You’re probably aware of Genesis by now. They’re a progressive rock band from Surrey, fronted by Phil Collins. Oh, and an upmarket Korean car brand. With apologies to fans of double-neck guitars and 23-minute songs, we’ll stick to the four-wheeled version here.
Genesis has been a major player in the US since 2016 and, despite hailing from South Korea – as part of the sprawling Hyundai Motor Group – its cars have a laid-back, American feel.
The G70 Shooting Brake, however, is the first Genesis designed specifically for Europe. Available to buy online now (we’ll come back to that), it costs from £35,250.
Estate of the art
Traditionally, a shooting brake was a sporty-looking, three-door estate car: think Ferrari FF, Reliant Scimitar GTE or, depending on how nerdy you are, Lynx Eventer. In recent years, though, the term has evolved to mean any estate that sacrifices a little space for style.
At 465 litres, the G70 Shooting Brake has a notably bigger boot than its 330-litre saloon sibling, but a swoopy rear end does limit its ability to carry mountain bikes or a Billy bookcase.
Still, who cares when the result looks this good? Most Genesis cars and SUVs resemble shrunken Bentleys (no bad thing, admittedly), while the Shooting Brake has an identity all its own.
In profile, it has elements of coupe and even hot hatchback, including curvaceous glass, fulsome wheelarches and a jutting rear spoiler. Rival estates such as the Audi A4 Avant look staid by comparison.
Up close and personal
The Shooting Brake might be boxfresh, but the G70 saloon has been sold in other markets since 2017. Its cabin thus does without the sculpted design and widescreen infotainment of newer Genesis models, including the GV70 SUV I tested in October.
Rear-seat space can’t match the GV70 either; adults and taller teens may feel distinctly cramped. On the plus side, there’s all the tech you’d rightly expect, quality is excellent and Genesis has fared brilliantly in US reliability surveys.
In terms of engines, Shooting Brake buyers can opt for a 200hp 2.0-litre diesel or a 2.0 turbo petrol with either 197hp or 245hp. All versions drive the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are no hybrid or electric options at present – nor can you choose the fruity 368hp V6 from the closely related Kia Stinger. A shame.
A split personality
I drove the 245hp petrol flagship, which sprints to 62mph in swift 6.9 seconds and starts from £40,700. It’s a car with a split personality: cosseting and quiet in Comfort mode, or firmer and more frenetic when you switch to Sport.
The latter mode is ultimately less convincing, with a slightly scrappy, old-school feel that’s fun in small doses, but gets wearing after a while. A BMW 3 Series Touring is a better driver’s car.
Better to slow down and enjoy the pliant ride, smooth transmission and supportive seats. The Genesis makes light work of long journeys, or indeed the daily commute.
There’s another reason to slow down, too: this thirsty engine only returns around 30 miles per gallon. The diesel musters around 10mpg more.
The G70 Shooting Brake is a mixed bag, then. A great looker with a dated interior. A practical estate that lacks passenger space. And a sporty performer that prefers to take it easy.
Above all, it may appeal to those who simply want something different, instead of the premium German norm.
With fixed prices, no physical dealers and every customer assigned their own dedicated ‘personal assistant’, the whole Genesis mindset is refreshingly different, too.
Tim Pitt writes for Motoring Research
PRICE: £40,700 (£50,020 as tested)
TOP SPEED: 146mph
FUEL ECONOMY: 29.5-30.2mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 212-217g/km