By on December 4, 2018

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t dashboard

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium

3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (365 hp @ 6000 rpm, 376 lb/ft. @ 1300-4500 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

17 city / 24 highway / 20 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

21.3 (observed mileage, MPG)

13.7 city / 9.7 highway / 11.9 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $71,825 US / $84,131 CAD

As Tested: $71,825 US / $84,131 CAD

Prices include $975 destination charge in the United States and $131 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Driving my family can be a harried experience. The pair of tween girls in my brood constantly chatter about whatever both to each other and to nobody in particular. Or they’ll be silent save the bleeps and boops of their cell phones or Nintendo 3DS, playing silly games and texting nobody in particular.

Thus, when the kids hopped in the back of this 2018 Genesis G90, I expected more of the same,  turning up the stereo in reflexive compensation. But, to my astonishment, the girls became immediately calm — the youngest dozed off quickly en route to Grandma’s house, located just across town. Quieting a hyper 10-year-old — that alone can sell a car to moms and dads everywhere.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t profile

Genesis has taken a measured, careful approach to its new luxury line. The styling is demure to the point of being dull — a point driven home by the Himalayan Gray finish found here. It blends in to the parking lot easily. It should age nicely, however. (A 2020 refresh ups the car’s styling game just a bit.)

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t dashboard

The interior is nearly perfect. Seats are among the best I’ve ever experienced, with adjustment options for lower cushion length and for upper shoulder rake taking the seats beyond the usual fore/aft, tilt, and height adjusters. The rear seats have rake and height adjustment, as well, and controls for the right rear passenger to adjust the distance to the front passenger seat. For a chauffeured car, I suppose? The kids liked that feature — which, thankfully, can be locked out from the driver’s seat if your kids are similarly mischievous, and will not function if the front seat is occupied.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t center stack

Take a gander at that center stack — absolutely peppered with buttons. Three broad horizontal rows of matte-finished, metal (probably?) buttons. Follow that with a vertical line of four immediately to the left of the shift lever. While too many cars have had their buttons and knobs replaced with touchscreen functions accessed via layers of menus, this proliferation of indistinguishable protuberances is a little overwhelming. Several of the functions are made redundant by the controls on the steering wheel. I’d rather clean up the dashboard and make the oft-used controls a bit more distinct.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t gauges

The G90 has one absolutely brilliant feature that will likely only be noticed by a few users: the excellent wireless phone charger. Many cars simply use a flat pad on which one can toss a phone, which works well when stationary. However, cars are best used in motion, which means that phone tends to slide around, causing the wireless charger to lose contact — and thus charging functionality — with the phone. I’ve driven other cars with wireless chargers on road trips, only to find my phone dead on arrival.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t cell charger

The Genesis G90, by contrast, has a covered receptacle just to the right of the shift lever that holds the phone at a roughly 45 degree angle downward. It’s narrow enough to keep the phone from sliding sideways, meaning the phone keeps charging. My phone here is a Samsung Galaxy S7 in an Otterbox case, so it’s possible some newer, larger-screen phones might be a touch too wide to charge. Otherwise, it works beautifully. I’m not saying that I’d buy a seventy-one-thousand-dollar car because of the charger, but it’s a damned good charger.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t front seats 2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t rear seats

Driving the Genesis G90 is very nearly what one would expect from a large luxury sedan from one of the established Japanese or German marques, with a couple of minor exceptions that I’ll get to shortly. The ride is sublime, with little to no road or wind noise filtering through to the cabin. Potholes and expansion joints transmit only the faintest thump to the ears and rump. There is absolutely no pretense of sportiness to the handling — everything is refined and reserved.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t front

My two concerns: first, the power delivery is less direct than I’d like. While this same 3.3-liter turbo V6 impresses in smaller cars like the G80 and the Kia Stinger, there is a distinct lag between throttle application and acceleration from both a stop and from cruise as if to pass on a two-lane. Perhaps the shift programming is geared (sorry) more toward the plush, refined feel one expects from a luxury car, but I’d prefer to, you know, go when I tell the car to go. That little extra beat before the call to the engine room is answered is annoying.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t rear

Further, there is a minor annoyance that’s felt through the steering wheel at times, mostly when turning at acute angles. The word that best describes it is “growling,” though nothing is audible. It’s a just a very faint grinding feel through the wheel. It’s as if the all-wheel-drive system is causing the tiniest bit of drag, and that drag is being transmitted to the steering wheel. It reminds me of the drag felt when one tries to drive a front-wheel drive performance car fitted with a very tight limited-slip differential. Again, it’s more a minor annoyance than any serious concern, but when the rest of the car drives this well, little things get amplified. I’d have to drive a rear-drive G90 to determine if it’s the AWD system.

[Get new and used Genesis G90 pricing here!]

I generally prefer a smaller car — I just don’t need the room that a big car gives, and I normally like tight driving dynamics. But the serene driving experience offered by the Genesis G90 makes me reconsider my position.

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t rear quarter

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn]

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57 Comments on “2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Review – Serenity Now...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ve always been a fan of this car.

    I wonder how Genesis would be doing had they not botched their rollout so badly.

