Friday, February 10, 2017



It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of vehicle coming out of a Hyundai plant carrying a price tag of over $70,000 was as farfetched as the notion of self-driving and flying cars.

Well, today self-driving cars are, if not around the corner, getting closer, Uber has asked a NASA engineer to do research on flying cars, and Hyundai indeed has on the market a sedan that is very worthy of such a lofty price tag.

It’s the Genesis G90, and don’t make the mistake of calling it a “Hyundai Genesis G90.”

The South Korean company has made the Genesis marque its own separate luxury brand, pretty much like other Asian automakers such as Toyota with Lexus, Honda with Acura, and Nissan with Infiniti have done.

The 2017 G90 serves as the flagship sedan of the burgeoning Genesis lineup, the larger of the two models currently offered. The G90 essentially is a new version of what was once the Hyundai Equus, the company’s first luxury entrant in the U.S. The G80 takes over what was the 2016 Hyundai Genesis sedan.

The G90 is offered in two versions with the 3.3T Premium coming with a 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine for a base price of $69,050 (with the $950 destination and delivery added in) and the 5.0 Ultimate featuring a 5.0-liter turbo V8 checking in at $70,650. That’s for the rear-wheel-drive versions. Available AWD adds $2,500.

The G90 for my test drive was the Ultimate trim with RWD and came with a long list of standard equipment, like a full-color heads-up display for speed and navigation display, a navigation system with a 12.3-inch screen, multi-view camera, blind-spot detection, front and rear park assist, lane-keep assist, surround sound audio system, wireless device charger, Nappa leather throughout, a suede headliner, three-zone climate control, sunroof, and acoustic laminated windows.

The driver’s seat on the G90 Ultimate is power adjustable 22 ways, the front passenger seat 16 ways, the right rear passenger 14 ways, and the left passenger seat 12 ways. All are heated and ventilated. Even the Princess and the Pea would be comfortable in these seats.

You can adjust interior ambient lighting to your liking, and lamps mounted in the exterior side mirrors illuminate the ground as you approach the vehicle.

In other words, the G90 Ultimate with its V8 power offers all the luxury of a top-of-the-line luxury vehicle, including the traditional leaders from Europe but for much less money (competitors check in around $20,000 higher and that’s before you start adding option packages) and is only slightly more than the V6.

Frankly, though I haven’t driven the V6, I’d have to say the V8 is worth it. It is rated at 420 horsepower with 383 pound-feet of torque available. It does drink premium fuel, but does so at a rate of only 16 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway, and 19 combined, only a mile-per-gallon off that of the V6 with its 365 hp and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. An 8-speed transmission is common throughout the lineup. It is shiftable via steering wheel-mounted paddles, though, quite frankly, I never bothered.

You can set the G90 in one of four different driving modes: Eco for fuel saving, Smart for normal conditions, Sport for a more dynamic performance, or Individual, for customized settings. In any setting, you get a pleasant driving experience with the kind of throttle response, quietness, and smoothness expected — no, make that demanded — of the class. Why shift when the car adapts to your own style so readily?

Passenger comfort is A-plus as the G90’s suspension makes the car virtually glide over bumps or railroad tracks but without a mushy feel. I drove it mostly in Sport mode with its firmer suspension setting and heard no complaints from the right side. In fact, just the opposite.

At least for now, you won’t find standalone dealerships for the Genesis but there are separate showrooms in Hyundai dealer facilities. Customer-driven programs for Genesis buyers include valet service appointments (with a complimentary courtesy car), complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles and Genesis Connected Services for three years or 36,000 miles. Connected Services includes such cloud-connected features as Destination Search Powered by Google, remote door lock/unlock, car finder and stolen vehicle recovery, among other things.

In other words, typical features of what luxury shoppers/buyers expect these days.

What I liked about the 2017 Genesis G90: I didn’t get into all the technology that comes with the G90, but it’s considerable. The good thing about is that basic systems, like nav and audio, are very intuitive to operate. If it doesn’t develop something from scratch, Hyundai seems to have the knack of taking the best features of the techno stuff its competitors offer and dumbing it down so you don’t need to dive into the owner’s manual to get it to work.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Genesis G90: The nav system, while pretty easy to set up, wanted to take me on a strange route to at least one destination I inputted. I knew the general area where I wanted to go, but needed the final turns outlined for me. I thought the system was having me avoid tolls, but the settings didn’t require that so I don’t know where it would have taken me. But it would have been longer. Also, the wood trim, though real, has a plastic look about it.

Would I buy the 2017 Genesis G90? Yes. Unless you are a brand snob and just have to have a European import, there’s no reason to skip over the Genesis.

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