Test Drive Notes Library
- Hyundai tries to pull a Lexus. The Genesis G90 reminds us of when Lexus came out with their first car, the LS, in 1989. It was big, comfortable, and a bargain compared to its less reliable German competition. It didn’t handle as well as Mercedes and BMWs, but it was soft, quiet, and powerful. And Lexus bet that that’s what American tuchuses really wanted. They were onto something. Genesis is Hyundai’s luxury brand, and the G90 is its largest sedan. And while $76,695 may not sound like a bargain at first glance, especially compared to the 1989 Lexus LS’s $35,000 price tag, the G90 is cheaper than the competition. A similarly equipped 2020 Lexus LS, for example, would easily cost you $20K more.
- Large, comfy, and powerful. If you miss your big, V8 floater from the 60’s and 70’s, it’s back, and it’s been substantially updated. If you were a fan of big, heavy cars that practically floated along the road, and V8 engines that required barely the thought of pressure from your right foot to glide away from a stop light, you’ll enjoy the G90. It’s large and serene inside. Rear seat room is stadium luxury box-esque. The suspension soaks up everything you drive over, and transfers almost none of it to your rear end. The 420 hp, non-turbo-charged V8 has way more than enough power, which is kind of the point.
- Loaded. Our “Ultimate” trim G90 came with pretty much anything you might want. All the safety equipment Car Talk endorses, 10 airbags, Nappa leather everywhere (don’t be surprised if cows give you the finger when you drive past them, considering how many of them were sacrificed for each G90), a suede headliner, 17 speaker stereo, and pretty much every other accoutrement you can think of. Interestingly, there’s a caste system when it comes to seating. The driver gets a 22-way adjustable seat. The front seat passenger only gets a 16-way adjustable seat. But get this: In the back, the right, rear passenger gets a 14-way adjustable seat, but the left seat, rear passenger only gets to adjust his seat 12 ways. Are we animals back here on the left side?? So kids, make sure you fight over who gets the right, rear seat. But don’t fight too hard, because they’re all heated and ventilated.
- Quiet. It’s really quiet inside the G90. Genesis did an excellent job with sound insulation. Overall, it feels very luxurious inside the G90. It’s a salon on wheels.
- Floaty. Much like the early Lexus LS, the Genesis does best when it goes straight. It’s not that it handles badly. It doesn’t. But unlike the equivalent Audi, BMW, or Mercedes, when the road gets twisty, the G90 leans a bit. If most of your driving is not on mountain roads, you’ll enjoy the floating isolation of the G90. But if you’re looking for a “driver’s car,” probably best to look at other options.
- Looks. The G90 was just “freshened” to give it sharper looks. Let’s stipulate that the looks are improved. They’re just not anything special. If you wondered what a Buick Park Avenue would have looked like had it survived into the current century, it probably would have been something like this. The G90 is big, and it has a presence, but the stying is pretty bland to us. Interestingly, pictures of the smaller Genesises (Genesi?) are very good looking, especially the G70.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Car Talk Rant:
- A status symbol? Personally, we consider this argument bogus. If you need a three pointed Mercedes star to justify your self worth, it’s time for some serious therapy. So while some may argue that spending $77K on a luxury car from Hyundai doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t impress other people, we say "get over yourself." Genesis dealers may not be providing foot massages while you wait for your oil change yet, but the engineering of the G90 seems to be quite good. And if the car proves to be durable and reliable over time, the value of the badge will catch up.
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