• 2018 Genesis G90

Road Test: 2018 Genesis G90 5.0 RWD Ultimate

A Top Shelf Luxury Sedan at a Bargain Price

The 2018 G90 sedan has a sophisticated look, world-class luxury comfort, a powerful and silky smooth drivetrain and state-of-the-art safety and convenience features.  The G90 is as new as the Genesis brand that Hyundai recently launched and is designed to compete with other established luxury players like the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series and Lexus LS. As we noted when we tested the Turbo V6 model, while much of the car is on par with its competition, the fuel economy lags behind.

2018 Genesis G90

The new face of luxury

Hyundai has been in the luxury market for almost 10 years with the Genesis and Equus models, but hasn’t had any traction. The cars are a minor player with the marque focusing mainly on mainstream and economy vehicles.  With the establishment of the separate Genesis brand, Hyundai concentrates on the luxury market with a very competitive offering, the G90.   Genesis has some stiff competition, but with the G90 they have a very decent offering.

The Genesis G90 cuts through the clutter with a very simplified offering.  Options are few—pick rear or all-wheel-drive, the standard 365-hp 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, or the upscale Ultimate version with a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8.  The interior has two color options, black or tan, and the choice of five exterior colors complete the options.

The G90 MSRPs range in from $68,350 for the 3.3T RWD to $74350 for the 5.0 Ultimate AWD.

Clean Fleet Report tested the 5.0 Ultimate RWD with a sticker price of $72,825.  Our fully equipped car had just about every feature one could think of, including 12-way adjustable reclining rear seats.  Upfront, the G90 includes a 22-way power adjustable driver’s seat and a 16-way power passenger seat.  The standard features list is as long as the G90’s 204.9-inch body. 

Drivetrain

The 2018 Genesis G90’s options are limited primarily to the drivetrain, as just about every creature comfort is standard.  Two power plants are available.  The standard engine is a 365-horsepower (hp) 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6.  When we sampled this engine, it was impressive.  The V6 produces a diesel-like 376 pounds-feet (lb.-ft.). of torque from 1300 rpm to its 6000 rpm redline. 

2018 Genesis G90

Two engines–a stout V6 and an even more powerful V8–offer silky smooth driving

Our test G90 this time was the Ultimate version with a 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 producing 383 lb.-ft. of torque.  This V8 had a refined snarl when provoked and had no problem at all moving the two-and-a-half-ton G90 smartly down the road.  We observed zero-to-60 times in the 5.2-second range.

Both engines require premium fuel and have EPA estimates of 17/24/20 mpg for the V6 and 16/24/19 mpg for the V8.  Like our experience with the V6, our observed average mileage for the V8 was 22-24 mpg, beating the EPA estimates. Range is an impressive 400+ miles thanks to the 21.9-gallon fuel tank. Unlike the luxury competition (Lexus, Mercedes, BMW), there is not a hybrid or plug-in hybrid option for either engine.

The two power plants share a Hyundai sourced new for the G90 eight-speed transmission that has extensive weight reduction compared to previous versions, higher efficiency and more compact dimensions. The G90 includes proprietary “Smart Shift and Drive Control” automatic transmission technology that analyzes driving style and adjusts shift character, engine torque response and suspension damping in real-time driving conditions. Our test car’s transmission was smooth and quick and even had steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual control.

The AWD option utilizes the Hyundai H-Trac adaptive AWD system.  This system includes an electronic transfer case with active torque control and offers dual-mode Sport or Normal calibrations.  The H-Trac system is primarily rear–drive biased for sportier handling and acceleration, but it can direct up to 100 percent of available torque to the rear wheels for optimum driveline efficiency or up to 40 percent of available torque to the front axle for driving in snow or ice.

Suspension, Brakes Wheels and Steering

A hallmark of any full-size luxury sedan is a buttery smooth ride with stable, confident dynamics regardless of the road conditions and speed—the G90 does not disappoint in this area.  The G90 utilizes a multi-link suspension with generous suspension travel.  Genesis fitted its Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension (GACS) to the G90. It uses electronic dampening control that continuously adjusts the Sachs/ZF sourced dampeners to control and soak up body motions regardless of the road surface.  Our G90 was always smooth, refined and in control. 

2018 Genesis G90

Big, slick wheels cover efficient brakes

The 14.8-inch rotors with four-piston calipers in front and 13.4-inch rotors with dual pistons in the rear provide the G90s stopping power. The front brakes have dedicated cooling vents in the front bumper for heat dissipation.  The brakes are power-assisted, and we observed firm, quiet, smooth braking during our test with no fade whatsoever.

