SUV Comparison: 2021 Audi SQ5 vs 2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T Sport Plus
Can the new compact crossover from Genesis unseat the reigning luxury sales champ from Audi?
Peter Bleakney: Not only is the Audi Q5 the best-selling premium compact SUV in Canada, it also wears the crown of best-selling luxury vehicle , period. In fact, this boxy crossover has pushed Audi to the top of the luxury mountain, eclipsing Mercedes-Benz as Canada’s top premium brand . Who would have thought this somewhat staid but practical crossover would gain those bragging rights? Ah, but those at the top can never rest easy, and here we pit the Audi against the fresh-off-the-boat 2022 Genesis GV70. Both are wearing their most sporting duds — the Audi in SQ5 guise packing an eager 349-horsepower, 369 lb-ft single-turbo 3.0L V6, and the GV70 in top Sport Plus trim brandishing 375 horsepower and 391 lb-ft from a 3.5L twin -turbo V6. Both have AWD, an eight-speed auto, and the Audi SQ5’s as-tested price of $74,640 is within spitting distance of the Genesis’ all-in $75,500 tab.
A decade ago, Genesis wasn’t much of a threat to the luxury establishment, nipping away at the ramparts with nice, but not-quite-there efforts that traded mostly on good value. My, how things have changed. The GV70 is arguably the most important vehicle for Genesis, as the premium compact SUV segment is red hot, and while it might be late to the party, this overachieving GV70 enters with enough ammo to put Scarface on alert. Genesis is blurting “Say hello to my little friend!” and the competition might want to duck and cover.
Jonathan, am I overdoing it here, being blinded by the Genesis’ fetching skin and stellar interior?
However, people don’t buy sales charts, they buy cars, and they certainly buy a lot of compact crossovers. The breed in general provides a happy medium of practicality, value and comfort for small families or commuters, and consumers are beyond spoiled for choice in this segment, with an abundance of models and a parade of the latest features and tech from both mainstream and luxury brands. While the base engines are almost always the more popular choice because of price, these top trims are the most desirable, with the full suite of features and that extra firepower that help a car feel a little more prestigious when you put the foot down.
When going by driving feel, the Genesis GV70’s twin-turbo torque makes it feel more luxurious and effortless as it ramps up speed, where the Audi is full of anger and fury, thanks in no small part to the optional sport exhaust. It did make me think at the time we were driving them back to back that the Genesis was outright quicker, but both take a similar five seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill.
PB : Yeah, there is a distinct difference in the way these two go down the road. The Audi is definitely the more athletic with its rorty, eager engine and tight body control. It is an “S” model after all, and it wears its sporty mojo with pride. The GV70 is fast for sure, but it likes the cruise better than clipping the apexes. In sport mode, the Genesis’ suspension stiffens, steering firms up and shift points sharpen — but to me it feels like it’s doing this out of protest. It’s happier coddling its occupants in sybaritic wonderfulness, which it does exceptionally well.
You have to admit the Genesis’ artful interior, swathed in creamy leather and awash in exquisite detailing puts the SQ5’s dark, austere cabin on the trailer. And when did we ever say that about an Audi interior? The fact is, the SQ5 shows some cheap plastic in the lower reaches, suggesting a bit of cost-cutting. Genesis goes the other route, giving us Bentley-esque appointments. And as good as the Audi front chairs are, the Genesis are better — and they are ventilated, a feature omitted on our Audi.
The GV70’s infotainment system comes off as being the more slick and modern, featuring a wide dashtop screen, pin-sharp graphics and an easy-to-use rotary controller with push and swipe functions. I love the default screen that features an artistic rendering of the current weather to the left and navi screen on the right, and I have to give the nod to the GV70’s stellar Lexicon audio too, although by a slim margin as the Audi’s Harman Kardon is very good.