2017 Genesis G90 Review

The Koreans finally hit their flagship sweet spot


Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer



Positives: Powerful 5.0-liter V8, kingly comfort levels, excellent acceleration, premium look and feel, straightforward infotainment controls, safe, an arsenal of standard equipment.
Negatives: Fledgling brand recognition, not as many features as competitors, no substantial set of options for a model that's supposed to be highly customizable.
Bottom Line: The Genesis G90 is a majestic large luxury car without an illustrious background like the competition it boldly faces. It's a car that does everything well and is priced below its rivals. The issue with the car has nothing to do with its design or build (almost everything about it is wonderful), but its heritage. Mainly, that it doesn't have one. If Genesis can garner the kind of respect it needs to compete with high-priced luxury vehicles in a reasonable amount of time, the G90 could become a serious force in this segment.
 View Our 2017 Genesis G90 Overview
The Germans and Japanese better watch out. Hyundai’s new brand Genesis doesn’t mess around. The G90 is the brand’s flagship sedan and it packs almost everything you want from a large luxury car minus the prestigious badge on the front and rear. This thing is the real deal, and we’d expect Genesis to garner many fans over the next several years. The only downside is that it may take a while. The wealthy people buying these big sedans are likely to opt for a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW, something with a long history behind it. However, as the brand becomes more established, we’ve no doubt that it’ll earn its place among the automotive elite.

Recently, we got a chance to test a Genesis G90 for a whole week. While we’d previously driven the car at an event, it was nice to get to spend more time with the new luxury brand’s flagship. Here are our impressions.
 

Driving Experience

8.8

 

When driving the G90 you can certainly tell that it’s a large car, but the engine, brakes and suspension don’t let its sheer size hurt the experience too much. This car is lovely on just about any road. Long trips on the highway are superb and stress-free, with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. Even a more spirited road can be enjoyable in this car, as it has the goods to deliver an engaging driving experience, though it's not a nimble sports sedan. It's more concerned comfort than sportiness. If it's better handling you want with no compromise in acceleration, opt for the twin-turbo V6 version.

Ride Quality: The G90 is a big barge of a sedan, with a ride that's smooth as a newly formed piece of glass.

Acceleration: Very strong. This car has plenty of power to push you back in your seat.

Braking: The brakes are progressive and strong, and they do a fine job of hauling the big car to a stop.

Steering: Steering errors on the side of comfort but is still well-weighted. It’s easy to place the car in the corners despite the car’s overall cushiness.

Handling: While you do feel the heft of the G90, for the most part, it handles well. Body roll is evident in the turns, but it hangs onto the pavement pretty well without feeling unstable.

Technology

8.9

 

The level of technology on the G90 is high, but not quite as high as some of the well-known German luxury cars it’s competing with. Those cars simply offer more tech and features. That being said, what’s installed in the G90 is really good. It’s well thought out and well designed. The infotainment system is excellent, the driver-assist features functioned flawlessly and everything else was easy to use and right where expected.

Infotainment System: The large 12.3-inch infotainment screen offers seriously good graphics and plenty of features. It’s one of the better systems out there and not as labyrinthine as Mercedes-Benz or BMW’s systems.

Controls: The controls are easy to use and the use of actual buttons on the dash is a nice touch.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone was a simple process and took seconds.

Voice Call Quality: Calls were clear on both ends and we experienced no issues.

Styling

8.4

 

While not exactly original, the G90 sure does look good, especially in black. It’s large, extravagant shape help get the message across that this is a luxury sedan, and the sweeping lines on the outside and the high-quality materials on the inside help seal the deal. In other words, this car looks expensive. A few folks who stopped us to ask about it guessed it was a much more expensive car than it actually is. Still, when you look closely at the design, you can see several elements that Hyundai simply lifted from other automakers and then tweaked to make its own. When you get down to it, there aren’t many revolutionary ideas in terms of styling (inside or out) on this car.

Front: The majority of the front of the vehicle is taken up by Genesis’ massive shield-shaped grille that’s almost like an Audi grille except not as wide. Aside from that there’s some LED running lights, attractive headlights and some muscular hood lines that stretch back to the A-pillars.

