An unlikely giant among Germans.
THE GOOD
  • Phenomenal materials and fit and finish
  • Power delivery and handling are excellent
  • No-fuss packaging and purchasing
THE BAD
  • Not the best choice for those who prioritize fuel efficiency
  • Hyundai Group really needs to look at those seat belt retractors
  • Too many people who won’t consider it should
2020 Genesis G90 Review

Redesigned for 2020, any remaining questions about whether the Genesis G90 deserves flagship status have been thoroughly vanquished.

It isn’t perfect, but potential buyers shouldn’t concern themselves because the overall purchase experience is excellent, from the quality of the product to the level of service that comes with it. If you’re among those determined to never buy a Korean car – or to never buy Korean again – it’s high time to consider letting those hang-ups go and give this brand a shot.

Styling: 8/10

This would be deserving of an even higher score were it not for that gaping, enormous grille, which doesn’t at all do it for me. [You and me both, Steph. – Ed.] The redesigned G90 is also the last car in the Genesis lineup to be designed without the brand’s new lighting signature that’s being introduced on the new GV80 SUV and redesigned G80 sedan, which may be good or bad depending on one’s perspective.

Where there’s little question of taste is inside, which layers stunning, perfectly laid open-pore wood with napa leather and a clear priority placed on the second-row passengers that’s dripping with classic luxury. I piped Sinatra through the 17-speaker Lexicon sound system and felt right in my element.

Safety: 9/10

On this point, the G90 seems to hit all the right notes. Forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear collision avoidance assist, blind-spot collision avoidance with lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and Hyundai Motor Group’s new blind-spot view monitor are all standard features. (I don’t find this last feature helps any more than just using one’s side mirrors properly, but there are certainly drivers out there who might appreciate a hand with that. More importantly, it’s not terribly intrusive for those who don’t need it.) In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the G90 as a Top Safety Pick+.

Practicality: 8/10

Practicality as a measure is a bit nebulous in a large luxury sedan, but the G90 finds success on a few points: the rear doors in particular feature very roomy access, there’s plenty of in-cabin storage (if perhaps a lack of useful cup holders), and the 444 L trunk features a centre pass-through for longer items. There is also a certain practicality to the Genesis business model, in which you can test drive, purchase, and service your vehicle from your home or office; not normally part of the practicality considerations, but it seems applicable here.

User Friendliness: 8.5/10

Clean and logical button layouts – useful for both the front and rear passengers – are among the highlights here. The infotainment system is also among the better ones on the market, combining a desirable set of features with innate usability.

Features: 8.5/10

This test unit doesn’t have a panoramic sunroof, but the G90 specifications state that it’s standard equipment, so do check what you’ll be receiving if this is an important feature for you. Otherwise, there’s little missing here.

Front and rear heated and ventilated seats – 14-way adjustable in the right rear and 12-way in the left rear, with memory functions – a heated steering wheel and exterior mirrors, head-up display, LED exterior lighting, wireless charging, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are among the highlights. What’s conspicuous in its absence is USB ports for the second row: only 12-volt ports stand in on the back of the centre console.

Power: 8.5/10

The standard 5.0L V8, good for 420 hp at 6,000 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, is an excellent fit in this car both in power output and demeanour. Along with the eight-speed automatic transmission, it delivers its power with suitable strength and conviction, yet does so with a smoothness properly befitting the statement this car is trying to make among its competition.

Comfort: 8.5/10

The rear-seat experience in this car is on par with much more expensive competitors. Seat pitch, leg room, temperature control, high-grade materials, and a full set of HVAC and radio controls on the middle armrest match the opulence of much more expensive alternatives.

Driving Feel: 8.5/10

Genesis includes a five-link independent and adaptive suspension on the G90, which delivers smooth and comfortable handling far better than this car’s 5,205 mm length would suggest.

Fuel Economy: 6.5/10

If there’s any downside to the G90’s V8 it’s the fuel consumption. The rated average is 13.1 L/100 km combined, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), and my average over a week of testing that was 75/25 in favour of city driving in unexceptional conditions was a much higher 16.0 L/100 km. The good news is that, if this is a serious concern for you, the brand’s 3.3L twin-turbocharged V6 is still available by special order.

Value: 8/10

For the most part, although the price tag isn’t exactly frugal as it pushes $90,000, there’s a lot packed into the G90 for the money. And while I noted on the car’s initial release a few short years ago that there was still some Hyundai budget influence to polish out in places like the plastic panel under the gear selector, any such concerns have been thoroughly resolved following the redesign, with almost no stone unturned. To my mind, there’s only one thing left that Hyundai Motor Group needs to take a serious look at in all of its vehicles: their seat belt retractors. The belts have a tendency not to wind back up properly and end up swinging around, even in a flagship luxury sedan like this one. This car, most of all, deserves better.

The Verdict

The only thing still missing from Genesis is the prestige that a luxury buyer demands from the badge. If the brand keeps building cars that are this good, the cachet will inevitably follow. This is a flagship sedan to be proud of, and those who let prejudices stand in the way of giving it a fair shot are the ones who are missing out.

An unlikely giant among Germans. 4/18/2020 6:30:00 AM

Specifications

Engine Displacement 5.0L   Model Tested 2020 Genesis G90 Prestige
Engine Cylinders V8   Base Price $89,750
Peak Horsepower 420 hp @ 6,000 rpm   A/C Tax $100
Peak Torque 383 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm   Destination Fee Included
Fuel Economy 15.4/10.2/13.1 L/100 km city/hwy/cmb   Price as Tested $89,850
Cargo Space 444 L  
Optional Equipment
None