Review update: The 2020 Genesis G90 shows who plays smart with money

by admin July 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Playing it safe when stock charts look like drawings by my 4-year-old is a good thing. Playing it safe with a flagship luxury sedan? That’s not a bad thing either.

At Genesis, the bland G90 was transformed for 2020 into a large luxury sedan atop the automaker’s lineup with easy-to-use technology, luxurious interior, terrific powertrain, and an exterior that I’m buying into—and going in heavy.

I spent a week with the 2020 Genesis G90 running errands and road-tripping to find out where it hits and where it misses against more expensive competitors.

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

Hit: It has chutzpah

The 2019 G90’s exterior was derivative, at best, with bits and pieces from other luxury sedans slapped together. The 2020 G90 is far from derivative. Brash? Maybe, but it stands on its own with a massive grille shaped like Superman’s crest, attractive LED headlights, Bentley-like fender garnishes, and elegant LED taillights that span the trunk lid into the flowing rear fenders. The G90 has presence on the road or parked.

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

Miss: Cool tech that doesn’t work

The G90 includes a Smart Posture Care feature that theoretically will move the driver’s seat for each specific body type to a healthy seating position. It doesn’t. Drivers enter their height, weight, and pants inseam length, and the system runs a posture analysis. The screen will display whether the driver is currently inside or outside of the recommended seat adjustment range. If outside of the range, there’s a function that automatically adjusts the seat to the recommended seating position. I’m 5-foot-10 and it consistently put the seat bottom too high, which would require me to move my eyes too far away from the road to read the analog gauge cluster, and too far back to prevent me from comfortably reaching the pedals. It’s a good idea, but the information input uses ranges, and with two-inch increments for height and 20-pound increments for weight it couldn’t produce accurate results.

 

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

Hit: Luxurious interior

My G90’s brown interior was awash in soft leather, open-pore wood, silver plastics, and soft-touch materials. The seats featured stitched patterns with black piping for an elegant— not over-the-top—look. The easy-to-use 12.3-inch touchscreen was inset into a cove that was integrated well into the dashboard. In an era of cheap-looking digital gauge clusters, the G90’s analog setup with a 7.0-inch LCD display sandwiched between the tachometer and speedometer was both welcomed and refreshing.

Miss: …but it’s a bit boring

The G90’s interior is a lovely place to spend time. It’s spacious, comfortable, and sturdy with high-quality materials, but it’s not daring or as bold as the exterior. Intricate door panel designs with cloth, metal, or crystal are nowhere to be found, unless you walk over to a Lexus dealership and check out an LS. There’s no club-like LED mood lighting like a BMW 7-Series. No wall of screens on the dashboard like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The G90 is a calm place, but it’s not exciting or gorgeous.

 

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

Hit: Reasonably efficient

Most G90s will have a 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6 under the hood with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties are handled by an 8-speed automatic. In base form, only the rear wheels are driven, but my tester had an available all-wheel-drive system with EPA ratings of 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined. Around town, I averaged 16.3 mpg on a hot and muggy day that put a heavy load on the cooling system. On a highway road trip of more than 400 miles with two adults, two kids, a full trunk of luggage, and a dog, the G90 averaged 27.1 mpg, which handily beat the EPA rating of 25 mpg highway. Impressive.

 

2020 Genesis G90

2020 Genesis G90

Miss: About those rear doors

The rear seat of the G90 is massive. Like, Olympic-size stretch-out room back there. Kids strapped into their carseats can’t kick the front seat backs (parents, take note!). While the rear seat space is fantastic, the rear doors can pose a hazard because they are really long. Children opening the rear door in a crowded parking lot could easily and accidentally open it into another vehicle (Note: No G90 or other vehicle were harmed due to quick reflexes). Planning to have someone sit in back and use those rear doors? Plan your parking accordingly, and take note during the test drive whether the rear doors are usable in your garage.

At $75,695 as tested, the 2020 Genesis G90 is a value that ticks a lot of boxes for those buying a flagship luxury sedan. It has presence, it has a luxurious interior, and it has the technology buyers expect. What it lacks in the form of massaging seats, party tricks like LED interior mood lighting, and a badge on the hood with pedigree, it more than makes up for with a price tag that’s tens of thousands less than competitors.

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2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T
Base price: $73,195
Price as tested: $75,695
EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined
The good: Sharp exterior, luxurious interior, efficient on the highway, lots of rear seat space
The bad: Boring interior, lacks whiz-bang features from competitors, massive rear doors, middling fuel economy in the city.

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