The G90 sits on staggered 245/45/R19 front and 275/40/R19 rear Continental all-season tires, mounted on beautiful turbine blade9design alloy wheels.

Steering in the 2018 Genesis G90 is a modern rack-and-pinion system with a rack-mounted variable gear ratio electric motor assist.  The road feel of this system was quick with good feedback and a small turning circle.

All of these components work in perfect harmony together with a ride that is just as good or better than any of its European or Asian rivals.  It is fair to say that the car glides down the road with no harshness in any situation.

Interior

2018 Genesis G90

All the luxury cues greet you upon entry

An interior that exudes luxury, quality and excellent ergonomics greets you when you open the door of the G90.   No gimmicks here, except maybe for a symphonic opening flourish from it’s impressive Lexicon sound system, just pure sophisticated luxury.  The interior materials are purposeful and attractive, with plenty of upscale features and finishes.  Nappa leather, wood, microfiber headliner and aluminum accents fill the cabin.  The dashboard’s center stack includes a 12.3-inch high-definition navigation monitor. A 7.0-inch electroluminescent gauge cluster gives the driver total control of the vehicle.

The 2018 Genesis G90’s interior is packed with so many features, that we could write volumes about them, but here is a synopsis:

Power tilt and telescopic heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, HUD drivers display, Sirius XM with travel-link, Lexicon 12-channel 900-watt stereo, with Quantum Logic surround sound, AM/FM/HD radio and 17 speakers, CD-DVD player, wireless smartphone charging, Bluetooth with audio streaming, proximity key with push-button start, Seven color LED ambient lighting, electronic parking brake with vehicle hold, 22-way power drivers seat, 16-way power passenger seat, 18-way rear power seats with recline, integrated memory for seats, mirrors, steering column, and HUD,  heated and ventilated front and rear seats, multi-zone temperature controls for each seat,  power privacy screens for rear passengers, 12 cup holders, Genesis smartphone services including remote start, and about a hundred other things that are detailed in the two-inch thick owner’s manual. 

2018 Genesis G90

A back seat designed for those who are driven

The only shortcoming we saw was lack of smartphone integration with Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

To sum it up, driving or riding in the G90 is a wonderful experience.

Exterior

The exterior of the 2018 Genesis G90 is simple, yet unique, and immediately gives the impression that it is a high-end vehicle.  From the full LED headlights with dynamic bending and tail lights to the 19-inch wheels, the car has a presence that turns heads, especially from owners of S-class Benzes and 7-Series BMWs.  From the rear, the vehicle vaguely looks like a Bentley, but has a more contemporary look to it.  The G90’s body achieves an ultra-low 0.27 CD with active and passive aerodynamic underbody panels that also reduce turbulence and wind noise.

The doors are triple-sealed, with power door closure and feature the Genesis logo on the door entry lights at night.  Genesis badging is very discreet with the small winged Genesis logo placed only on the front and rear, which adds to the mystique of the car.

The very rigid steel body is more than half advanced high strength steel, put together with more than 650 feet of structural adhesives, which gives the car a solid planted feel on the road.  Genesis claims that the body is lighter and stiffer than the S-Class, but at two-and-a-half tons, it is no lightweight.  There are no exotic materials used in the body, which keeps costs down. Aluminum is used only for suspension pieces.

2018 Genesis G90

A touch of Bentley–for less

Safety

The G90 has a segment-leading suite of safety and convenience features.  The G90 earned a good rating in five of the IIHS’s crash evaluations, a superior rating for front crash prevention and has received their highest honor of a Top Safety Pick.  Standard on the G90 are automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection alert, driver attention alert, blind spot detection, lane keeping assistant with haptic steering wheel alarm, adaptive cruise control with automatic start and stop, 360-degree cameras, front and rear parking sensors and rear traffic alert.  Also standard are nine airbags and a pre-active seat belt system that tightens belts when a potential crash is detected.

Finally

The 2018 Genesis G90 is a low-volume, full-sized luxury vehicle competing against some very well-established players.  It tries very hard and shows that being late to the segment is not a disadvantage, as it compares very well to its rivals. The G90’s cabin is a large, comfortable place to enjoy the road and has all of the items that define a luxury car.  The car is understated in its character and does everything very well.  For the luxury segment, it is the value leader, and for those in the market for a luxury vehicle, but not interested in paying for a name, the Genesis G90 should be at the top of their shopping list.

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: Gary Lieber

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