- Glass-smooth ride
- Powerful engines
- Roomy, beautiful interior
- Full suite of safety features
- Plenty of owner benefits
- No established brand cachet
- Somewhat wobbly handling
- V-8 isn't much more powerful than V-6
Powerful, spacious, and luxurious, the 2017 Genesis G90 kicks off Hyundai's new luxury brand in style.
The 2017 Genesis G90 is the first all-new vehicle from Hyundai's new luxury brand. A full-size luxury sedan, it aims for elite competition with a lineup that includes 3.3T Premium and 5.0 Ultimate models with rear- or all-wheel drive.
Had Hyundai not launched Genesis, the G90 would certainly be the second-generation Equus. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, and Lexus LS 460.
We rate the Genesis G90 a 7.8 out of 10, with big points going to its fabulous interior and extreme value. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Genesis G90 styling and performance
Genesis calls the G90's design language Athletic Elegance. It's a long and commanding car, with appropriately regal look. Up front, the G90 features the brand's new "crest" grille, a large chrome shield that is wide at the top and tapers downward. The view from the side shows the car's classic rear-wheel-drive stance, with a long hood, a set back cabin, a short deck, and short overhangs.
Inside, the G90 features a horizontal layout that accentuates its width and luxury. A large 12.3-inch screen dominates the center of the dash, and below it are ergonomically designed metal buttons to help control it as well as the climate functions. The top quality materials—leather, wood, Alcantara, and metal—come together to create an environment that you'd love in your living room.
The Genesis is offered with a pair of powerful engines, though we only see a need for one of them. The Lambda V-6 makes 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. It joins the Tau 5.0-liter V-8, which carries over from the Equus and produces 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are bolted to a Hyundai-produced 8-speed automatic transmission.
The V-6 is smooth and strong, and it works well with the 8-speed to provide effortless passing punch when needed. While the V-8 offers a slightly more masculine engine note when pushed, we'd opt for the V-6. The 0 to 60 mph times for both engines are likely in the low six-second range. The V-6 is more efficient, too, delivering 20 mpg combined, while the V-8 is an mpg or two lower, depending on if you choose all-wheel drive.
From a ride and handling standpoint, the G90 is at its best on the highway. It's about as comfortable a cruiser as you will find, but it leans into turns and has a bit of trouble righting itself when it resumes a straight path. Steering is too light for our tastes, too, but the ride quality is exemplary. Overall, the G90 is in line with the Lexus LS 460 in terms of dynamics.
G90 quality, safety, and features
Like Genesis promises for all of its vehicles, the G90 rides on a dedicated platform. It's a new architecture that is 80 percent stiffer than that of the Equus and uses far more high-strength steel: 51.7 percent compared to 28.7 percent. Unlike the competition, though, there is no carbon fiber or aluminum. The wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than that of the Equus and the car is 1.8 inches longer overall. It's also an inch wider, and the extra size means it weighs about 200 pounds more comparably equipped, though a new twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 engine saves 120 pounds off the total.
From the driver's seat or any seat, the cabin is quiet, comfortable, and roomy. The standard 22-way power-adjustable driver's seat offers a setting for anyone, and the car's extra wheelbase makes the back seat very spacious. Rear occupants have a fold-down center armrest with a dial to control the audio and climate systems, but Genesis doesn't offer such rear seat amenities as a DVD entertainment system, fold-out tables, an ottoman, or a bottle cooler. V-6 buyers don't get adjustable, reclining rear seats, but V-8 buyers do.
That's not to say the 3.3T Premium isn't well equipped. It comes with such features as heated and ventilated front seats, three-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, heated rear seats, a navigation system, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, Qi wireless charging, and a head-up display. The 5.0 adds those power rear seats, as well as rear seat ventilation and LED headlights.
Also standard is an extensive list of safety features that includes forward-collision warnings, cameras in just about every direction, lane departure warnings and lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and nine airbags (including a driver knee bag). There are no safety options; all Genesis buyers are well protected. The IIHS has called the 2017 G90 a Top Safety Pick+, but federal testers haven't yet thrown one into a wall.
2017 Genesis G90
The G90's exterior appearance is appropriately regal, but the beautiful interior is the real strength.
In our new rating system, we start styling scores at 5. We give the Genesis G90 a point for its imposing exterior and two points for its fantastic interior, bring the total to 8. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Genesis calls the G90's design language Athletic Elegance. It's a long and commanding car. While the wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than the Hyundai Equus it essentially replaces, it is only 1.8 inches longer overall, an indication of how much Genesis has tucked in the front and rear overhangs.
