Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B-)

No other segment is tougher to break into than the flagship sedan. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz rule the roost with their well-established sedans. Lexus is the only brand in recent memory to break through with the LS.

But the Genesis G90 is a newcomer trying to break its way in. It's using value as a key reason why shoppers should choose it. Genesis is the recently launched luxury brand of Hyundai. You may roll your eyes at a Hyundai flagship sedan, but we the G90 is a very strong contender in the flagship sedan marketplace.

What We Love About the 2018 Genesis G90:


  • Value, value and value

  • Punchy twin-turbo V6

  • Smooth, quiet ride


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Genesis G90:


  • Anonymous exterior styling

  • Some interior materials don't feel premium

  • Lacks certain tech features


 

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Exterior View (6/10)

Genesis is playing it safe when it comes to the G90's exterior. With minimal curves and sculpting, it doesn't have the visual appeal as many competitors.

The front end is where most people will decide whether or not the G90 works. A large hexagonal grille features chrome slats and trim, flanked by two slim headlights. Compared to the rest of the G90's design, we don't think the front end works. Some might be turned off by the clear plastic rectangle on the grille, as it looks out of place. But it's needed for the various active safety features and adaptive cruise control.

The side profile is very restrained, with minimal lines and sculpting. There are a few chrome pieces and a set of 20-inch turbine wheels to provide some eye candy. The rear end is somewhat plain, with a set of swoopy taillights as tthe only real design touch.

One item we would change is the color. The dark gray on our test G90 made it look slightly boring. Going with white or blue would give the G90 some much-needed presence.

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Interior Comfort, Quality and Ease of Use (8/10)

Interiors are the make-or-break point of flagship luxury sedans. An automaker has to be on it in terms of appointments, features and materials.

On the surface, Genesis does a pretty good job with G90's interior. The design may be somewhat plain, but Genesis nails the ease of use with controls in a logical layout that can be easily reached. For the most part, material quality is topnotch, with Nappa leather, real-wood trim and soft-touch plastics.

But poke around the interior and you'll notice some corners were cut. The steering wheel is wrapped in the same faux leather that's in the Hyundai Sonata. In the center stack, many of the buttons are plastic with a faux-metal finish. We're nitpicking here, but when you're going up against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Audi A8, you need to bring your A-game to all parts of the vehicle. People who buy this type of vehicle will notice.

The G90 redeems itself when it comes to passenger comfort. The front seats come equipped with power adjustments (22-way for the driver, 16-way for the passenger) with memory, heat and ventilation. The seats are very comfortable and provide excellent support on long trips. One nice touch is the seat moving back to allow for easier entry and exit when the door is open. The back seat is where most passengers will want to sit, as it offers an extensive amount of headroom and legroom.

Controls for the climate control and audio system are nestled in the center armrest. If you want to give your backseat passengers a real experience, then step up to the Ultimate. It adds power adjustments, including a footrest for the passenger side, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Trunk space measures 15.7 cubic feet, which puts the G90 on the low end of the class. Like other cars in the class, the G90 comes equipped with a power opening/closing trunk lid.

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Technology (8/10)

There's a lot to like about the G90's infotainment system. All 2018 Genesis G90s come with a 12.3-inch widescreen with two sets of physical controls - two rows of buttons on the center stack and a controller knob on the console. The screen is very vibrant and easy to read at a glance. We like that you can split the screen to have two different functions, such as navigation and audio. Moving around the system is a breeze, thanks to a logical menu structure and easy-to-use controls.

Disappointingly, the G90 trails competitors by not offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, or Wi-Fi connectivity.

A full-color heads-up display is standard and provides information such as speed, navigation and the set distance for the adaptive cruise control system.

Fuel Economy (7/10)

The 2018 Genesis G90's 3.3T HTRAC AWD is EPA-rated at 17 city/24 highway/20 combined. Our average for the week was 20.2 mpg. The numbers remain the same if you opt for rear-wheel drive. Go for the 5.0L V8 and the numbers drop to 16/24/19 for RWD and 15/23/18 for AWD. This is about average for the class.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

Consumer Reports reports the 2018 G90 is predicted to have average reliability. At the time of this writing, J.D. Power hasn't issued any ratings in terms of reliability or initial quality on the model. But as a brand, Genesis ties Kia and Porsche for having the best initial quality ratings.

Safety (9/10)

Genesis fills the G90 with a large amount of standard safety equipment. This includes a full set of airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control; a 360-degree view camera system; adaptive cruise control; automatic high beams; blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert; forward automatic emergency braking; forward collision warning; lane departure warning; lane keep assist and parking sensors. Competitors such as the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class have a number of these features as options.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 2018 G90 very highly, with its top honor of Top Safety Pick+.

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Performance (9/10)

Genesis offers two engines for the G90. The base Premium gets a twin-turbo 3.3L V6 engine with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. The upmarket Ultimate comes with the 5.0L V8 with 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are teamed with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Genesis' HTRAC all-wheel drive is available as an option for both engines. Our test 2018 G90 came equipped with the 3.3L V6 and HTRAC.

