Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

A flat tire helps rescue the Genesis G90’s reputation

The 2020 Genesis G90 came for a review not once, but twice. The first V-8 version busted a tire on a pothole after 3 miles, so a 3.3-liter turbo came. It revealed itself to be a pleasant companion.

The Genesis G90 has only gotten a minor refresh for 2020, and at first glance it looked like a 1994 Chevrolet Caprice with Sears wheels. But it grows on you.
The Genesis G90 has only gotten a minor refresh for 2020, and at first glance it looked like a 1994 Chevrolet Caprice with Sears wheels. But it grows on you.Read moreGenesis

2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium: Try again?

Price: $75,695 (No options on test vehicle.)

Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes that it’s the “lowest price in the segment but doesn’t look it, hushed interior, smooth powertrains,” but not “floaty handling offers little driving satisfaction, fixed rear seatback limits cargo space, little name recognition.”

Marketer’s pitch: “Crafted to exceed.”

Reality: A second chance at a good impression.

Dumb luck: The folks at Genesis should consider the flat tire they had to replace on the first Mr. Driver’s Seat test model a good investment.

A G90 5.0 Ultimate showed up during a week I had two test cars, when I was just getting used to working from home, and I confess I was probably pretty cranky. (The Lovely Mrs. Passenger Seat: “Probably?”)

So I’d already spent a few days walking past the back of the car thinking that it looked like a 1994 Chevrolet Caprice wearing Sears aftermarket hubcaps on the wheels. Which it does.

Then three miles into my first test ride a pothole ended the review before it began. (It was a really small pothole, too.)

A second chance at a first impression: This time around, the delivery driver strategically left the G90 3.3T Premium backed into a spot on my driveway. I thought to myself, “It looks pretty nice from the front.” Rather Bentley-like.

Once inside, I found the controls easy to handle and the roomy car luxurious and comfortable.

The Driver’s Seat is a top-notch perch, offering comfort and support in great harmony. It’s also roomy, unlike many new cars whose seats seem to crowd. (No, I’m not gaining weight. You’re gaining weight.)

And it moves 22 ways. 22! I can’t even count the ways, because I run out of fingers and toes.

And while you’re moving all those ways, check out the beautiful matte-finish wood trim on the dash and the back of the front seats.

» READ MORE: Toyota Tacoma Double Cab stingy on space, spendy at the pump

What’s new: Not that much, really, though it does get a refresh for 2020. It’s not often the media site will link back to the 2017 model for specifications, even when there hasn’t been much change, but the G90 press site does just that.

Up to speed: The G90 definitely makes good use of its turbocharger. With 365 horses, the sedan scoots to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, according to Motor Trend. (The 5.0 doesn’t do much better, says MT.)

Shifty: The eight-speed transmission operates unobtrusively. Shiftability is available through the paddles on the steering wheel, and they work nicely as well.

On the road: Though it’s a big, roomy sedan from Hyundai (pretty much), Genesis has removed most traces of old-style Hyundainess. The handling is sharp and crisp in Sport mode — for a huge sedan, of course, but I think Car and Driver was a little harsh in its review. Eco and Comfort are horrible, though, so if you find yourself pining for the 2006 Sonata, there’s your setting.

Friends and stuff: Rear-seat passengers will enjoy roomy accommodations, with headroom and legroom both in ample supply. The foot room, however, is crowded by front seats that sit low to the floor.

The rear armrest also offers plenty of control as well — heating, stereo choices, and even the position of the passenger seat, and folds away to create the loser seat, if needed.

Cargo space is 15.7 cubic feet, a little smaller than I expected from this big tank. Note that the G90 is among rare sedans these days without a fold-down rear seat.

» READ MORE: 2020 Cadillac CT4: It’s like the hip grandpa of the car world

Play some tunes: G90 buyers get themselves an easy-to-see 12.3-inch touchscreen along with a dial to operate it and a row of silver buttons allowing easy use. Volume is handled from a knob on the left and tuning from the right.

Sound from the Lexicon 17-speaker system is an A, definitely top notch. It’s even better from the back row than from the front — this is not a place I usually try the stereo, so I’d better start checking this out more.

Keeping warm and cool: Dials control the temperature and another strip of silver buttons controls everything else. It’s not super-easy to control, but it beats another touchscreen adventure by miles.

Night shift: The interior lights are delightful, as one would expect. The headlights shine brightly in the right spot, as well.

Fuel economy: I didn’t get a chance to travel too far, so the 16.6 miles per gallon observed was probably an underestimate. (Other reviewers have observed better fuel economy.)

Where it’s built: Ulsan, South Korea.

How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts its reliability to be a 3 out of 5.

In the end: Genesis offers great value for luxury buyers, and the driving has gotten a bit better. And the seats go 22 ways! 22!