Up front, the G90 features the brand's new "crest" grille, a large chrome shield that is wide at the top and tapers downward. It is topped by the brand's new winged emblem and flanked by either bi-xenon or LED headlights and all of the associated lights are LEDs.
The view from the side shows the car's classic rear-wheel-drive stance, with a long hood, a set back cabin, a short deck, and those aforementioned short overhangs. The headlights resolve into a prominent shoulder line that drops down below the LED taillights. Another side character line flows down from the front wheels and joins up with a chrome trim strip that wraps around the rear end. It is accented by chrome tailpipes. The taillights have a vertical look from the rear but also extend into the profile.
Inside, the G90 features a horizontal layout that accentuates its width and luxury. A large 12.3-inch screen dominates the center of the dash, and below it are ergonomically designed metal buttons to help control it as well as the climate functions. Several of these buttons have unique shapes so you can identify them without necessarily seeing what you are touching. The top-quality materials--leather, wood, Alcantara, and metal--come together to create an environment that you'd love in your living room.
2017 Genesis G90
The 2017 Genesis G90's ride is exceptionally smooth and the power is effortless, but the handling doesn't inspire twisty road confidence.
Overall, the G90 is far more in line with the Lexus LS 460 in terms of dynamics than it is a challenger for the BMW 7-Series or Cadillac CT6. It's a soft-riding, incredibly pleasant car that doesn't ask to be driven hard. In our ratings that equals a 7, with one point added for engine performance and another for the exceptional ride quality. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The G90 marks the introduction of a new Lambda 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V-6. It is smooth and strong, and it works well with the slick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission to provide effortless passing punch when needed. While the V-8 offers a slightly more masculine engine note when pushed, we see no need for it. The 0 to 60 mph times for both engines are likely in the low six-second range.
Like the Equus, five-link suspensions are found front and rear, and the shocks are electronically controlled to offer Comfort, Comfort+ and Sport modes. The steering switches from electro-hydraulic assist to a rack-mounted electric assist system with variable ratios. The wheels are 19s and they house big brakes that grow from 14.2 to 14.8 inches in diameter up front (though the V-6 has 14.2-inch rotors).
Genesis makes more than just the suspension programmable. An Intelligent Drive Mode selector offers Eco, Smart, Sport, and Individual modes to control the steering, suspension, and the engine/transmission. Within the Individual settings, the powertrain has only Eco and Smart modes, while the steering offers Comfort and Sport settings.
From a ride and handling standpoint, the G90 is at its best on the highway. It's about as comfortable a cruiser as you will find, reeling in the miles and soaking up road imperfections with ease, but it tends to balk at twisty turns.
The slight bit of float and instability you feel on the highway becomes more pronounced in corners. The G90 feels like it tilts side-to-side and front-to-rear from a point in the middle of the car, leaning over in turns without taking a set right away. The body even wobbles a bit as it struggles to return to neutral in a straight line. These motions aren't pronounced, but they even occur in the Sport mode and they make you want to slow down on a twisty road.
Like some other luxury sedans, the steering is overly light. Choosing the steering's Sport mode adds a little more heft that helps improve stability at highway speeds. While the 12.9:1 ratio is quite quick, that ratio varies and it doesn't seem to be quick in most driving. Still, it does feel appropriate for a luxury sedan.
2017 Genesis G90
Comfort & Quality
Excellent front seats, an abundance of space, and top-notch fit and finish add up to a truly luxurious cabin in the G90.
We rate the Genesis G90 a 9 for comfort and quality, giving it points for front and rear seat comfort, interior materials, and exemplary fit and finish. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Space and comfort are more than ample. If you can't get comfortable in the 22-way power-adjustable driver's seat, you can't get comfortable. Front head room and leg room are abundant, and the extra wheelbase leaves plenty of rear leg room. The rear seat is optimized to accommodate two, but a third will fit as well. Rear occupants have a fold-down center armrest with a dial to control the audio and climate systems.
Oddly, Genesis doesn't offer any of the rear seat luxuries that make it first-class comfortable for those who prefer to be chauffered. For instance, there is no rear DVD entertainment system, no fold-out tables, no ottoman, and no bottle cooler. Heck, the V-6 model doesn't even offer power-adjustable rear seats. It seems like Genesis is missing an opportunity here.