  • avatar
    redapple

    2 Points
    1- Nice car I m sure. But, also at 2x the price i expected.
    2- Pix of the Radio on TTAC. Always tuned to cool XM stations. 1st Wave – top marks.

  • avatar
    deanst

    The center consol doesn’t line up with the controls on the dash – it’s out slightly, aggravating my OCD. Either line it up or make it significantly out of alignment.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Take a gander at that center stack — absolutely peppered with buttons”

    Love it

    I actually has some sitting time in this one. Absolutely brilliant inside. Interestingly, same -looking switchgear as you might find in Hyundai, definitely has more refined hardware behind it. Knobs are so smooth in operation. Same knob in Hyundai – disaster

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Oh, look, actual buttons for the heated and cooled seats, and heated steering wheel.

      I’m getting a little tired of having to jab at the touchscreen in my Grand Cherokee three or four times to turn on the heated/cooled seats or heated steering wheel if I don’t catch Uconnect on the splash screen. Why? Because Chrysler wanted to be cheap and, instead of dedicating a spot for a physical set of buttons on cars that have those options, elected to bury it in the Uconnect UI.

      My Lincoln MKS, equipped with MyLincoln Touch, had the same silly compromise.

      What I haven’t tried is using the voice commands for the heated seats. I’m not sure if you can or can’t do that.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        That is aggravating. Even your Lincoln? At least my Mustang has dedicated heat/cool buttons for the seats. Buttons > screen, in all things.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Haha. My experience with Ford voice commands suggests that theory and practice are far apart. But maybe yours will work better.

        • 0 avatar
          WallMeerkat

          Voice commands are far from the futuristic voice activated “Computer do this” we were promised in old movies.

          “Turn heated seats off” …

          “Calling office”

          “No no hang up”

          “Turning heating up”

      • 0 avatar
        bitkahuna

        impulsively i traded in my grand cherokee for a g90. no regrets. liked the gc a lot but found the ride too bumpy (didn’t have air suspension, maybe that would have helped) and found the back seat too cramped. the g90 is one smooth and sophisticated car. a lot of people say “nice car! what is it?” lol

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      The new Lincoln Navigator has a mirriad of buttons and switches too. Looks like the console of an airplane most. This seems to be almost the same. A bit much in my book.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    This looks like a great car to buy when it’s two or three years old – after the initial big depreciation hit.

    • 0 avatar
      bitkahuna

      isn’t that true of most cars? also, if you wait 2-3 years then yeah, you have a 2-3 yr old car, with miles on it, driven by someone else… and in 2-3 yrs you’ll have a 4-6 yr old car, and the automotive world has moved on… but whatever floats your boat… there’s more to life than supposedly ‘saving on initial depreciation’. i like new cars, lol.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I really like the walnut trim in the G90’s interior. I also think the V8 version is the way to go with this car.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Completely derivative design, Lexus dash, Impala steering wheel, Infinti seats. But, if it all works well and feels like quality, good enough. Price is what you pay, value is what you perceive. For this money I’d still buy a used LS over a new Genesis, sorry.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    I wonder what it will take to diminish the “Korean depreciation schedule”? A friend of mine bought a 2011(?) Equus for a song, it has a good ride, spacious, and plenty of options. I think he paid $15k with 33k on the odometer.

    I don’t like buying used cars, but if you know the resale value will drop like a rock, why would anyone buy a new one?

  • avatar
    Dan

    Fixing the “Korean depreciation schedule” first and foremost means fixing the Korean and Hyundai irretrievably screwed the pooch on that. Making Genesis a separate brand without requiring standalone dealerships just put the subprime POS association on their new brand too.

    No point addressing anything else while that elephant is still in the room.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      While Genesis screwed the pooch w/ regard to the roll-out of licensed Genesis dealerships (which is why the G70 was delayed for months), Hyundai didn’t when it came to the Genesis and Equus sedans.

      Both were launched at the height of the Great Recession.

      The credit markets had frozen, so even if Hyundai had wanted a separate dealer network, dealer groups wouldn’t have been able to get the financing.

      Plus standalone stores would never have been able to survive w/ just 2 relatively low volume sedans (it would be like asking Lexus dealerships to survive just selling the GS and LS).

  • avatar
    jmo2

    Keep in mind price is what you pay not what it says on the sticker. You can get $10k off for just walking through the door. Drive a hard bargain maybe $15k. That takes this down to the mid to upper $50s.
    It’s a lot of car for $57k.

    Also keep that in mind when talking about depreciation. The headline number is sticker to priced used not out the door price new to price used.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’ve seen a lot of these in Seoul. They do have quite a bit of presence, while simultaneously not standing out. The restyle is going to look pretty tacky compared to this version.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Take a gander at that center stack — absolutely peppered with buttons. Three broad horizontal rows of matte-finished, metal (probably?) buttons. Follow that with a vertical line of four immediately to the left of the shift lever. ”

    I sort of agree, but …

    People who aren’t using radio are just going to ignore the A/V stack except to turn on nav, right?

    The climate controls look touch-friendly, with their raised-ends-by-grouping, and temperature knobs on both ends.

