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Design | Comfort | Technology | Performance | Safety | Fuel Economy | Price | Verdict

No one can argue that Genesis has had a major glow-up since the luxury brand debuted in 2017, and its ever-improving portfolio now includes SUVs to go along with an excellent lineup of sedans. The entry-level model is the much-anticipated 2022 GV70, a small crossover that promises excellent driving dynamics courtesy of its rear-drive bones and boisterous turbocharged engines – our tester sported a 2.5-liter inline-four.

But remember, 30 years before Genesis, there was another luxury upstart in town. Lexus has made good use of those intervening years, and the 2022 NX 350 is a perfect example. Featuring smoother styling and a hugely improved tech suite relative to its predecessor, the redesigned NX 350 also gets a turbocharged inline-four, making it a compelling foil to the South Korean. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that lots of well-heeled customers will narrow down their shopping lists to these two rivals. Does the Lexus NX have the benefits of experience on its side? Or will the upstart Genesis brand press home its advantage on the avant-garde GV70?


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Design

Genesis: When the larger GV80 SUV debuted in 2020, we wondered if the brand’s new design language, headlined by equals-sign exterior lighting and a big shield grille, would be distinguished enough to win over luxury shoppers. We were wrong to doubt the brand, as each product since then has been prettier, more attractive, and more distinctly “Genesis.” The GV70 takes things even further, keeping the best of its siblings’ design while adding a heaping helping of unusual styling to set itself apart from the class.

Beyond the signature hash-mark headlights and “G-matrix” mesh grille design, the front end gets a softer appearance than other Genesis cars. The curved hood notches itself around the grille, and the lights have rounded edges. The brand’s sharp body surfacing is here too, but it’s not as horizontal as it is on the GV80, plunging over the rear wheel to make room for another crease on the hips. The small SUV also gets a much less formal roofline, with triangular quarter windows and an unusual piece of window trim. Adding to the weirdness is a pair of vertical exhaust outlets on the rear fascia.

These odd design touches enhance the GV70, however. The Genesis doesn’t conform to the traditional SUV shape, and the narrow greenhouse imparts some fastback style, even if the cabin itself is actually pretty spacious. The hood is beautifully composed, blending into the body surfacing to disguise the shutline, with wrap-over front fenders that look gaudy but very stylish. Somehow, the GV70’s proportions look almost retro, with a long hood and hunkered hindquarters that could come from a glamorous French coupe from the 1930s – yet in a modern SUV shape.

The news is nearly as good in the cabin as it is on the sheet metal. Unlike the rectilinear, midcentury design of the G80 and GV80, the GV70 gets ovoid accents on the door panels, climate control binnacle, and center armrest. Material choices are nearly infallible, with acres of soft-touch plastic and leather peppered throughout the cabin. The only major styling issue is the totally out-of-place jagged red line on the door armrests. Resembling the EKG of someone in heart failure, it also lights up at night. It’s all just weird for the sake of weirdness. Other models offer carbon fiber trim, thank goodness.

2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Lexus: You need to squint to see the changes Lexus made to the 2022 NX compared to its predecessor. Both share roughly the same form factor, though the new NX gets sharper, less fussy headlights bookending a big spindle grille that features a cool, tessellated mesh texture. The side profile is neater too, doing away with the old model’s creased rocker panels in favor of a subtle body line that swells over the rear fender. And the new, full-width taillight panel sports L-shaped outer elements to tie it in with vehicles like the new IS.

Current NX owners will be thrilled their SUV hasn’t changed too much on the outside, but the rest of us have complaints. Foremost, the new NX is still obviously front-drive–based, with a long overhang ahead of the wheels and a short dash-to-axle ratio. Proportions like these keep it from feeling as premium and special as the Genesis, which wears its long hood like a badge of honor. And the “LEXUS” wordmark on the rear hatch – replacing a less overt corporate logo – looks like it’s trying too hard to be a modern premium SUV.

