By Philip Ruth –
Blocky or smooth? Outdoor or urban chic? SUVs have as many flavors as Baskin-Robbins, so you can probably find one that suits your taste.
The two we’re about to examine here are downright polar opposites in terms of niche and purpose, and both are so satisfactory to drive that you’d likely live in harmony with both of them. The decision between them depends on what you want to do with your new purchase and how you want to look. Land Rover has a long history of selling paid off-roaders, while Genesis is an emerging brand of the budget-conscious Hyundai.
I recently talked about the Genesis GV80 – the bigger brother of the $ 64,045 GV70 AWD 3.5T Sport Prestige featured here. Genesis have something interesting to do with their style as both of them were eye catchers. This GV70, in its $ 500 Adriatic Blue livery, added an unusually pleasant and masculine presence. The GV80 got curious looks, while the GV70’s attention was more focused and intense, similar to lust.
The Land Rover Defender 110 SE is typical of the brand and at first glance appears functional with many interesting shapes and design flourishes when the gaze lingers. The doors and hatch are a comfortable weight, and the rear skylights are a cool retro touch, while the floating trim panel on the B-pillars is refreshingly modern. The well-equipped 2021 tester cost less than $ 70,000.
The hot ticket for people who regularly park in parallel is the Defender 90, an arbitrary 20 of the 110 tested. But with two fewer doors it measures 180.4 inches compared to the 197.6 of the 110. That makes the Defender 90 shorter than a Civic or Corolla sedan, which greatly increases your chances of squeezing into one position. The GV70 can also be parked at 185.6 inches.
The high-300-horsepower club is a quick place, and the Genesis 375 and Defender 395 reviews translate into two-ton luxury SUVs that are consistently nimble, with muscles off the line and powerful bumps to overtake. The mileage is checked at 21 for the GV70 and 19 for the Defender.
The surroundings are correspondingly special inside. The Defender’s 14-way heated and cooled storage seats make you the commander of your domain. The instrument panel is long and wide, a contrast to the cockpit-like shapes of most modern cars, and the large windows add light whether your safari is through sunny Castro or the misty Sunset District.
The Genesis leans more towards the sports car as it feels more intimate. It has the brand-typical horizontal single-spoke wheel, and the dashboard behind it is gracefully curved and contoured. Sparkling lighted details light up the armrests and console, and there is just enough shiny stuff to make it feel like it all goes with it.
We discuss these different vehicles in the same breath because they are priced close together, and also because they are both fun. The Defender 110 was unexpectedly nimble, while the GV70’s ability to carve corners could make sports sedans obsolete. Both are worth an enthusiastic test drive.
Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant with an automotive staging service.
Published on December 2, 2021