2017 Genesis G90: Bargain Luxury Doesn’t Have To Feel Cheap
By Jason Saini
When Hyundai set out to start producing full-size luxury vehicles back in 2004, they had a simple goal in mind. Offer the same level of luxury as Mercedes or Lexus, but at a fraction of the price. Typically, with luxury products, it’s really easy to spot which car costs less. From the materials and finishes to the features and options, there’s usually way more to the cars that cost more. Genesis is working to change all of that. Starting in 2015, the Genesis name came to represent a brand, and not just a model – borrowing from the success of marques like Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. With Hyundai being seen as more of a bargain brand, we can understand why they went this route.
Now the question becomes, are they succeeding? The Genesis G90 answers that question by giving 90% of the experience you get from the ultra-premium luxury brands at 70% of the cost. While it’s not about to exceed some of the flagship brands in most categories, it does match them in many ways. And with a maximum price of $72k (AWD is the only option, besides the two engine choices) for the AWD 5.0 V8 version, you’re getting a ton of car for your money. Well, nearly two tons – but I digress.
Speaking of luxury and exceeding some of the merits of the top brands in this class, the Genesis G90 is exceedingly quiet in the cabin. It actually either matches or bests the Mercedes S550 in all the different sound measurements, from idle to cruise to full-throttle acceleration. That’s no small feat, and it sets up an incredibly comfortable driving experience. Coupled with the amazingly smooth-ride quality, there’s no mistaking this for a bargain car. The suspension is compliant and comfortable without losing composure, and the throaty V8 engine is serene when cruising and brisk under full chat. It’s really a pleasure to drive.
Interior quality isn’t quite up to snuff, but it’s still a wonderful cabin. Luxurious leathers, wood and aluminum adorn all surfaces. There’s barely a hint of cheap-feeling plastic, and the incredibly adjustable 22-way power seat allows you to tailor the position to suit your body. Perhaps more telling is the additional adjustment that the passenger-side rear seat has, alluding to the fact that Genesis thinks this would make a great executive limo. In fact, both rear seats have incredible adjustment. There’s a flip-down center console with a whole wealth of controls that let the back-seat passengers really take control of the HVAC and audio systems.
The audio system is another area this car stands out – its 17-speaker Lexicon audio system is truly world-class, giving audiophiles no reason to want to upgrade anything. There’s a ton of other great tech as well, including a really ingenious wireless-charging cradle for your phone. A full complement of active-safety features is also included, as well as a 360-view camera system. All features you expect in a flagship car like this.
So how does the overall experience play out? It’s interesting to drive, comfortable to sit in and quiet as if floats down the road – but you’re missing something that’s hard to put a finger on. Maybe it’s simply knowing that it’s not an ultra-luxury brand, and doesn’t have the cachet that others do. That’s entirely possible, as an emotional reason like that would be the only reason not to choose this over its exponentially-expensive competitors. The brand does matter to many luxury buyers, and despite delivering 90% of the experience for a fraction of the price, we predict the G90 will struggle to take market share from its more expensive competitors. And that’s a shame too, because this is a really great car for a really great price.
Special thanks to
Hyundai Motor Company
for providing the
2017 Genesis G90 for review.