2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium Review - Upstart Luxury

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium Fast Facts

3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (365 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 376 lb-ft @ 1,300-4,500 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
17 city / 25 highway / 20 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)
13.6 city, 9.5 highway, 11.8 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$74,700 (U.S) / N/A (Canada)
As Tested
$75,695 (U.S.) / N/A (Canada)
Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and N/A for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared. The V6 must be special ordered in Canada, so consumer pricing
2020 genesis g90 awd 3 3t premium review upstart luxury

Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury arm, is the new kid on the block. And it’s already fitting in well, if not embarrassing the established players.

Consider a flagship luxury car that’s priced below most of the competition while performing on par and offering the requisite comfort and convenience features. The new kid might just be showing up the regulars.

It starts with the mechanical goodies. The twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 underhood is more than a little frisky, thanks to 376 lb-ft of thrust and 365 ponies. While one needs to wind the motor to six grand for maximum horsepower, peak torque is available from 1,300 rpm on up to 4,500. That makes it readily available for passing and merging.

As is often the case, selecting Sport mode makes the car a bit responsive to throttle and steering inputs, and the steering gets a little heavier and tighter, while selecting Comfort softens it up. Placed in Sport mode, it’s no sport sedan, but it’s good enough to spice up your commute, at least a little.

The adaptive suspension (with electronic dampers) certainly helps in this regard, although the picture isn’t perfect. While the ride is smooth, just like the engine, there is some body roll in cornering, and a fair amount of float and wallow is present. I found the car was best piloted in the default drive mode, but if you like your luxury ride to be pillow-like, Comfort is there for you, for better and for worse. The G90 is capable of handling relatively well, considering its size and mission, but it is bedeviled by some of the handling flaws that are often apparent in cars of this size.

In other words, it’s a big car, and it drives like one at times. “Float on” isn’t just a hit from early-2000s hipster darlings Modest Mouse, it’s applicable here.

Snow Belters take note – this car had all-wheel drive.

This car is also a looker. It’s undergone a refresh, with the grille being the most noticeable change among a host of styling adjustments. Only the roof and door panels carry over, yet the grille is the most noticeable difference, along with new wheels.

Yes, that new cross-hatched grille, which is shaped sort of like a baseball home plate drawn by a drunk, is big. But it works. The lower part of the fascia is nicely connected, and a strip bisecting each headlamp gives the car an upscale look. A big part of the reason the big grille seems to work is that it punctuates the long hood nicely.

The car is more sedate moving towards the back, giving off an understated luxury vibe.

The interior of my test car was decorated with nice brown leather that looked and felt upscale. An analog clock anchors the minimalist control panel, and the new 12.3-inch infotainment screen is well-integrated under a dash that gently slopes from the driver toward the passenger. The gauges are big and easy to read. There are some new color and trim options, among other subtle changes, thanks to the refresh.

It’s a roomy cockpit, with seats that are all-day comfortable. And it’s quiet.

[Get Genesis G90 pricing here!]

The price is right, too, with the G90 undercutting most other import-luxury flagships. My test unit cost $75K, with no options.

Standard features included forward-collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, reverse-parking collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, blind-spot collision avoidance, highway driving assist, lane-keep and lane-follow assist, 360-degree camera, front and rear parking assist, safe-exit assist (new as part of the refresh), high-beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, LED lighting, leather seats, push-button start, suede headliner, leather-wrapped dashboard, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, 19-inch wheels, navigation, premium audio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charging, sunroof, power door closures, rear sunshades, multiple USB ports, power trunk, and ambient interior lighting.

A long list of features, nary an option box ticked. You could spend a bit more money for the 5.0-liter V8, but the 3.3T six has plenty of thrust.

You do pay a bit of a fuel-mileage penalty – EPA ratings for the V6 are just 17 mpg around town and 25 mpg on the highway, making for 20 mpg combined.

The Genesis struck me as a bit of an old-school luxury sedan, what the Lexus LS was before it went style wild, with slightly better driving dynamics than that car, despite a bit more float than I’d like. Balanced, understated, comfortable. No daring styling attempts, save the grille. Smooth, easy to live with, not so soft on the road (despite the float) to be slapped with the dreaded “old man’s car” label. An effortless highway cruiser that’s nonetheless somewhat engaging around town.

All at a price that makes BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz blush.

Some folks will dismiss Genesis for being a new brand and/or because of its association with Hyundai. That would be a mistake. Hyundai has shown its mainstream models are no longer the butt of jokes, and it’s now showing it can play in the import luxury segment. It’s no dilettante.

The G90 is very good and very well priced. The old-guard luxury set is now on notice.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Join the conversation
3 of 43 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Aug 19, 2020

    I honestly love it, and I'm liking those wheels - they make me think of a modern take on the "road wheels" that American dinosaurs came with in the late 60s and early 70s. One of the commentators on a YouTube video was bemoaning what they thought were ugly wheels on the G90 compared to the G80. I wanted to reply: "Tell ya what, I'll buy a G80 and you buy a G90 and we'll swap wheels."

    • Ajla Ajla on Aug 19, 2020

      The 5-spoke standard(?) wheels on the newest G80 look like they belong on a 2009 Charger. I much prefer the lace alloys of the G90. I'd say the best move is buy a '19 G90 and then put on a set of '20 wheels.

  • Chiefmonkey Chiefmonkey on Aug 20, 2020

    Grilles are definitely the weakest part of Hyundai/Kia styling.

  • Legacygt Great review. I've only driven one Wilderness model (an Outback provided as a dealer loaner) and I found the handling a little sloppy on-pavement. It's good to hear they managed to give the Crosstrek the Wilderness treatment without hurting the on-pavement experience.And this is the first time I've read a review that dared to criticize Star Tex seats. I find the material interesting and low maintenance and fairly comfortable but I totally agree that it rates very poorly for breathability. It's so bad that I think Subaru should offer it with some sort of ventilated option. 5 minutes on a hot day and you're sitting in a pool of sweat.
  • Analoggrotto Too bad they don't sell Kia Telluride, the greatest selling vehicle in it's class over the pond in the UK who burned Washington DC down but that's ok.
  • Analoggrotto Kia Telluride never faced such problems and now offers a superior offroad trim for those times where soccerdad needs to go get the white claws from costco.
  • Zerofoo There's a joke here somewhere about Tim's used car recommendations, Tassos, and death traps.
  • Tassos Subaru really knows how to take fugly to ever higher levels, and sell every one of the (of course very few) it makes. As if the number of sales negates the fugliness.Don't hold your breath. I bet this will NOT be the vehicle James Bond arrives at the Casino in Monte Carlo with in his next flick. (if any)