The G90 offers good storage solutions, too. The trunk has 15.7 cubic feet of space, which is average for the class. In the interest of comfort, the rear seat doesn't fold down, but there is a center passthrough. The front seat features a large clamshell-style center console and a really cool cubby for storing smartphones, complete with a Qi wireless charger. Unlike other wireless chargers we've tested, the angle of this cubby ensures the phone will stay in place so it can charge and at the same time be easy to access.
Genesis went to extraordinary measures to reduce noise in the cockpit. All the doors have three-layer weather-striping, and special double sound-proof insulation is applied to all of the cabin's glass. Carpet and headliner insulation thicknesses are up 20 percent from the Equus, foam pads are added to the rear quarter panels, and a powertrain seal has been applied to block engine noise in the cabin.
Even the wheels and aerodynamics got into the act. The two-piece wheel design produces a resonance effect that reduces tire noise. Underbody deflectors, an active front air flap, and front wheel air curtains cut wind noise while also cutting the air to the tune of a class-leading 0.27 coefficient of drag. The result is one of the quieter interiors on the market.
Not only that, but the G90's cabin is simply stunning. The wood is real ash or walnut, the headliner is Alcantara, and the speaker grilles are stainless steel. Soft nappa leather adorns the seats, door panels, dash, and steering wheel.
2017 Genesis G90
The IIHS calls the Genesis G90 a Top Safety Pick+, federal testers haven't yet weighed in.
A full safety scorecard isn't here yet, but what's in is good so far.
The IIHS calls the G90 a Top Safety Pick+ after the full-size sedan aced every crash test, its headlights received an "Acceptable" rating, and its forward crash prevention systems earned a "Superior" rating.
Our safety score is an 8 for now, but once federal testers weigh in (if they rate the car) it's almost surely likely to rise. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Genesis makes a generous list of safety features standard. The list includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, a forward-view cornering camera, a surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warnings and lane keep assist, blind spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts and lane change assist, driver attention alert, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, and nine airbags (including a driver knee bag).
Many of these safety systems can be adjusted. The lane keep assist can be set to standard or active; standard lets you drift to a lane line, while active keeps you more in the middle of the lane but makes more steering wheel corrections. The forward collision warning has late, normal and early settings, and the lane change assist has normal and late modes. Try these settings to see which you like, then never adjust them again.
2017 Genesis G90
A bargain in an elite class, the 2017 Genesis G90 comes loaded with features in a simple model lineup.
Genesis is offering the G90 in just four models, 3.3T Premium and 5.0 Ultimate, each with rear- or all-wheel drive. The 3.3T starts at about $65,000, and Genesis has not released pricing for the 5.0 yet.
We give it a 9 for features. There's nothing here you haven't seen before—there's just everything. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The 3.3T Premium is loaded with equipment. Standard equipment includes power features; Nappa leather; a 22-way power-adjustable driver's seat; a 16-way power front passenger seat; heated and ventilated front seats; three-zone automatic climate control; a heated steering wheel; a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column; keyless ignition; ambient interior lighting; heated rear seats; and rear-seat audio and climate controls.
The G90's infotainment system knits together a 12.3-inch center screen, navigation, satellite radio with real-time traffic, 17-speaker Lexicon audio, HD radio, Qi wireless charging, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, two USB ports, an auxiliary input jack, a head-up display, and Genesis connected services via a smartphone app.
Other luxury touches include power-closing doors, a hands-free trunk, adaptive headlights with automatic high-beams, and 19-inch alloy wheels. The electronically controlled shock absorbers are also standard.
The only features the 5.0 adds are power-adjustable ventilated rear seats (14-way right side and 12-way left side) with memory, rear vanity mirrors, and LED headlights.
Genesis customers will be buying more than just the car. With every G90, buyers get 3 years each of free scheduled maintenance, satellite radio and traffic data, map updates, and roadside assistance. They also get 3 years of valet service that will come to their home, drop off a loaner, and pick up the car for service. Not having to visit the dealer, no matter how nice it may be, could be the best reason to buy a G90.
2017 Genesis G90
The Genesis G90's V-6 offers similar power to the V-8 with better fuel economy.
As a big car with a lot of power, the 2017 Genesis G90 doesn't put fuel economy at the top of its list of priorities.
We give it a 6 for fuel economy, on the hunch that V-6 cars will be the majority of sales. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The new Genesis twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 is the best choice for fuel efficiency while still offering power similar to the V-8.
With rear- or all-wheel drive, the V-6 is rated at 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined. The V-8's ratings are 16/24/19 mpg with rear-drive and 15/23/18 mpg with all-wheel drive. Both engines can run on regular fuel but premium is recommended.