2019 Genesis G90

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
March 1, 2019

Buying tip

Stick with the turbocharged V-6, it’s the best value and drives nearly as well as the V-8.

The 2019 Genesis G90 full-size luxury sedan is smart money in a silly-expensive class of cars.

We don’t mind that the 2019 Genesis G90’s velvet rope may be velveteen. Our hands don’t notice the difference inside and out—only our pocketbooks feel different.

For about $70,000 to start, the 2019 G90 is a value among luxury sedans—hard to find. It’s not a moonshot, a fire-breathing track monster, nor a tech marvel. It’s an extremely comfortable sedan from an upstart automaker that has proved it can cut costs in secret; we don’t see many places where the G90 saves pennies.

It earns a 6.8 on our overall scale for its serene interior and ride. Other full-sizers do better, but also cost magnitudes more. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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This year, the G90 is identical from last year’s version. It’s offered in two trims that are separated by engine sizes. The 3.3T version is equipped with a turbo V-6 and all the goodies we could as for and the 5.0 version gets a sonorous (but not much more powerful) V-8 and back-seat luxury gear. All-wheel drive is available for $2,500 on both engines.

Every G90 is well-equipped with nappa leather, 22-way adjustable driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, premium audio, a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a comprehensive warranty, active safety features, and three-zone climate control.

The twin-turbo V-6 provides ample acceleration and 365 horsepower. The V-8 boasts 420 hp, but its trick is a better sound—not quicker pace.

Genesis’ money was well-spent on the G90’s supple ride. A sophisticated, independent suspension is complemented with electronic dampers and confident brakes.

Its money was also well-spent on active safety features and advanced construction. It aced the IIHS’ crash battery and was named a Top Safety Pick+ for 2019.

Four adults will ride in superlative comfort, although 5.0 models heap on creature comforts in the rear like an entertainment system and cooled rear seats.

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2019 Genesis G90

Styling

The Genesis G90 glides past on-trend with its subtle shapes and design.

Stepping out on a styling limb isn’t the 2019 Genesis G90’s gift to the world. The big Genesis luxury sedan plays it safe like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Starting with an average score, the G90 gets a point for its interior. It’s a 6. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The G90 nails all the luxury-car high points: long hood, scalloped sides, elegant headlights and taillights, and swoopy fenders. The rear roof pillars are a little frumpy to our eyes, but definitely not fugly. The sedan’s tall windows are a throwback to when interior purpose dictated exterior design—the cabin is airy and light—counterintuitive to today’s luxury trends.

The interior is horizontal and subdued and nothing gets in the way of its stretch out space. Unlike some rivals, the G90 doesn’t offer wild shades (black or beige, folks) for its hides or a “wall o’ screens” on the dash. We like its refreshing approach for its subtlety—exactly what a luxury sedan should be. Details like glossy wood and durable hard buttons are beautifully rendered and not overwrought, too.

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2019 Genesis G90

Performance

No 2019 G90 wants for pace, but it rewards a relaxed attitude with a sublime ride.

The 2019 Genesis G90 doesn’t reach into the performance stratosphere with fire-breathing twin-turbo V-12s or lap times in Germany. It prefers terra firma, where it can deliver a soft and cosseting ride.

We rate the G90 at 7 for performance because of its strong (but not overwhelming) pull from either engine and creamy ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base engine is a 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6 that delivers 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque shifted through an 8-speed automatic. Rear-drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is a $2,500 spend-up extra.

The V-6 pairs well to the 8-speed and both offer luxury-level acceleration without excess. Its fuel economy isn’t punishing, provided you’re just as relaxed as the car prefers.

The V-8 tunes up to 420 hp and 383 lb-ft, but its best trick is a traditional burble—not necessarily acceleration. The V-8 is similarly teamed to the 8-speed and rear-wheel drive (AWD adds $2,500 here, too) but we’re hard-pressed to recommend the bigger engine for the $4,500 upcharge it brings.

Regardless of engine, the G90’s best talents are behind the wheels. The suspension sets a bar for suppleness; two settings for “Comfort” should’ve been our first hint. The front and rear suspensions are both five-link setups, supplemented by electronic dampers that filter out fussy roads.

Dialing in “Sport” doesn’t turn the G90 into a track champion—it feels out of place even on curvy roads.

The G90 prefers a more relaxed pace as a continental cruiser that chews through miles like airline frequent fliers.  

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2019 Genesis G90

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Genesis G90 is a very comfortable full-size luxury sedan with a low price.