Unless you really want the rumble of the V8 engine, the twin-turbo V6 is the engine to get. Despite being down on power, the V6 is just as fast as the V8. Automotive outlets report similar 0-60 mph times of just over 5 seconds for both. A lot of this comes down the engine's strong torque figure at low rpms. The V6 also doesn't indicate that it features two turbochargers. There is no whoosh of the turbos spooling up, a deadened throttle response or noticeable turbo lag. Just step on the throttle and the vehicle goes. The eight-speed automatic is a prime example of refinement as gear changes are smooth and almost imperceptible. The transmission is also quick to respond whenever more power is needed, rapidly downshifting one or two gears.

When it comes to driving, the Genesis G90's mission of relaxed cruising is very clear. Adaptive dampers come standard and do an excellent job of smoothing out the roughest roads. We found ourselves comparing the ride quality of the G90 to Buick and Cadillac vehicles from the 1970's. The G90 is also very quiet. Very little engine and road noise come inside the cabin. The only outside noise someone may notice is the whisper of the wind around the side-view mirrors.

The trade-off for the cushy ride is the G90 being somewhat of a handful on winding roads. Even with the dampers set in Sport mode, the G90 exhibits a fair amount of body roll. The steering can vary from being quite light to somewhat heavy, depending on the driving mode. There's some feedback, which is somewhat surprising for a big flagship sedan.

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Pricing and Value (10/10)

If you want the most bang for your buck in a flagship luxury sedan, look no further than the G90. Base prices for the G90 are $68,350 for the Premium 3.3T and $71,850 for the Ultimate 5.0. Add $2,500 to either base price for the HTRAC AWD system. Those prices include a number of complimentary services, including scheduled maintenance with valet service. This means the dealer will pick up your G90 to be serviced and leave you with a loaner.

Our test G90 Premium 3.3T HTRAC came to an as-tested price of $71,825 with the destination charge. Considering you have to spend easily $10,000 to $20,000 on competitors to match the G90's feature set, it's quite the steal.

For most people, the Premium 3.3T will get you everything you want and need in a flagship sedan. The only decisions you'll need to make are the color and whether to opt for the HTRAC system.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (64/80, 80%)

The elephant in the room when it comes to flagship luxury sedans is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For many, it's the gold standard for this type of vehicle. The S-Class is the leader in new technology, and the current model is no different. For 2018, the S-Class has the semi-autonomous tech that debuted in the smaller E-Class. This allows the S-Class to change lanes by itself when the driver flicks the turn signal, automatically adjust the speed by using map data, and keep the vehicle in its own lane. The S-Class also has one of the classiest interiors with high-quality materials throughout, a modern design and a number of comfort options. It does come at a significant cost, with a base price of $89,900 for the S 450, climbing up from there.

An interesting alternative to the Genesis G90 is the Lincoln Continental. Like the G90, the Continental offers a very spacious cabin with comfortable seats. There is also a long list of standard equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, an LTE data connection with Wi-Fi connectivity and soft-close rear doors. Lincoln also offers pick-up, delivery and a loaner vehicle when the Continental needs to be serviced. But the Continental has some glaring issues. For one, many of the interior switches are borrowed from downmarket Ford models. And the V6 engines lag behind the competition in terms of fuel economy.

If you consider the 2018 Genesis G90 on value alone, it's a huge winner. But there is so much more to the G90. Genesis built a sedan that can rival the best in terms of ride comfort, quietness, performance and overall feature set. There are some issues that need to be addressed with the G90. Cutting corners on certain interior materials is a huge no-no and one buyers will notice. The lack of certain tech features and an anonymous design also hurt the G90. But the big issue facing the G90 is the lack of a killer item. Aside from price, the G90 doesn't have that one thing which sets it apart from the competition. A flagship sedan is the brand's shining star, showing everyone their idea of what it means to be the best.

The good news for Genesis is the G90 has certain elements in place to reach this point. It just needs a bit more finessing.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - AWD
3.3T Premium 3.3T Premium AWD V6 AWD 70850
5.0L Ultimate 5.0L Ultimate AWD 8 Cylinder AWD 74350
Sedan - RWD
3.3T Premium 3.3T Premium RWD V6 RWD 68350
5.0L Ultimate 5.0L Ultimate RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 71850

Comparison of 2018 Genesis G90 with Similar Cars

2018 Genesis G90 MSRP Invoice
2018 Genesis G90 $68,350 $63,991
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Maserati Ghibli $73,050 $0 2018 Genesis G90 VS 2018 Maserati Ghibli
2018 Lexus LS 460 $75,000 $69,000 2018 Genesis G90 VS 2018 Lexus LS 460
2018 BMW M3 $66,500 $62,345 2018 Genesis G90 VS 2018 BMW M3
2018 Jaguar XJ $75,400 $70,876 2018 Genesis G90 VS 2018 Jaguar XJ
2018 Acura RLX $54,900 $50,947 2018 Genesis G90 VS 2018 Acura RLX

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Genesis G90 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Genesis G90 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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