Rear: Around the back, the car features some large, elegant-looking taillights that are similar in shape to some of Mercedes-Benz’s products. Aside from that the rear of the car features a few small chrome accents and dual chrome exhausts.

Profile: From the side, the G90 looks well-proportioned and the wheels and chrome window sill help give the car a little flare.

Cabin: The interior has a sophisticated style, utilizing an analog clock in the center of the dash, high-gloss walnut and dark black leather. There are dull silver accents throughout the cabin to help add some variety.

Comfort

9.4

 

It’s easy to say a car is comfortable. Most cars today offer decent levels of comfort, but then there are cars like the G90 that take things to a whole new level. The seats are divine, the car is ergonomically well-designed and there’s tons of room. The only thing missing is massaging seats. Our tester was the top of the line G90 5.0 Ultimate and there were no additional options (you couldn't add them if you wanted because Genesis doesn't offer any).

Front Seats: If Genesis has done anything right, is the seats in this car. The front seats offer tons of adjustment, are heated and ventilated, feature soft leather upholstery and are comfortable for hours. Most of the furniture in your house isn’t this nice.

Rear Seats: The programmable, power-adjustable, heated and ventilated rear seats are nothing short of awesome. There’s tons of room, they’re clad in fine materials and are just as nice a place to be as the front seats, and may be even more enjoyable.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): This is one of the quieter cabins we’ve been in. Even on rough highway pavement, we noticed very little road noise and no rattles or shudders.

Visibility: Visibility is good all around, but the various sensors and cameras come in handy with such a large sedan.

Climate: The heated and ventilated seats and the 3-zone automatic temperature control make the G90 one of the easiest cars to control from a climate standpoint. The systems are easy to use and very effective.

Safety

9

 

The G90 is a big safe car. It’s highly rated by the IIHS and although it has not yet been tested by the NHTSA, we’d expect it to receive excellent ratings from that organization as well. You can be sure that all occupants are safe in this big car.

IIHS Rating: The Genesis G90 was recognized as a Top Safety Pick+ model.

Standard Tech: Electronic stability control with traction control and brake assist, airbags throughout the cabin, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, smart blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, driver attention alert.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

8.6

 

In a car as large as the G90 storage space and cargo room certainly isn’t lacking. The big Korean car comes with plenty of room to stash items away. That’s true whether you’re in the front seats or the rear. There’s also a handy little window to the trunk behind the rear center armrest that allows rear passengers to reach back and grab something without needing to stop the car.

Storage Space: There’s plenty of places to stow everyday carry items in the G90. It has a generous center console and armrest storage spaces, the glovebox is rather large and the door pockets generous.

Cargo Room: The trunk in this car is a respectable 15.7 cubic feet, which should be more than enough for whatever you need.

Fuel Economy

8

 

Considering that the Genesis G90 test car we drove had the burly 5.0-liter V8 beneath the hood, we didn’t expect much from the big car in terms of efficiency. The EPA estimates are set at 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for this model. Those estimates proved to be just about spot on. They're not bad for a big V8. However, some other brands (Mercedes-Benz and BMW) do better.

Observed: We saw an average of 18 mpg over the course of a week with the vehicle.

Driving Factors: We drove the car both in the city and for long stints on the highway. During our highway trips, we set the cruise control and managed to do a little better than the EPA's estimate.

Audio

9.4

 

The Lexicon 17-speaker 7.1 surround sound system proved to be excellent no matter what we listened to. It provided very full sound and plenty of volume adjustment. There’s no need to want anything else in the G90.



Final Thoughts

Overall, the Genesis G90 is one of the best cars we’ve driven recently. It’s large, luxurious, exceptionally comfortable and very, very fast. It’s whisper quiet on the road and smooth as glass even over rough pavement. The issue with this car isn’t how it’s constructed or put together, it’s just that the badge comes with no cachet. With the Genesis brand being so new, this car has an upwards battle despite the fact that it’s very good in just about every category and comes with a price tag that’s less than the competition.

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