Quiet and serene, the 2019 Genesis G90 isn’t a good imitation of a luxury sedan—in many ways, it’s the benchmark for others to follow.

Starting from an average score, the G90 gets added points for good front and rear seats, good storage capacity, and impressive fit and finish. We give it a 9. Perfection requires attention to details that the G90’s base $70,000 price just can’t afford. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front seats, which are heated and cooled in every G90, are power adjustable in ways that we don’t have fingers and toes to count. The driver’s seat bends, slides, raises, lowers, moves, grooves, in 22 ways. The passenger seat does a similar samba, just in 16 ways.

The rear seats are just as impressive, too. Rear-seat riders get more than 37 inches of leg room, which is good among new cars, but a little short compared to other big German sedans. We don’t mind, much. The rear seats are all-day comfortable, and while they prefer two in the outboard position, three across won’t be a stretch for adults.

The trunk boasts 16 cubic feet of space with a caveat: it won’t fold down for more room. We don’t see many G90s in the parking lot at Home Depot, however.

Inside there is plentiful storage and cubbies for all manner of detritus and digital devices. Genesis aims to make a statement with the G90: its fit and finish can stand up to luxury-car stalwarts. The base nappa leather is soft, and although the materials are hardly exotic, the stainless steel, synthetic suede, and glossy wood adorning every interior surface is uptown all the way.

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2019 Genesis G90

Safety

Few cars are as safe as the 2019 Genesis G90.

The 2019 Genesis G90’s safety scorecard is impressive, and it’s not yet complete either.

The IIHS called the big sedan a Top Safety Pick+ this year, thanks to its spotless crash-test record, active safety features, and exceptional headlights. Federal testers haven’t yet weighed in, and we’re not sure they ever will. It’s an 8 for safety for now. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

In addition to its exceptional crashworthiness, every Genesis G90 is equipped automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and a driver attention monitor. The Genesis G90 lacks some of the driver-assistance features found on pricier full-size luxury competitors, but it’s also cheaper by thousands compared to those cars.

The IIHS rated the standard automatic emergency braking system as “Superior,” its highest rating, and noted that the system avoided entirely crashes at 12 mph and 25 mph. The system includes pedestrian detection.

Outward vision in the G90 is generally good, although it’s a very big sedan. Standard parking sensors help maneuver the car around tight spaces.

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2019 Genesis G90

Features

Few cars are as well-equipped for the price as the 2019 Genesis G90.

Finding value among luxury cars isn’t like finding honor among thieves, even if the 2019 Genesis G90 is a steal.

That’s because for about $70,000, the G90 offers napa leather, a 22-way adjustable driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, premium audio, a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, navigation, power door closers, a massive warranty, active safety features (that we cover above), and three-zone climate control.

That’s a lot to get for free, the value is stupendous, and its infotainment system is bright and sharp. We ring the bell for a lack of customizable features among competitors—there are none—but it still gets an 8 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like last year, this year’s G90 is available in 3.3T and 5.0 Ultimate trim levels. There aren’t any options available for either, which is a luxury-car demerit, but no rival can offer the same value.

The 2019 G90 5.0 is all about the back: stepping up to the bigger engine adds power-adjustable, cooled rear seats; a rear-seat entertainment system; and rear vanity mirrors.

The base infotainment system is a 12.3-inch touchscreen that’s responsive, smartphone-compatible, and easy to use. We like it.

We have even better feelings for the warranty, which is near the top among all automakers. Genesis includes a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, including 3-years/36,000-miles of concierge maintenance. That’s right: Genesis will pick up and deliver your car for no charge, which means no more bad coffee and battered mags at the dealer’s service department.

The bad news: The Genesis G90 offers no options, no packages, and fewer powertrains among luxury rivals. Shoppers can only pick a couple of colors for inside and out, that’s it.

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2019 Genesis G90

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Genesis G90 rates well among competitors for fuel economy.

Among full-size luxury cars, the 2019 Genesis G90 is mostly fuel-efficient thanks to a relatively frugal V-6. Among all new cars, the G90 is about average.

Most frequently, the G90 will be equipped with a V-6. The EPA rates those versions at 17 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined, with or without all-wheel drive. That earns a 3 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The V-8-powered G90 sedans don’t fall far from there. Those versions rate 16/24/19 mpg with rear-drive, 15/23/18 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Among high-dollar luxury cars, the G90 is comparable but lacks a hybrid option that others offer. The BMW 7-Series plug-in hybrid rates up to 27 mpg combined, and the Acura RLX rates up to 28 mpg combined.

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$69,350
MSRP based on 3.3T Premium RWD
 
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6.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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