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Genesis G90 REVIEW: The new luxury

by Roy Choi | August 16, 2016August 16, 2016 1:30 pm PDT

Hyundai is serious in its approach to launch the Genesis brand into the luxury auto category.  The G90 is the newest entry and it’s no slouch. Though, the question remains: can it compete with more established luxury brands such as BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, Acura, Audi and Mercedes?

Genesis, it seems, has a lot of momentum going for it, especially considering how well the Genesis (G80) sold when it was under the Hyundai brand. In fact, the G80 is the second-best selling luxury vehicle, behind the Mercedes Benz E-Class. That’s not bad for a car that made its debut just 8 years ago. We’re told that Hyundai has been planning an upstream push into the luxury market for a couple of decades. With the Genesis and the Equus already in the mix, it was only a matter of time before it made its leap.

Genesis wants you to know that the brand isn’t merely an offshoot of Hyundai, but rather its own company, complete with separate funding and separate resources. It also wants us to view the G90 not as an evolution of the Equus, despite how easy it is to make the comparison. I’d argue, though, that it’s is a damn fine evolution, whether Hyundai wants us to think so or not.

Speaking of evolution, Genesis is jumping quite quickly to make the company a full-fledged car brand with a whole batch of new vehicles. The company plans on releasing four more vehicles by 2021 to give the brand a total of 6 new cars.  For the mathematically challenged,  that’s an average of one new car every year for the next four years. Again, a mighty bold task, but Hyundai has been taking calculated risks for a number of years. 

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The Future of Luxury

Genesis believes now is the best time to challenge the traditional meaning of luxury. As consumers look to a different view of first-class driving, so too should car brands. Genesis’ market research shows that while consumers still value a brand, they tend to value how the brand makes them feel even more than the name itself. Hyundai hopes it has the right formula of extravagance, safety, and time savings to entice and keep buyers that enjoy the finer things in life.

Genesis looks to services such as Soothe, Postmates, Blue Apron, Hairdoo, and Munchery for inspiration on what customers are looking for. In the era of customized delivery services such as Amazon Fresh, Genesis is providing scheduled maintenance with complimentary valet pickup for 3 years after purchase. Genesis hinted that it will look to add additional services for its customers, noting that it will be make great efforts to make its customers feel appreciated. In, this is one of the pillars of Genesis’ brand value: making owners feel special.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there. After all, a luxury car must fill a handful of essential categories. Genesis has assembled a strong cast behind the brand by recruiting some of the most seasoned and talented minds from Bentley, VW Group, Lamborghini, BMW M and Corvette, and many of these key executives are just getting started in the new company. Genesis is looking to create a stunning slate of cars that are eye-catching, drive really well and feel luxurious. So while the G80 and G90 look great already, look for the next batch of cars to be even more stunning.

Genesis Experience

  • 3-year/36,000-mile Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance
  • 3-year/36,000-mile Complimentary Valet Services
  • 3-year Complimentary SiriusXM® Traffic & Travel Link®; Not Available in AK & HI
  • 3-year Complimentary Map Care (Annual Map Update)
  • 3-year Complimentary Genesis Connected Services
    • Includes Remote Start (Enrollment Required)
  • 3-year/Unlimited-mile Enhanced Roadside Assistance
  • 5-year/60,000-mile New Vehicle Warranty
  • 10-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
  • 7-year/Unlimited-mile Anti-perforation Warranty

Safety

Genesis is making a huge push to be considered a safety leader by making all safety features standard. Competitors mostly offer these features as added options.

The features all worked really well, I found the “lane keep assist” function kept me driving between the lines without too much swerving to maintain proper placement. The driver attention alert suggested I take a break, even though we had just taken one not too long before. It seemed to work fine for other drivers, so maybe I just drive differently. There’s an option to turn down the sensitivity if you need to. My favorite feature on many new cars is adaptive cruise control and emergency braking, both of which should be standard on all cars. The G90 handled adaptive cruise control like a champ and fortunately/unfortunately we didn’t need to test out the emergency braking and pedestrian crash prevention features.

