Several years back Genesis separated, in a brick and mortar way, from parent company Hyundai, in hopes of re-marketing itself as a performance sedan, ala Nissan/Infiniti and Honda/Acura.

It is too early to tell if the separation is going to bear fruit but its two-year-old G70 is a step in the right direction.

The base G70 includes a manual six-speed gearbox that tips the fun scale. It’s one of the few remaining manuals out there for the pure enthusiasts that prefer all out control.

Pros:

Attractive styling

Great warranty

Good tech assortment

Cons:

Turbo four lacking

Tiny back seat

Lacks cargo space

The G70 is available in three trim levels and two engine choices; base 2.0-liter turbo ($36,500); Sport 2.0-liter turbo manual transmission ($39,500) and 3.3-liter V6 twin turbo ($45,650).

The rear-wheel-drive models can be equipped with all-wheel-drive except for our test car, the G70 Sport with manual transmission. The others are tied with an excellent eight-speed transmission that is quicker than the manual thanks to electronic speed shifting.

A walkaround reveals European-inspired quarter panels with contemporary door handles and a large netted grille sharing a Lincoln look.

Nineteen-inch alloys add a sportiness along with upgraded Brembo brakes with high performance pads.

The South Korean automaker points to Audi and BMW as key rivals for its high-end models’ G80 and 90 and to a lesser degree with the G70 although its price to value ratio is high.

We were impressed with the interior appointments although the steering wheel controls are tiny. Leatherette (like leather) front seats are comfortable and the driver has a 16-way adjustable bucket seat while the passenger has half that. Both are heated and ventilated.

Back seat passengers do not enjoy the same comfort however with cramped legroom.

Aluminum trim panels are good-looking, and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel adjusts to give the driver a clear shot at instrument panel readings.

While high end Genesis models tuck the infotainment display screen into the dashboard, the G70 does not and the result is a stick on and out screen that cheapens an otherwise stylish cabin.

Easy to reach adjustable drive mode switches are located to the left of the gear shift handle and allow the driver to select between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Custom settings. We did not notice much difference between them.

Shifts were easy to accomplish with a forgiving clutch pedal. There was a hesitation off the line to catch up to engine rev speed and turbo lag but other than that moving through the gears was effortless but humdrum with the small engine output.

To fix the latter, you can order the twin turbo V6 with launch control for that exhilarating feel throughout the gears.

There is a good amount of tech equipment standard on the G70 and we think this is a big plus for the mid-priced Sport sedan. A forward collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection, blind spot collision and rear cross traffic warnings, lane keeping assist and driver attention warning all make great sense.

What was reviewed: 2020 Genesis G70 Sport

Engine: 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, 255 horsepower

EPA rated mileage: 18 city, 28 highway, 22 combined

Assembled: Ulsan, Korea. U.S. / Canadian parts content, 5 percent; major source of foreign parts content, Korea, 85 percent; country of origin, engine and transmission, Korea.

Crash test ratings: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Genesis G70 as a Top Safety Pick and gave the Genesis a ‘Good” rating, its best, for moderate and small overlap frontal offset, side impact, rollover protection and a “Good” rating for seatbelts and head restraint for their whiplash protection in a rear crash, also Superior and Advanced rating respectively in front crash protection vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to pedestrian. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had not rated the Genesis G70 as of this writing.

Warranty: 5 year/60,000-mile bumper to bumper; 10 year/100,000-mile powertrain; 3 year/36,000 complimentary maintenance.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at lenscar

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