I first sat in the G90 at the 2016 Seattle Auto Show. Late last year, Hyundai announced the Genesis brand. Genesis would no longer be a model in the Hyundai lineup, but a separate make altogether. To be honest, this should’ve been the move right off the bat when Hyundai wanted to enter the luxury market. Better late than never I suppose. The G90 is the replacement for the Hyundai Equus. The G80 replaces the Hyundai Genesis sedan. The G90 is, therefore, the flagship that Genesis hopes to take on the Lexus LS.
Starting with the interior, since these cars are all about the rear seats, you close the door and you’re greeted with a satisfying thunk. Very solid, very Germanic and with soft close function as well. Not that you need it since the doors close so easily anyways. Once inside, you immediately notice the silence courtesy of double paned windows as well as an abundance of sound deadening. The rear seats feel stiff at first. You don’t quite sink into them but after settling in, you find that they’re comfortable and supportive; it’s kind of like the age old argument of a soft bed versus a firm one. Everyone thinks a soft bed is more comfortable until they wake up with a sore back. The same applies here. To put it another way, after filming the shots needed in the back seat, both my cameraman and myself didn’t want to get out to film the rest of the shots. We sat back there for a solid ten minutes, enjoying the ample leg room, head room, dedicated climate and audio controls, and power sunshades. There are power sunshades for both the rear window as well as on the sides. We reminisced on the experience of being driven around while sitting in the back. It was quiet, plush, civilized. Very little wind noise, engine noise, and road noise. We admired the build quality in disbelief that this car was put together by Hyundai. The suspension was incredibly refined, ironing out bumps with the authority of a steamroller, but with the elegance of a ballet dancer.
The theme of isolation continues when you’re in the driver’s seat. The engine is smooth, and so are the gear changes. There are no pretensions of sportiness in the G90. All the controls have a sense of daintiness to them. The brakes are soft which is good but they don’t stop the car as confidently as they should. I often found myself pressing the brake pedal harder halfway through stopping. The steering is light and graceful. Usually I complain about cars we test not having enough steering feel but I want less in the G90. I want to feel more disconnected from the driving experience and the steering is a little too good for this application. Maybe this will become a strong suit when we test the G80 Sport later this year. Overall though, the G90 really feels less like a car and more like a glove carrying you about before gently depositing you at your destination.
The G90 comes in two trim levels: the V6 and the V8. They both come fully loaded with the V8 boasting a few additional features. Standard features include a full suite of driver’s assistance features such as blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning with assisted steering, adaptive cruise control, and 360 degree bird’s eye view camera. All G90’s also come with a powerful Lexicon surround sound system with 17 speakers. The speakers are covered with a modern, drilled metal grille. There’s clean bass, good mid and fair highs. It’s a loud system although I would like a little more clarity and fullness in sound. Overall, it’s one of the better sound systems out there. The fact that it’s standard is a welcomed benefit as well. Navigation, heated and cooled seats are standard in the front and heated seats in the rear as well. The V8 adds LED headlights, reclining rear seats along with cooled seats in the rear. Both V6 and V8 engines have the option for AWD. Spec for spec, the V8 is less than two grand more than the V6 and the fuel economy is almost the same. Do the right thing, get the V8, with or without AWD.
The exterior styling might be one of the weak points of the G90. It’s far from ugly but the styling lacks presence. It doesn’t make me say “WOW” as it drives by. I partly blame this on the color. Our test car came in a metallic grey blue which normally looks great on other cars but doesn’t quite suit a sedan of this class and size. Interestingly enough, I can not find this color on Genesis’s configurator online. In the past two months since driving the G90, I’ve only ever seen one other one on the road. That one was black and looked a lot better but if you watch my reviews on Clutch Kick, you know that I’m not a fashionable man so maybe my opinion on styling is irrelevant. However, the styling on the G90 makes it clear that Genesis wanted to play it safe with this one, to make sure not to offend anyone.
It seems as though the Genesis G90 won me over but of course, I must advocate for the devil as well. The G90, although filled with a plethora of standard features, is missing a few high end features as well. Things like massaging seats, night vision cameras, self parking, panoramic sunroofs, these are all features on other cars in this class. Since Genesis claims the G90 is looking to compete with the Lexus LS, this puts it dangerously in the realm of things like the BMW 7 series and the king of them all, the Mercedes S-Class. We have to remember, however, that this is the beginning, this is the first attempt. Despite the lack of these high end features (most of which I find gimmicky more than useful anyways), Genesis focused on the important details of luxury car building. Silence, comfort and build quality. First attempts are never perfect but the G90 is a great one. This is the beginning of a new chapter for the Hyundai Automotive Group, so in more ways than one, this is Genesis.
My full video review can be found here: https://youtu.be/oFkedpckRes
Excellent Fit, Finish, Refinement
Beautifully Smooth Suspension
Amazing Value for Money
Unestablished Brand Prestige
Engine – 3.3L DOHC 24-Valve Twin Turbo Direct Injected V6
Drivetrain – RWD
Horsepower – 365hp @ 6,000 rpm (premium gasoline)
Torque – 376 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm (premium gasoline)
Transmission – 8-speed Automatic
Weight – 4630 lbs (V6 RWD)
Starting Price – $68,100; Tested at $68,100