Behind the Wheel

2020 Genesis G70 Review: Worthy competitor to existing luxe-mobiles from Germany, Japan

The Genesis G70 has not received any major updates for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

When catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while — usually because of COVID-related lockdowns and such — the conversation inevitably comes around to: "What have you been doing to keep busy?"

In my case, it basically sums up to writing, playing Xbox with friends (which is a solid way to keep human interaction going when stuck at home), venturing out to Costco for essential supplies, and making turkey sandwiches.

I also spend quite a lot of time behind the wheel of cars. Taking a solitary drive to nowhere in particular is a fun thing to do in normal times, but I've been driving to nowhere more than usual over the past few months both to review my test cars and for the positive mental health aspects of getting some fresh air.

2020 Genesis G70 The G70 features a sporty back end.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

I have friends who are mildly horrified to find themselves whispering "I even miss my commute." I totally get this, particularly since I work from home. A commute is a time for solitude — you get some time away from both the family and your work. It's a time for you to just focus on driving, or listening to your podcast, or Taylor Swift or whatever.

Nothing makes you appreciate stop-and-go traffic more than not having to sit in it anymore. And it's both those drives-to-nowhere and the stop-and-go traffic that makes me particularly appreciate my test car this week: the 2020 Genesis G70.

Genesis is Hyundai's new(ish) luxury brand, competing with Lexus and BMW and Mercedes and the like. The G70 is a compact sports sedan, going up against the 3 Series, C-Class, IS, and A4 — and it does a terrific job of it.

My tester was fully-loaded with the 3.3T Sport Package, which means it sported a 365-horsepower and 376 lb-ft 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. Which means it's fast. And then Genesis loaded it up with a sporty suspension, limited-slip diff, Brembo brakes, all-wheel drive, and a bunch of other stuff to make it go fast and handle well. It worked, too.

A six-speed manual transmission is available on the G70 but Genesis saw fit to lend me one that had a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Genesis G70 The interior of the G70 is sleek and well-appointed. Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Inside was the same story. There were gorgeous quilted leather seats, a terrific heads-up display, Hyundai's phenomenal adaptive cruise system with lane-keeping, a great stereo, and a bunch of other stuff like a suede headliner which is unnecessary but still kind of fun.

Don't get me wrong, any car that prices out at $51,275 is going to be nice and chockablock full of features. But the Genesis G70 seems just a little bit better in that department. Perhaps it's because it comes with the same terrific warranty that Hyundai offers on all its cars: a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, plus 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.

Or maybe it's the Genesis Concierge service that — even before COVID — let you set up at-home test drives and delivery of your new car to your house (because we all know how much fun dealerships can be).

I do have a couple G70 nitpicks though. If you look on the front grille, which is the centerpiece of a rather excellent front end, there's a largeish plastic rectangle in the center. This is where the radar for the adaptive cruise control sits, and it causes a bit of a jarring effect to the overall look of the car. It doesn't quite fit right, and I wish there was a better way. As we get cleverer and more complex safety systems, hiding these sensors will be an increasing challenge. I imagine Genesis will get better at this as well.

2020 Genesis G70 Genesis has given the model the features and drive experience sports sedan buyers are looking for.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Finally, there's the Genesis badge itself. It just doesn't have the presence that this car — which in all other respects is a worthy competitor to the existing luxe-mobiles from Germany and Japan — deserves. The blue-and-white BMW logo or the four-rings of Audi or the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz... they're all instantly recognizable and totally distinctive.

The winged Genesis logo looks to me a bit like a Bentley knock-off, a badge not worthy of the stellar vehicle it's attached to. And in this market, brand cachet counts for a lot. But if the worst thing I can say about a car is that I don't like the badge? That's a pretty big compliment in itself.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 MINI Cooper 1499 GT Special Edition is a throwback to a 1969 MINI.

Photo courtesy of MINI

The MINI 1499 GT Special Edition pays tribute to the iconic 1275 GT from 1969 while the MINI Countryman Oxford edition offers unique value proposition. The two models are new for the 2021 model year.

2021 MINI Cooper 1499 GT Special Edition

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI has given the 1499 GT a Midnight Black Metallic exterior complete with gold 1499 GT side stripes. There's a Piano Black grille frame, door handles, and headlight rings, which surround LED headlights. There are Piano Black taillight rinks and Union Jack taillights.

