Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2019 Genesis G90 sits on its own particular cloud in the rarefied air of large-luxury sedans. It comes with a lot of standard equipment, including a lush Lexicon sound system, at comparatively low prices. And if cars had middle names, the G90’s would be “Comfort.”
You'll Like The 2019 Genesis G90 If...
Perhaps you’re a chief financial officer and want everyone in the company’s parking lot — from the chairman to the janitor — to know that you deserve a luxury car, but also want to send the message that you’re not a spendthrift. The G90 is an effective and subtle way of doing that.
You May Not Like The 2019 Genesis G90 If...
You’re the chairman of a company and feel you deserve the innovation, engineering and cachet of a well-established luxury marque like Mercedes-Benz. Which also lets everyone in the parking lot know that you’re more important than the chief financial officer.
There are no changes to the Genesis G90 for this model year. But prospective buyers might be pleased to know that the G90 has now been named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Just because Genesis is a newcomer to the luxury-car game (having spawned from the Hyundai Genesis and Equus sedans a few years ago), the cabins are still put together with the same kind of skill and fine materials that can be found in more well-known and appreciably more expensive rivals. Soft and supple Nappa leather adorns the seats, door panels and armrests. The wood trim comes from actual trees, while the stainless-steel speaker grilles are complemented by metal-effect switches and buttons. If there’s one complaint, it’s that the basic layout, ergonomics and infotainment display are like the equivalents in mass-market Hyundai vehicles.
Handsome, conservative and kind of forgettable. The Genesis G90 sports a large grille, but not too large (unlike some rivals). There’s a subtle bulge to the hood, creating a line that extends along the flanks and eventually blends with the taillights. A chrome strip accentuates the length of the doors, and wraps around the back of the car, dividing the bumper. The overall effect is one of understated presence and authority. It doesn’t make any strong statements, but that could be a virtue as the years pass. We’re more interested to see how Genesis develops its design language in future models.
Working on the premise that no one buys a large-luxury sedan because they want a sporty drive (unless it’s a BMW 7 Series), then there’s no criticism of the Genesis G90 for having a comfortable ride quality. Not too soft or car-sick-inducing, but as forgiving as a grandparent. In a moment of mischief, the driver might click through the driving modes and select Sport — such as when a long, sweeping, fast freeway onramp comes up — and feel a small thrill of satisfaction as the suspension tightens, the throttle becomes more responsive and the transmission holds a lower gear for longer. But the G90 is more about remaining at freeway speeds for hours at a time and still arriving at journey’s end with minimum fatigue, thanks to a tranquil and accommodating cabin.
The rear-drive 2019 Genesis G90 3.3T starts at $69,345, which is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) plus a destination charge of $995. The 2019 G90 5.0 Ultimate starts at $73,845. All-wheel drive is an extra $2,500. For some context, the Lexus LS starts at around $76,000, the BMW 7 Series is priced from approximately $85,000, and we’re in the region of $92,000 for a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. So for all that equipment, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, free service valet and many other positives, the G90 is a relative bargain. Check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to find out what others in your area paid for their new Genesis G90. Resale values should be about average for this class of vehicle, but not up to Lexus levels.OK, so what’s next?I’m interested in the newest version of this car. What’s for sale near me?I’m interested in this car, and I’d like to trade in my current car while I’m at it.Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.
The entry-level 2019 Genesis G90 3.3T Premium has every essential ingredient in the luxury-flagship-sedan recipe. Including the aforementioned advanced safety features and fine leather upholstery, plus a 22-way power-adjustable/heated/ventilated driver’s seat, 16-way-power front-passenger seat, 12.3-inch infotainment display, 17-speaker/900-watt Lexicon audio system (the other car company to use Lexicon is Rolls-Royce, so it sounds pretty darn good), power sunshades for the rear window and the rear-side windows, 360-degree camera system, and free service valet. And this is the entry-level version, remember.
Buyers may order any version of their new Genesis G90 with all-wheel drive, regardless of engine. The G90 5.0 Ultimate is the version to go for if the 3.3T is not quite lavish enough. This includes those adjustable rear seats with power head restraints and memory settings, a rear-seat entertainment system with a pair of 10.3-inch high-resolution screens, plus a muscular 5.0-liter V8 engine.
STANDARD SAFETY SUITEThe proliferation of advanced safety features can only be a good thing. Forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with a stop/go function, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, head-up display, and driver-fatigue monitoring are all standard in the 2019 G90. REAR SEATFor those whose idea of a pleasurable drive is to spend it all in the back, the Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate trim level brings independent adjustment of the two outboard seats, with memory settings.
Under the Hood
The G90 runs with either a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 or a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. Although the V8’s 420 horsepower is substantially greater than the V6’s 365, their torque figures are closer: 383 to 376 lb-ft. And torque (which affects the rate of acceleration) is more easily perceived and more welcome in day-to-day driving. So the main reason for choosing the V8 is probably for all the extra equipment that accompanies it. Both engines require premium fuel and quite a bit of it; 24 mpg on the highway is not as good as the BMW 740i, Cadillac CT6 or Mercedes-Benz S550. All G90 versions use an 8-speed automatic transmission, with rear-wheel drive (RWD) as standard or all-wheel drive (AWD) available as an option. 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6365 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm376 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 mpg5.0-liter V8420 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm383 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg (RWD), 15/23 mpg (AWD)
The 2019 Genesis G90 is the full-size flagship sedan from Hyundai’s fledgling luxury operation. Just as the parent company carved its place in the market by providing well-equipped cars at budget prices, Genesis is doing much the same thing at the premium end of the automotive spectrum. What it lacks in prestige, it makes up for in plain financial sense. Take a German rival like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series, then hit the options list to bring the feature level up to the G90’s and the difference in bottom lines will be dramatic. Yet the G90 still enjoys excellent build quality, top-notch cabin materials, plenty of advanced driver aids, and a refined ride. Against older cars like the Infiniti Q70 and basic versions of the top rivals, this is a smart choice. The designs and ingenious gadgetry of the main players still make them more attractive, but it may not be long before Genesis becomes a more formidable force.