2019 Genesis G90 review: Luxury's most screaming deal?

  • Engine Turbocharged, V6 Cylinder Engine
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • MPG 20 MPG
  • Passenger Capacity 5
  • Body Type Sedans

Roadshow Editors' Rating

8.0 Overall
  • Performance 8
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 8
  • Media 7.5

The Good The 2019 Genesis G90 offers luxury and driving dynamics to rival German manufacturing for thousands less.

The Bad There are a few tech and convenience features that are strangely absent.

The Bottom Line The G90 is a formidable foe to its German and Japanese rivals, even before you consider its low starting price.

Introduced in 2017, the G90 is now the oldest product in the Genesis portfolio. A brand-new version is coming in the near future, but as it currently stands, the G90 is a compelling car in the face of competition like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, all of which are at least $15,000 more expensive than the Genesis when comparably equipped.

But don't just look at the G90 as a value proposition. This car is a bona-fide luxury contender.

It fools the wealthy

"Is this a Bentley or Rolls-Royce?"

That's an actual question asked not by some zit-faced teenager, but a well-to-do local resident as my photographer and I shoot the G90 on the beyond-expensive streets of Palos Verdes Estates, California. But the G90's design impresses people from all walks of life. A few days earlier, a bus driver pulls up to my passenger side window and hollers her admiration for the G90. As conservatively styled as it is, I'm surprised by the adulation the big Genesis receives, but I also can't blame that bus driver: the G90 is a really handsome machine.

Behind the wheel, I enjoy some of the greatest seat comfort I've felt in any automobile. The G90s Nappa leather seats make a cosseting first impression with their softness, but as I spend more time in them, I discover that just beneath that initial plush layer is an abundance of support. The incredible cradling is complemented by side bolsters that hold my torso snugly through sharp turns without feeling intrusive to my ribcage. I could legit daydream about the Genesis G90's front-seat comfort.

The G90 offers the cabin comfort of my dreams.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

The back seats are a smidge (but only a smidge) less comfortable than the fronts -- kind of surprising, considering that in Genesis' home market, the G90 is mostly a chauffeur-driven vehicle. But really, there's not a bad seat in the house, especially when the front seats and rear outboard seats offer oodles of adjustability, as well as standard heating and optional ventilation.

Measuring 204.9 inches long with a 124.4-inch wheelbase, there's plenty of room to stretch out inside the G90. Yet surprisingly there's only 15.7 cubic feet of trunk capacity. That's 1 cubic foot less than a midsize Honda Accord sedan.

For a car this opulent, I do note a few curious feature omissions. Massaging seats are not an option. The same goes for a panoramic sunroof. But when you consider that the G90 is priced so much less than the Germans, these omissions are forgivable. Despite the value pricing, there is almost zero evidence of interior cost-cutting, from the microfiber suede headliner and leather-wrapped grab handles, to the beautiful leather-trimmed dash and door panels, all the way to the plush carpeting. My only fault? The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are made up of disgustingly thin plastic that creaks whenever you apply even just moderate pressure.

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto -- yep, that's weird.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

The best in outdated tech

We here at Roadshow are longtime fans of the simple-to-use Hyundai-Kia-Genesis shared infotainment interface. That's a good thing, because the G90 doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring tech.

The G90's infotainment software is housed on a 12.3-inch screen that's wide enough to display two forms of information at the same time, such as a map on the left and media info on the right. Ahead of the driver sits a sharp, 7-inch LCD instrument cluster display flanked by easy-to-read physical gauges on the left and right. The legibility continues farther ahead of the driver with a standard head-up display.

Other standard tech features include wireless phone charging, embedded navigation, HD and satellite radio, and a sweet-sounding, 17-speaker Lexicon premium audio system. My G90 tester also includes 10.3-inch screens behind the driver and front passenger seats. Unfortunately, if you're riding in back, you won't be able to play your phone's music through the rear-seat USB port. Instead, your driver will have to plug your phone in up front -- yet another interesting omission from a chauffeur-minded car.

Genesis is more comprehensive when it comes to compulsory driver-assistance systems. The G90 features standard pedestrian-detecting automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beams.

Pure V8 deliciousness.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

A gentleman's punch

With a starting price of $70,345 including $995 for destination, the G90 comes with a twin-turbocharged, 3.3-liter V6 making 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. I drove the V6 G90 a couple of years ago, and found the base engine to provide all the power this 4,700-pound sedan could need.

My $74,845 tester ups the ante with a 5.0-liter V8, good for 420 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The added power is barely perceptible compared with the V6, but the V8's deeper, more sonorous exhaust soundtrack is much more satisfying. Also, the V8 trim bundles features like the aforementioned rear-seat entertainment system, plus ventilated and power-adjustable rear seats with memory, so the $4,500 premium over the V6 seems like a pretty good deal.

Regardless of which engine you choose, it'll be connected to a smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic transmission. For another $2,500, you can also add all-wheel drive with either engine. On Southern California's roads, I was fine with power being sent to the rear wheels only. Stomp on the gas, and the G90 rockets forward with satisfying grunt and barely a chirp from the wide, 275/40R19-series tires.

It's light on its feet considering it's 4,700 pounds.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

The satisfaction continues as soon as I reach a bend in the road. The G90's steering is perfectly tuned, presenting a beautiful crescendo of heft as I build speed and dial in more lock. There's just the right amount of feedback through the rack, as well. The G90 is no sports sedan, but it exhibits competent road manners.

For the most part, the G90's ride is supple, but the springs (or perhaps the tires) could be a little better at filtering out small freeway imperfections. When it comes time to erase freeway speeds, the G90's well-modulated brake pedal brings the car back to rest with plenty of ease.

My G90 tester is EPA rated for 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg highway. After a week and 777 mostly highway miles, I averaged 23.6 mpg. If I'd had the V6, it's unlikely I'd see much of a fuel economy improvement. The smaller engine only beats the V8 by 1 mpg in the city, regardless of whether equipped with rear- or all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive V8 G90, however, falls to 15/23 city/highway mpg.

I want one. I really want one.

Sam Bendall/Roadshow

Value with few compromises

The G90 amounts to a remarkably comfortable luxury sedan that's nice to look at and is pleasant to drive. Accomplishing just those two things is good enough in my book, but the cherry on top is how low the G90 is priced.

Even if buying one new is out of the question, it's safe to predict that the big Genesis will be an absolute steal after a few years of depreciation.

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