Luckily, the NX’s new cabin is an unqualified success, design-wise. Materials are class-competitive, and Lexus drapes its segment-best tech suite (more on that later) over a shapely, flowing dashboard that feels modern and airy. The sliding gauge display is another neat design element, derived from the legendary LF-A supercar but repackaged for compact crossover duty (as well as the similarly priced IS sport sedan). The cabin isn’t quite as distinctive as that of the seemingly Frank Gehry–inspired LS and LC flagships, but it’s still nice to look at and touch.

Advantage: Genesis


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Comfort

Genesis: Despite its chop-top design, the Genesis GV70 has about as much front and rear headroom as the Lexus NX 350, as well as better legroom for all passengers. However, both of these SUVs offer plenty of space for four above-average adults, so we’re going to leave the numbers behind. Where the Genesis really struts its stuff is in seat comfort. Both front chairs offer enough adjustability to accommodate both taller and shorter folks, and the rear seats have good thigh and lumbar support. The trade-off is the GV70’s lower seating position, sacrificing the command view some SUV customers want.

The Genesis wins more points with a smooth, serene ride and excellent noise control. Thanks might go to the Advanced trim’s 19-inch wheels, which have plenty of tire sidewall to keep impacts at bay, but the suspension is also well-damped over bad pavement. The GV70 is comfortable to drive over long distances, easing sonic fatigue with acoustic laminated windshield and front door glass that keeps wind noise at bay.

2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Lexus: We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. As equipped, this NX 350’s F Sport bucket seats are far too aggressively bolstered. The seat bottom pinched our decidedly average rumps, so potential owners should try out the F Sport and see if it’s a good fit for them. The standard NX’s seating is much less bolstered, so those dissatisfied with the F Sport can go that route.

Like the Genesis, the NX’s cabin is well-padded and constructed from nice materials, though the Lexus goes for a mostly leather-free approach, with the only cow skins appearing on the steering wheel and shift knob. We don’t mind, because the NuLuxe faux-leather feels softer and more supple than even the GV70’s authentic hides. And the stitched dash is coated in the stuff too, imparting more of a premium feel than one would find in the Genesis we drove.

The NX can’t quite compete with the GV70 in overall ride and noise comfort, however. Bad pavement jostles the occupants around a little more, and there’s some unfortunate grittiness coming from the powertrain on full throttle.

Advantage: Genesis


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Technology

Genesis: A 14.1-inch widescreen display mounted high on the dash and well within the driver’s sightlines is the highlight of the Genesis GV70’s tech suite. The infotainment software is very good, as it is on all Genesis products, and there are a few neat features (like the ambient “Sounds of Nature” function) that help the GV70 stand out from competitors. We also appreciate that there’s a redundant rotary controller for the touchscreen, as the screen mounted a bit too far away for easy reach.

Overall, however, the Genesis feels a few steps behind other modern rivals. Although you can get a fully digital gauge display on the GV70 3.5T, our 2.5T tester wasn’t so equipped, instead mixing an 8.0-inch display for the tachometer and trip computer with a conventional analog speedometer. The display isn’t customizable enough either, so we’re a bit perplexed why Genesis didn’t just give the GV70 two analog gauges and a smaller driver information screen between them or just make a fully digital cluster standard.

Another issue is wired-only Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, compounded by a lack of modern USB-C charging and data ports – the GV70 is USB-A only. That’s going to be a bigger problem for Genesis as more of its customers trade up their smartphones, many of which only come with USB-C cords. Those folks will need to buy a new cable if they want to use their phones’ mirrored apps on the GV70.

2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Lexus: In one fell swoop, Lexus went from the back of the pack to the front insofar as onboard technology is concerned. Gone is the old car’s frustrating and dated Entune software, replaced for 2022 with a sleek new interface and a gorgeous, optional 14.0-inch touchscreen display that pans, pinches, and responds very intuitively. There isn’t a home button, keeping the available functions displayed in a column of tiles on the left side of the screen instead. The climate controls, a mix of physical and virtual buttons, take up permanent residence at the bottom of the display, leaving plenty of pixel space for full-screen map views.

