A $70k Hyundai? Say what?! Ok what about a $70k Genesis? - Ears perk up. What is a Genesis?
Well after almost ten years, Hyundai has finally moved its luxury brand into its own sub-brand, called Genesis. That means that the original Hyundai Genesis sedan is now called the Genesis G80 and the old Hyundai Equus is all-new and now called the G90. Even though Hyundai has finally taken the Hyundai badge off its luxury models, should BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus buyers even pay attention? Yes!
The Genesis G80 is largely a carryover from when it was badged as a Hyundai, but the new G90 is a definite departure from the old Equus. The new G90 is the flagship of the Genesis sub-brand and is worthy of that title, if large, luxurious sedans are your forte. The G90 competes with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS - huge luxury sedans!
On the styling front, the Genesis G90's exterior takes a more conservative, yet classy approach. There's a large grille out front (typical of the brand) and strong lines that flow from the front to the rear. Does any of it actually stand out? Not really. Will anyone say, "ooh that's a beautiful sedan?" Probably not. It's styling on the outside is purely meh. It doesn't offend, but it also doesn't really excite like the S-Class.
That's ok, because once inside you'll forget all about the somewhat boring exterior. The interior is cavernous. Think "first-class" seating for all the outboard passengers. The driver and outboard passengers can set the seat to their own preference. Meaning, separate heating, air-conditioning and recline settings. No one should say they aren't comfortable in the G90. It's quite the opposite. You'll never want the trip to end!
Under the hood, the G90 can be powered by either a 365-hp turbocharged 3.3L V6 or a 420-hp 5.0L V8. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is optional. My tester was powered by the 5.0L V8 that only sent its power to the rear wheels. How was it? Strong and competent, but not really significant. The G90 is a huge, heavy sedan, which explains why 420 horsepower doesn't really do much, like it does in a Camaro. Acceleration was strong, but I never thought "wow this thing is fast." The G90 coddles you and your passengers with its soft suspension and quiet interior, but it's not very engaging to drive. The steering doesn't give much feedback and even though it does feel planted on the road, the suspension isn't tuned for fun back country roads.
While its acceleration wasn't real significant, the G90 isn't really about that. Where it excels is on the inside. The interior is beautiful, luxurious and first class - everything you expect in a flagship luxury sedan. There's still only one major issue. Will anyone pay $70k for a car without the cache that comes with owning a Mercedes-Benz or BMW? If Lexus could do it with the first-gen LS, then there is no reason that Genesis can't repeat the same success.
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