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Compact luxury sedans are a vexing concept, but they’re a great choice for buyers who want some agility and a host of comfort. Both the Genesis G70 and Volvo S60 are slightly off-beat choices in this category. That said, both models do well to punch above their weight. But which of these small luxury sedans provides the best value? That all depends on what you’re looking for.

Genesis G70 vs Volvo S60: power and performance

Genesis G70
2023 Genesis G70 | Genesis

Under the hood, the starting point for both the Volvo S60 and Genesis G70 are quite similar. Both offer 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, and both churn out about 250 horsepower. The Korean compact sends 252 ponies through an eight-speed automatic, while the Swedish contender rates at 247 horsepower. Torque isn’t much different either, with the Genesis offering 260 pound-feet compared to 258 pound-feet in the Volvo.

That’s where the similarities end.

Those seeking a performance-oriented luxury sedan will appreciate the rear-wheel drive nature fo the G70. Even the all-wheel drive models have a rear-focused torque differential, making the G70 feel more alive from the driver’s seat. The Volvo, however, offers a more sedate drive. The focus here is primarily on comfort, so the safer front-drive setup fits well with the expected brand experience.

Turning our attention to the top-spec options for both luxury cars brings two completely different setups to the table.

Volvo S60
Volvo S60 Recharge | Volvo

The top-spec G70 features a twin-turbo V6 engine churning out 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Once again, both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available, and once again the G70 never fails to deliver an exciting drive. Zero to 60 in this version takes just 4.5 seconds as the eight-speed gearbox gets power to the ground.

Meanwhile, the top-end S60 features a twincharged plug-in hybrid drivetrain. That may sound like a boring choice, but with a total of 455 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque, it delivers the goods when pressed to do so. Here, zero to 60 mph takes just 4.3 seconds – not bad for a safe luxury sedan.

Unfortunately for Volvo, even with all that power the handling is a let down. The S60 feels heavy even without the battery packs on board, and the front-drive setup doesn’t help matters. The G70, meanwhile, is a more lively, direct option. There is a slight lack of refinement when compared to the Volvo, though the fun factor may be worth the trade-off for the right person.

Similar on safety

Head-to-head, both the Genesis G70 and Volvo S60 compare closely on IIHS safety and crash test ratings. The Volvo outshines the Genesis in side-impact testing, while the G70 offers a more robust crash detection system than does the Swedish sedan. Across the board though, both models earn high marks and should give any driver added confidence.

Volvo S60 offers more standard luxury and tech than the Genesis G70

Related 2023 Genesis G70: Release Date, Price, & Specs

2023 Genesis G70: Release Date, Price, & Specs

Getting down to the luxury part of these luxury sedans, the Volvo S60 pulls a clear lead. It offers more ways to adjust the seating position, and comes with a memory function as standard. The G70 does offer four-way lumbar adjustment, but other options are lacking and there is no way to save settings. Furthermore, the Volvo S60 comes standard with a power-sliding panoramic moonroof, an optional upgrade in the Korean contender.

For tech, the G70 does offer radar-assisted cruise control that automatically adjusts to changes in posted speed limit. The Volvo has no such option, but the new Google-based infotainment system includes four years of Google Maps navigation for free. Both have radar cruise with stop and go, but only the Volvo has a left-turn assist for cutting across traffic.

Will you choose fun or function?

While the Genesis G70 is a more exciting option, the added comfort and practicality of the S60 make it a compelling choice. Truthfully, both models would be a joy to drive every day so the only question that matters is this; which experience best speaks to you?