When Hyundai launched the premium Genesis brand in 2016, the first model to wear the badge was the luxurious G90 sedan. Just three years after its introduction, the Genesis flagship gets a major refresh that includes extensive exterior and interior updates to showcase the evolving design language of Genesis. In fact, the roof and doors are the only exterior elements that have remained unchanged. The result is an eye-catching style befitting a flagship luxury sedan: the 2020 Genesis G90.
“The 2020 G90 is a flagship sedan for Genesis in the truest sense,” said Executive Vice President and Global Head of the Genesis Brand William Lee,. “Its launch begins a product offensive for the Genesis brand centered around emotive products with exceptional design,” Lee noted.
The redesigned nose of the G90 captures immediate attention, centered around the large Crest Grille —as Hyundai calls it — that now stretches from the edge of the hood to the bottom of the front bumper, flanked by narrow LED quad lamps. We were not enamored with the new grille when it debuted at the L.A. Auto Show in November; however, spending some time with the car during our press drive in Southern California, we have realized the grille of the new G90 works quite well with the overall design.
At the rear of the G90, the updates are equally pronounced with new LED taillights that span the width of the rear and wrap around the corners. The Genesis logo has been replaced with GENESIS spelled out in large letters — as a relatively new brand, Genesis made a wise choice regarding ways to achieve brand recognition.
The 2020 Genesis G90 is available in two trims: 3.3T Premium and 5.0 Ultimate. The trim names say all that is necessary: the top-level features are associated with the more powerful V8 engine. All G90s are available with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
Genesis G90 3.3T Premium
Pricing for the 2020 Genesis models have not yet been released; however, we would expect the G90 3.3T Premium to start around $70,000. The standard equipment list is lengthy, including tri-zone climate control, a 22-way powered driver’s seat, Nappa leather seat trim, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, interior ambient lighting, rearview camera, head-up display, power door closers, matte-finish wood trim, a 12.3-inch HD display screen and a Lexicon 17-speaker surround-sound audio system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard.
Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate
With an estimated base price around $75,000, the G90 5.0 Ultimate upgrades the 3.3T Premium with powered rear seats, ventilated rear seats, cushioned head restraints and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 10.3-inch displays.
All Genesis G90s come equipped with the latest advanced safety features. These include forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection and automatic emergency braking; rear cross-traffic collision avoidance; parking collision avoidance assist with automatic rear braking; driver attention warning; and safe exit assist that alerts a driver or passenger if an object is approaching an open door.
As elegant as the G90 looks from the outside, the interior really shines in the upscale G90. With open-pore wood trim, chrome plating and premium leather, the interior materials work well together to create a clean look. The large display screen is nicely integrated into the dashboard with hard navigation buttons and volume / tuning knobs stylishly located below the vents and analog clock. Ventilation controls are kept separate for quick access and easy use.
The center console houses a large dial and buttons for additional methods of accessing the infotainment system. Also centrally located in the console is a pocket for a mobile device with a wireless charging pad as well as a USB port.
With 22 ways to adjust the front seats, we found them to be quite comfortable as well as good looking with its matrix pattern designed to mimic the new grille.
Genesis offers a Smart Posture Care feature that will assess your driving position. The driver can also enter height, pants inseam and weight to let the system choose the ideal position. This still needs a bit of work — we weren’t very comfortable in the seating position chosen by the car – but it is a great idea.
As relaxing as the Genesis G90 drives, riding in the rear seat is certainly a treat. The large seats are soft and comfortable, and even the tallest passengers aren’t likely to complain about the legroom. The Ultimate adds a video screen display that allows the rear-seat passengers to follow the car’s route as well as access the infotainment system. The right-rear seat passenger can also move the unoccupied front right seat forward for additional lounging space. The only thing the G90 is missing is a rear-seat massager, although now we’re simply getting greedy.
Under the Hood
The 2020 Genesis G90 has two engine options. The Premium is powered by a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, while the Ultimate gets equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generates 420 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are teamed with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission.
Although the G90 is not a car one would typically purchase in hopes of obtaining great fuel economy, the numbers are still a bit disappointing. The 3.3T Premium is rated at 17 mpg city / 25 mpg hwy — the same figures apply for rear-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive versions. The V8-powered Ultimate has a rating of 16 mpg city / 24 mpg hwy, with the all-wheel drive reporting one mpg less. These figures correspond to what we experienced during our drive.
On the Road
Genesis invited a few auto scribes to spend some time with the new G90 in West Hollywood, California, where the G90 flagship felt right at home. From the start the sedan feels a bit like a cocoon — while roads were full of morning rush-hour traffic, inside the big Genesis all was quiet. Power is always available to jump into gaps in traffic, while the ride remains smooth even when the road surface is less than ideal.
On the freeway the G90 easily cruises well above the legal limit if one so desires, delivering a stable, smooth ride — the G90 would make an excellent road-trip car. Genesis also adds Highway Driving Assist for the 2020 G90, which maintains the vehicle in the center of the lane while using adaptive cruise control to remain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. The adaptive cruise can automatically adjust speed based on posted speed limit signs. Although the system is not designed as an autonomous driving system, we did take our hands off the wheel on the freeway and the G90 followed the lane around a curve on its own — we remained hands-free for almost a full minute before being warned to return our hands to the steering wheel. We don’t recommend trying this at home.
Soft in the Corners
While the G90 cruises beautifully on freeways, the sedan’s size is evident when encountering some winding roads. Even in sport mode, the suspension seems too soft as the car leans into corners. That said, on our press drive we were likely pushing the G90 harder than most owners will ever do, and the car still felt solid and comfortable on the road.
Turbo vs. V8
We had the opportunity to drive both the 3.3T V6 and the V8 powered Ultimate. Both offer plenty of potency — acceleration is strong with either choice, while the transmission delivers very smooth shifts for both powertrains. However, if we had to choose, the turbocharged V6 is more responsive at lower speeds, feeling a bit quicker around town. Unfortunately all the goodies that come with the G90 Ultimate are not available on the V6-powered versions; for us this seems like a lost opportunity.
As nice as the G90 is to drive, it isn’t so bad riding in the back. When a chauffeur-driven Genesis G90 picks you up, it’s hard not to feel important. The large rear doors make ingress and egress very easy. The ride is so smooth and quiet, and with the seat reclined and music playing through the high-end Lexicon audio system, it would have been fine to simply cruise around all day in these lovely surroundings.
Right for You?
For those in the market for a big luxury sedan it’s hard to venture away from traditional rides offered by brands such as Mercedes, BMW or Lexus. But the refreshed Genesis G90 stands out from the crowd as something special while still providing a quiet, comfortable ride as well as excellent performance. With prices starting considerably lower than the competition, without giving up any of the bells and whistles, the new 2020 Genesis G90 is certainly a worthy competitor in the high-end luxury sedan market.
Pros: Elegant new look; lavish interior; smooth, quiet ride.
Cons: Top features not available with smaller engine; soft suspension in tight corners; less than stellar fuel economy.
Bottom Line: Major updates make the G90 a proper flagship for the Genesis line.