2017 Genesis G90 – The Beginning of Something Good

Remember when, almost a decade ago now, Hyundai came out with a four door luxury sedan with a V8 of their own design? Fast forward to 2015 and Hyundai spun the Genesis brand off into a standalone company. Today you can walk into a dealership, slap down a down payment, and roll off the lot with the latest addition to the luxury car market. But how does it add up to the more venerable marques?

Well, to begin with, this car is huge. Everything about it is big. The interior is cavernous. The proportions are immense. The curb weight on this car is nearly two and a half tons. The navigation screen is over a foot wide. Good-looking, 19” wheels come standard on all four corners. The back seats have more leg room than some efficiency apartments. This car is big on safety too. There are nine airbags in the cabin, and when you take off from in drive, the seatbelt cinches in gently, like a reassuring hug.

Our press car was the G90 3.3T. It had the 3.3 liter twin turbo V6 under the hood. The engine makes 365 horsepower. That’s one for every day of the year, and it sends it to the rear wheels through an eight speed automatic. This lends some very respectable acceleration to this big car. In fact, with the traction control off, this car will slither around as the wide 275/40 rear tires claw the pavement for traction. But who would do such an undignified thing in a luxury car? If the V6 isn’t enough, Genesis also offers a naturally aspirated V8 in this car that delivers 420 horsepower. Owners can opt for an all-wheel-drive layout too.

All the lux-car boxes are checked, beginning with the one that dictates a high-end luxury must come without a real name, just a series of letters and numbers. The materials used inside feel like quality and the fit and finish are exceptional. The plush carpeting under foot that makes you want to drive barefoot. The headliner is made from suede. The heated and cooled front leather seats are a treat. The driver’s chair has 22-way power adjustment. If you can’t get comfortable in this seat, you don’t need another car, you need to see a doctor. The controls are split between the console and the dash. The A/C and stereo controls are separated and there’s a wheel in the console to control the infotainment system. The front seats are also treated to a wireless device charger. The rear console folds down to reveal an array of passenger controls for the stereo, seat adjustments and a little trap door for access to the trunk.  And of course, no luxury ride would be complete without the obligatory analog clock on the dash.

This car features a myriad of driving aids like automatic emergency braking that detects both cars and people, and will stop the car before hitting either one. It also has the most seamless lane keeping assist that I have experienced. It never feels invasive or jerky. There’s a backup camera that integrates three other cameras to give the driver a simulated bird’s eye view of the car. The ride is hushed and the car feels planted at all times. The acceleration in this car will never get old. Of course, we want to be wafted around in a luxury car, but it’s nice to know that when you put the pedal down the car will react accordingly. The acceleration in this car will not get old soon.

The looks of this car are conservative. That’s not to say it’s boring, it’s just restrained. Call it a handsome austerity. The front offers a big grille nestled between a pair of dynamic HID lights that peek around curves in the road as drivers turn the wheel. In profile, the car looks well-proportioned ensuring this big car doesn’t look ungainly. In fact, looking at this car in photographs you wouldn’t know that it has the immense presence reminiscent of an early 80s caddy. Thankfully, that’s where that comparison ends. The rear of the car is tidy and uncluttered. Overall, there’s a slightly ominous feel to the looks, as if this car is here to do business. Perhaps that’s what Genesis intended with its first flagship car.

So, will we be seeing more winged badges cruising the streets? I’d bet that with a starting price of 68 grand, it depends on which street you’re looking down. It’s less expensive than other cars in its class, but it’s not an inexpensive car. Genesis represents the pinnacle of Hyundai’s emphasis on build quality in the last decade. Combine this slick luxury ride with the outrageously good Hyundai warranty and you get what I think is a winning combination. It’s a brand new marque in a tough field and if you buy one, no doubt, you’ll have to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining what it is. Time will tell how much of the high-end market Genesis can claim.

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