The addition of the MINI John Cooper Works (JCW) styling package adds JCW front and rear bumpers, side skirts, split level spoiler, and door entry plates. The MINI 1499 GT rids on 17-innch Track Spoke Black wheels wrapped in all-season tires.

Under the hood, the model has a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that delivers 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The car can get from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph. A six-speed manual transmission is standard while a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available.

MINI refines the interior with more JCW accents including Sports seats in Carbon Black Dinamica/Cloth, a JCW steering wheel in perforated leather with Chili Red stitching and multi-function controls, along with Piano Black finishing throughout the interior with an Anthracite Headliner. The list of standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6.5-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation, MINI Assist eCall, remote services, Apple CarPlay, and a digital instrument cluster.

The MINI 1499 GT will be offered with a starting MSRP of $27,040 plus an additional $850 destination and handling fee.

MINI Countryman Oxford Edition

MINI's small SUV, the Countryman, is getting a budget-friendly version that available with front- and all-wheel drive. It comes with the standard equipment list of the Classic Trim, which includes leatherette upholstery, an 8.8-inch display with Bluetooth, rear camera, rear park distance control, seven-speed dual clutch transmission, and a panoramic sunroof. The Countryman Oxford Edition also has LED headlights and fog lights and Union Jack LED taillights.

MINI has given the model standard 18-inch wheels (Silver of Black) that are wrapped with run-flat tires, an anthracite headliner, heated front seats, automatic climate control, and a choice of six exterior colors, including metallic paint options. Those options include British Racing Green IV metallic, Midnight Black metallic, White Silver metallic, Moonwalk Grey metallic, Chili Red, or Island Blue metallic. Exterior options also include body color roof and mirrors, or choice of a contrast white or black roof and mirror combination.

The staring MSRP for the 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman Oxford Edition is $26,500 and the 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4 Oxford Edition is $28,500, plus an additional $850 destination and handling charge. This means the MINI Countryman Oxford Edition is specially configured with $5,600 worth of optional equipment as standard at no additional cost.

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Ford has launched its new Bronco configuration tool.

Photo by AutomotiveMap with screen image courtesy of Ford Motor Company
How would you build it? Now you can find out. The new 2021 Ford Bronco build-and-price configurator is live on the Ford website giving buyers the opportunity to customize their pick without having to commit to a deposit or trip to the dealership. Ford has received over 190,000 reservations for the Bronco to date.
It's also a great way to kill some time between Zooms.

"The color and material offerings of the all-new Bronco and Bronco Sport are genuine and trusted, and establish a visceral connection between nature and the authenticity of this new family of rugged SUVs," said Missy Coolsaet, Bronco color and materials designer. "They motivate our customers to return to the wilderness and challenge themselves – and Bronco takes them there in a carefree, spontaneous way."

2021 Ford Bronco configurator options

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The configurator works in a traditional sense, asking users to first enter their ZIP code then taking them to a menu where they choose a trim level. Ford offers the Bronco in seven trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition.

Buyers are then asked to choose a two- or four-door model. The 2021 Bronco is available in a wide variety of colors, including some with deep Ford heritage, and wheel varieties.

Powertrains components are trim level-dependent and some paint and wheel color combinations are not compatible with the seven-speed manual transmission or the Sasquatch Package.

All-terrain, mud, or all-season tires are either standard or available depending on trim level and wheel choice.

Buyers can check options boxes for a hard top, sound-deadening headliner, roof rails with crossbar, splash guards, an upgraded bash plate, paint protection film, brush guard, keyless entry keypad, wireless charging pad, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, a 12.0-inch infotainment touch screen, 10-speaker B&O sound system, and LED headlights, depending on trim level. Higher Bronco grades get much of these features as standard.

Cloth, vinyl, or leather-trimmed seats are available. An Ebony black or Medium Sandstone interior are the only options, but Medium Sandstone is not available in all trim levels.

A variety of equipment groups and packages are available as well, including a graphics package that will put the profile of rolling hills on the lower quarter of your Bronco's door panels.

Check out the configurator now at Ford.com/Bronco.

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