Standard Safety Features:

  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Driver attention alert
  • Active blind spot detection
  • Lane keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/start
  • Full color heads-up display
  • Multi-view camera
  • High beam assist
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Haptic steering wheel
  • Pre-safety seatbelts

Design

The Genesis G90 has a lot of elements that remind me of other luxury cars. The G90 features a long hood, which is found among competitors like the 7-series, S-class, or LS, though the long hood seems to be a design element we’ll see across all Genesis cars. The “Genesis grille” is found on the G90, too, personally one of my favorite details from the G80. The lines of the car move across the front and rear of the car and flow right into the tail lights of the G90. Every design element flows and blends naturally, and nothing feels out of place. The G90 is going to look and feel luxurious, but it won’t scream for attention. It is a classically beautiful car that won’t offend luxury buyers.

The interior is draped and infused with luxury throughout; it’s wrapped in leather, suede and genuine wood. The driver has 22-way seat settings, including shoulder, head and leg controls, while the passenger has 16-way controls. The rear seats, too, have controls to make for a more comfortable ride.

If you’re looking for extra perks, the V8 model comes with rear seat fold-out leg rests. The seats are extremely comfortable, and great for long rides. I found it to be a wonderfully smooth ride during our 300+ mile excursion through beautiful British Columbia. The G90 is amazingly quiet, too. Passengers will feel comfortable and peaceful during long rides. The car is equipped with a CO2 sensor that always ensures that you’re getting fresh air in the cabin through even the longest rides.

Drive

The Genesis G90 was effortless to drive. We had the option to pilot the rear-wheel-pdrive and all-wheel-drive version of the car. While some users will gravitate towards the AWD version if they live in areas that need it, I preferred the RWD version which was quicker from a stop.

The engine is a beast and great at climbing the hilly region of Kelowna, British Columbia. I found myself hauling down the highway at 110 MPH, only catching myself to slow down when we came up to another test car. The car doesn’t exert much noise and you can’t feel any engine shake even at high speeds. You’re not going to drive this car like a sports car, but it’s a pleasurable drive and ride.

I found the controls fairly easy to reach while driving. The gear shifter is something that I’d probably need some time getting used to. Having to press the Park button above the gear shifter to place the car in park is something that took a few times to figure out. If you’ve ever driven a Toyota Prius, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Technology

The 7-inch HD LCD info-display in the dash was easy to read and had plenty of useful information, though primarily I found most of the information that I needed to live on the bright heads up display on the G90. I actually found the heads up display to work, to an extent, with polarized sunglasses. The G90 has plenty of digital controls as well as button options on the dash to control the three-way climate and audio settings.

The multimedia/navigation system centers around a beautiful 12.3-inch HD display that also has the ability to play video when the car is parked. The audio system runs Quantum Logic Surround and Clari-Fi music restoration technology to boost audio quality, especially if you’re a fan of satellite radio or playing digitally compressed files off your phone. The 17 Lexicon speakers that pump out 7.1 surround-sound audio are phenomenal and one of the best configurations on the market. Also, the G90 had, by my count, at least 8-different charging methods (USB-ports, lighter plugs and Qi wireless charging), so passengers will be able to stay powered up.

The 12.3-inch HD display is very capable, though it doesn’t have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. But the Genesis G90 system does just about everything you’d want out of the system.

3.3L Twin Turbo V6

  • 365 HP @6000 RPM
  • 376 lb.-ft of torque @1300-4500 RPM

5.0L V8

  • 420 HP @6000 RPM
  • 383 lb.-ft of torque @5000 RPM

Final Thoughts

The Genesis G90 is a great car, but will it be able to compete among the big boys?

While Genesis hasn’t announced pricing the G90 yet, it should be comparable to previous Equus levels. Which, while already a great value, will be an even better buy with the addition of the new standard features. The refined ride and polished design just add to the appeal of the G90. Add to it the inclusion of three year complimentary road side assistance, maintenance, valet service, loaner rentals, Satellite traffic, and navigation updates, and the Genesis keeps loading up in the value category.

The Genesis will be available in either a V6 or V8 variant with either a RWD or AWD option.  That’s it.  Everything else is included. Whereas competitors will tempt drivers to add this or that feature, the buying decision is pretty simple. It just comes down to the matter of Genesis convincing buyers to make a jump to the brand. Hyundai/Genesis has already shown that it can make a complete car that buyers want with the G80 (formerly Genesis), and now we’ll see if the Genesis flagship can appeal to buyers, because this car is certainly worthy of being named in the category.

The Genesis G90 will no doubt please owners in terms of value, safety and comfort.


Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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