large touchscreen and digital driver’s display, but the space as a whole remains user-friendly and hasn’t abandoned physical controls just yet.
Genesis has fitted the G70 Shooting Brake as standard with the Sport Line and Luxury packs optional on the sedan, meaning that quilted nappa leather seat material and lovely extras such as aluminium trim inserts are mixed in from the get-go.
The seats themselves are quite comfortable, featuring a high degree of adjustability for the front occupants including lumbar support along with seat heating and cooling, with heating for those in the rear.
The 10.25-inch screen tasked with multimedia duties is fairly bright and equipped with some intuitive software, but the fact that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto remain wired when all of its key rivals have long since ditched the cord is a small but definitive annoyance.
Thankfully that does look to be changing soon, however, with the wider Hyundai Motor Group – and more specifically Hyundai and Kia – already confirming the change for new Australian models, with Genesis likely to follow suit in time.
The G70 sets out to impress with its material quality with lovely soft-touch surfaces everywhere. It’s also screwed together quite well, though some of the climate control buttons look dated and lack the solid ‘clunk’ of a quality item.
It seems Genesis agrees, with the marque opting to ditch much of these buttons in favour of integrating them into the touch screen. A solution, but perhaps not the one button lovers were looking for.
The 15-speaker Infinity sound system is a well-rounded option for this model, providing a pleasant balance for my podcasts and music but it’s nothing groundbreaking.
Getting into the back seat isn’t as easy as your traditional SUV but once seated in the back the cabin space opens up for the passengers with nice under-thigh support in the seat base.
To see if the G70 Shooting Brakes qualified for the highly sought-after ‘cool dad wagon status’ we fit both a rearwards-facing bassinet-style baby seat and a front-facing child seat.
The former was a bit tight and slightly encroached on the front passenger room, while the curved low roofline made it quite hard to actually get my baby in place.
However, the forward-facing child seat was much more suitable so those with slightly older kids should be just fine.
Take a quick look at the G70 Shooting Brake and you would be forgiven for thinking the boot is actually bigger than it is thanks to a very large whale-tail spoiler on the rear.
In saying that, the 465L boot is a pretty significant 40 percent increase over the sedan and this does make the G70 far more useful for families who might ordinarily look to an SUV, though the GV70 medium SUV packs substantially more space at 542L.
During a trip up the coast with my family, we were able to fit a pram and three medium-size softbags in the boot without obstructing the rear vision.
Similar to our previous Citroen C5 X long-termer, the sloping angle of the boot lid means you are restricted in the sort of cargo you can carry with large and tall boxes unlikely to fit in easily. For the curious, the additional pouches seen here are the first aid and road-side assistance kit in case you break down and can be stowed elsewhere.
Hopefully the next generation of the G70, if it does come to be, will be designed with a wagon variant in mind to maximise space as this adapted form factor does feel overly compromised.
Genesis has been pretty keen to tick all the fundamental boxes to build up its reputation and a big one – if often taken for granted – is safety.
As the oldest vehicle in the lineup, the G70 carries a rating that dates back to the ye-olde days of 2018, at a time when the testing protocols frankly weren’t as strict as they are today; though it still performed well at the time, particularly in regards to keeping the kids safe from exterior harm.
There is also a decent chance the G70 would perform well if retested today, with Genesis going to the trouble of fitting modern innovations such as a front-centre airbag to minimise injury risk between the front two passengers in a side-on collision.
In action, the G70’s driver assistance technologies were a welcome aid in chaotic east-coast traffic where the adaptive cruise control proved well tuned, even if the lane keep assistance nibbled at the wheel and guided me in a bizarre direction a few too many times for my liking.
I’ve mentioned previously I was pleasantly surprised by the visibility inside the cabin, and I don’t think the significance of that should be underestimated. After all, what’s more safe than an accident you could see coming, and perhaps prevent?
Aiding this is Genesis’ fantastic blind-spot view monitor – which projects a live feed of your blind spot into the digital gauge cluster – to keep an eye on your fellow motorists when changing lanes.
Also welcome are the either-side curb-view cameras in addition to the 360-degree view monitor to help minimise any bingles at low speeds.
If you’ve already laid down the cash on a new Genesis then congratulations as you’ve already paid a good chunk off the running costs – at least for the next five years and 50,000km.
Servicing intervals are cut into every 12 months or 10,000km and, if you live within 70km of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane CBD, Genesis will actually drive a free loan car out to your location of choice, take your car away and then return it once it’s serviced.
The new vehicle warranty is the same as any new Genesis: five years and unlimited kilometres, with roadside assistance also thrown in for that length of time.
Fuel usage was rather frugal considering its size, using 10.3L/100km in our week of testing, a touch more than the 9.1L/100km combined average officially shared by Genesis.
Out on the highway with speeds largely north of 100km/h, the G70 Shooting Brake still returned 6.6L/100km despite being packed full. So there are some upsides to that four-pot.
Stunning at a standstill and poised and confident in the daily commute, the G70 Shooting Brake ticks some important boxes for a premium wagon. But it doesn’t quite tick them all.
The absence of a more powerful engine – of any kind, V6 or otherwise – exposes a distinct lack of pace in a passenger car that looks like it’s designed to go fast, and has proven to be quite adept at pace in sedan form.
An interior spruce-up is due later this year and while that’s great to see, the cabin space is already quite luxurious and the 2.5L powerplant upgrade seen in Korea would be a much better addition to this model.
A 40 percent increase in the boot capacity over the sedan is reason enough to consider the G70 Shooting Brake over the sedan, but it didn’t take long to find its limitations and the GV70 is simply the more practical – and quicker – option.
Perhaps for the G70 Shooting Brake to truly live up to its potential we’ll have to wait for a fully electric successor, built on a dedicated EV chassis just like the highly praised Ioniq 6 sedan from sibling brand Hyundai.
But with the waning popularity of sedans and wagons alike, we can only hope the numbers stack up convincingly enough for it to be willed into production.
The fast and lithe Genesis G70 has been facelifted to align with this Korean luxury brand’s new image. For the most part, the G70 convinces.
Key specs (as tested)
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