    I don’t think it’d bother me as a driver, in practice, especially with wheel controls for media.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I like this for a number of reasons but I just think it stickers too high.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Again I’m still waiting for a separate CPO program for Genesis vehicles only. If it includes concierge service like the new Genesis’ do I’d look long and hard at say an off-lease G80 CPO.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Y’know, I’m not as sold on CPO as I once was. Take these two three-year-old off lease BMWs:

        https://www.echopark.com/used/BMW/2015-BMW-328i-3932327e0a0d0cc70321ad129274d9a5.htm

        https://www.schompbmw.com/inventory/certified-used-2015-bmw-3-series-328i-xdrive-awd-4dr-car-wba3b3c56ff547275

        (Additionally, the first one has nav; the second one doesn’t.)

        Basically, you’re getting an additional year of warranty for three grand more, and this is from one of the better programs out there. I’ve found this is typical with luxury makers. That’s a pretty stiff premium for an additional year of warranty coverage. You can buy coverage WAY cheaper than that on the open market.

        In any case, Hyundai warranties aren’t transferrable. I bet they’d sock it to you for a certified Genesis.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          “Basically, you’re getting an additional year of warranty for three grand more, and this is from one of the better programs out there. I’ve found this is typical with luxury makers. ”

          Not Acura.

          Anyway, buy a slightly used Acura under factory warranty for a deeply discounted price–then call up Curry Acura and buy AcuraCare for a song (I’m talking under $2K here), taking it out to 120K miles/8 years.

          As long as the Acura in question is still under the 4 years/50K mark, you’re good go to. This whole concept is a steal. American Honda has the best factory warranties on the market, hands down.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    While I like the G80 and G90, unless you’re being chauffeured around, I don’t get the point of the 90. Sure it’s really roomy, but based on this review, it sounds like there are drivetrain issues that just shouldn’t exist in this class. Maybe the V8 avoids what may be the turbo lag in the v6 or non-responsive transmission?

    In any case, the G80 seems like the one to get. Roomy as a 7 series if I recall the marketing speak correctly.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Its nice, but at a $100k cad hit when you factor in the tax is more than a bit steep.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Genesis G90 is well made and seems to belie the notion that big sedans are also dying makes the case for the very nice Cadillac CT-6 to still exist.

  • avatar
    brn

    Wow, that looks like a Chrysler.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    $72,000?!?!?!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This does not look very roomy nor does it look very big to be a so called flagship. They should have benchmarked an A8 L or a Grange for size and roominess. But I would consider this on the smaller end of fullsize and a V6 on a flagship that’s trying to build a new brand? Laughable at best.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    I like it as an “old school” sedan, the kinda thing that GM and Ford used to build.

  • avatar

    Lets be honest this car is plainly better than anything GM, Ford, and Chrysler have ever produced. GM has just cancelled their best luxury sedan the CT6, so there now no domestic competitor to the Genesis G90. If I am not mistaken the Genesis G90 is motor trend’s car of the year. The Genesis G90 just illustrated how much better Hyundai is at producing cars than the big 3.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The G70 is MT’s Car of the Year.

      The CT6 was never a true “flagship” sedan, and there is the production version of the Escala concept on the way (barring any developments).

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Two turbochargers, and all they have to show for it is 365 HP?

  • avatar
    gman1023

    I sold these for about a year. Nice car. The buttons are most certainly not metal, anyone who has touched them knows that, but they are decent. Not Lexus or Mercedes in terms of tolerance but nice. The 3.3T is adequate, but why would anyone buy it? The V8 with additional “comfort” features is only $4k more and is much more fitting for this car. It is extremely quiet inside (They benchmarked the S-class and it’s quieter than the S).

    Everyone saying the price is too high has no idea what they’re talking about. The Lexus LS which made its name in the US market as being a value leader now bases around $87k sticker. Lexus dealers don’t move that much either. Even a comparably equipped Lincoln or Cadillac is much more. A new S-class will set you back about $100k for a base model. This car is a bargain, especially with the incentives. It’s not quite up to the same type of quality in terms of feel as those cars, but the price reflects that and more when you consider incentives. The G90 is a great value for those looking for a large, traditional (and traditionally styled–looking at you, Lexus) luxury car. It is one of the only options if you want a NA V8. Remember too that the Equus stickered in the $60k range, depending on package. This is a much better car in every way.

    Still, I will be waiting until they are off lease and in the $30k range. Genesis has (or will shortly) a CPO program distinct from Hyundai’s. It will include concierge service and of course continue the warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The buttons/switchgear in the G70 are metal.

      The new G80 is getting a considerably upgraded interior and figure the G90 will do so as well when it’s due for a complete re-design.

  • avatar

    No kimchi for me

  • avatar
    bitkahuna

    the ‘growling’ you experienced is lane assist because you got too close to the side lines. :)

    the other comments here about it being 2x cost what it should are laughable. genesis doesn’t have the brand strength (nowhere close) of ‘established’ luxury brands, but the quality, refinement and features of the g90 are excellent and it’s still prices 20k+ below what anything comparable costs.

    i thoroughly enjoy mine… no regrets.

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