Our tester’s wireless phone integration is another hit for the NX, instantly rendering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in big, easy-to-read clarity once you’ve paired your device to the car. Just jump in, put your phone on the wireless charger, and go. That kind of convenience might be enough to sway some buyers toward the Lexus, and it was certainly enough to convince us the NX 350 is the clear winner among these two.

Advantage: Lexus


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Performance

Genesis: Based on the same platform as the athletic G70 sedan, the GV70 carried some great expectations into our test. Luckily, a few hours on a winding road convinced us the small SUV deserved its birthright. Packing 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet courtesy of its 2.5-liter turbo four, the GV70 is snappy enough to have a little fun at each green light, and its standard, rear-biased all-wheel drive helps improve handling balance by vectoring torque to the outside wheels when going around corners.

If there’s a fly in the ointment, it’s the sometimes-recalcitrant transmission. The eight-speed automatic isn’t nearly as willing to downshift as we’d like, offering up fourth or fifth gear when the passing or merging maneuver would prefer second or third. The Genesis’ ever-so-slight turbo lag exacerbates the issue.

We have no qualms against the GV70’s well-damped suspension, however. Mid-corner bumps are a total non-issue in the SUV, which dispatches pavement imperfections with a muted, solid-feeling thump once reserved for German cars only. The steering – via an odd two-spoke wheel that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1971 Lincoln – is accurate if a bit numb, and the brakes are strong, sure, and consistent. While our 2.5T Advanced tester isn’t quite as athletic as the 3.5T Sport Prestige, the GV70 still wants to go dancing every once in a while.

2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Lexus: The 2.4-liter turbo four in the Lexus NX 350 makes a healthy 275 hp and 317 lb-ft, with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. When in Sport mode, the gearbox is more willing to downshift in the NX than in the GV70, and there seems to be a bit less turbo lag in the Japanese SUV as well. However, the Lexus just isn’t as much fun to drive despite the F Sport’s adaptive dampers.

Feeling simultaneously less supple and less controlled than the GV70, the NX is a bit too harsh for mixed pavement surfaces, and the front-biased all-wheel drive relents to understeer in really hard driving. The steering is also too light, sapping confidence when hooning down the road. Relax a bit and the NX becomes more fun, but it’s just not as adept at the two-lane tango as the Genesis. Most compact SUV buyers won’t notice much of a difference, but it’s still there nonetheless.

Advantage: Genesis


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Safety

Genesis: Every Genesis GV70 comes standard with automatic emergency braking; pedestrian, cyclist, and oncoming traffic detection; lane-keep assistance; and adaptive cruise control with navigation-linked Highway Driving Assist (HDA). To that comprehensive list of safety features, our Advanced tester adds blind spot monitoring with a lane-view camera and rear cross-traffic alert. Furthermore, everything works unobtrusively behind the wheel, keeping the GV70 well distanced from surrounding traffic without jerking the wheel around or accelerating and decelerating abruptly.

Those who demand even more logical driver assistance should consider the Sport Prestige trim level. That model’s Highway Driving Assist II feature takes into account adjacent vehicles’ lane positioning, keeping a larger buffer of space if other drivers start playing Pac-Man with the dotted lines.

2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Lexus: The Lexus NX comes standard with the automaker’s new Safety System+ 3.0 suite of technology, which includes everything on the Genesis save HDA. However, every NX comes standard with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, a notable benefit over the base GV70.

It must be said, however, that activating the Lexus’ driver-assistance features is a bit more difficult than it is in the Genesis, and once they’re online, the adaptive cruise control and lane-centering technology aren’t as smooth – though still not offensive. Still, since both vehicles offer essentially the same kit, have similar crash test ratings, and feature similarly attentive driver assistance, we’re calling this category square.

Advantage: Draw


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Fuel Economy

Both the Genesis and the Lexus achieve the same EPA city and highway ratings, at 22 and 28 miles per gallon respectively. Somehow, the Lexus ekes out 25 mpg combined, while the Genesis is saddled with 24 mpg.

Our time in the Genesis yielded observed fuel economy of 24.2 mpg as indicated on the trip computer. Meanwhile, the Lexus achieved 25.0 indicated mpg. We don’t think either will have a hard time meeting its EPA rating, especially if driven more gently than our hot-shoed tastes could allow.

Advantage: Lexus


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport
2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Price

Genesis: The 2022 Genesis GV70 (with standard all-wheel drive) starts at $42,595 including a $1,095 destination charge. The GV70 2.5T Advance starts at $50,745 with destination, to which our tester added a $500 coat of Barossa Burgundy paint for a total price of $51,245.

That seems like a great deal for the amount of technology, comfort, and performance on offer, with similar equipment and more power than the BMW X3 xDrive30i and Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4Matic at a lower price. That, however, leaves the GV70’s key rival in question.

Lexus: Those who don’t care as much for power can get a base, front-wheel-drive Lexus NX 250 for $39,025 including $1,075 destination; with all-wheel drive that number expands to $40,625. However, stepping into the NX 350’s turbo four and its attendant standard all-wheel drive is only two grand more at $42,625, and that model seems like a no-brainer starting point for the NX family, offering good power and control at a reasonable price.

The NX 350 F Sport starts at $47,725, and a model equipped similarly to our pre-production tester would cost $54,040 – big-ticket items include a $1,600 panoramic moonroof and a $2,200 luxury package with the huge touchscreen display, ventilated seats, driver and front passenger seat memory, and more. Again, we think the smart money is in the standard NX 350, which ditches the F Sport’s aggressive seat bolsters and likely performs just as well in most daily driving activities.

As equipped, however, the value argument is evident.

Advantage: Genesis


2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport

Verdict

By the numbers, the Genesis won four categories and lost two, with one a draw. However, it wasn’t as much a runaway as one might think by looking at the scoreboard. The Lexus’ massive tech victory nearly compensates for its incremental losses in design and value, especially considering there are less expensive NX 350s out there with the same brilliant infotainment system and even more comfortable seats. And if we were judging the entire NX lineup against that of the GV70, this story might be different.

After all, the 2022 Lexus NX comes in several different variants, including an efficient conventional hybrid, a cheap naturally aspirated four-cylinder, and a powerful and eco-friendly plug-in. Meanwhile, until the electric GV70 arrives sometime in the future, Genesis forces its owners to choose between just two gasoline powertrains (though both are admittedly very good).

As delivered, though, there’s no denying the appeal of the graceful, comfortable GV70. The Genesis doesn’t stop trying to win folks over with its attractive exterior styling, backing up those positive first impressions with a serene cabin, smooth freeway ride, nippy handling, and excellent value for the money. Like that first GV80 and every Genesis that’s followed, the 2022 GV70 is a class-leading entry in a very competitive segment. Lexus may have done it first in 1990, but there’s a new upstart in the luxury world.

Winner: Genesis


  2022 Genesis GV70 2.5T Advanced 2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport AWD
Engine: Turbocharged 2.5-Liter I4 Turbocharged 2.4-Liter I4
Output: 300 Horsepower / 311 Pound-Feet 275 Horsepower / 317 Pound-Feet
Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic Eight-Speed Automatic
Drive Type: All-Wheel Drive All-Wheel Drive
0-60 MPH: 6.1 Seconds 6.6 Seconds
Efficiency: 22 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined 22 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
Weight: 4,156 Pounds 3,660 Pounds
Seating Capacity: 5 5
Cargo Volume: 28.9 / 56.9 Cubic Feet 22.7 / 46.9 Cubic Feet
Base Price: $41,500 + $1,095 Destination $37,950 + $1,075 Destination
Trim Base Price: $50,745 $47,725
As-Tested Price: $51,245 $54,040 (est.)

 

Gallery: 2022 Genesis GV70 vs 2022 Lexus NX350 F-Sport: Comparison Test

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