By on August 18, 2020

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 is not readily available.

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.

2020 Genesis G90 3.3T AWD Premium

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.

2020 Genesis G90 3.3T AWD Premium

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]

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43 Comments on “2020 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium Review – Upstart Luxury...”

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    A Genesis G70 was aggressively tailgating in moderate traffic on the Interstate. It made me think – A *real* luxury car owner would pay up and cruise in the adjacent toll lanes that were wide open. ;)

  • avatar

    As I learn more about it, I like it less, unfortunately. It sounds kinda mediocre here.

    And I hate the new grille.

    • 0 avatar

      The grill looks more fitting on thr GV80. Gensis is still 2nd tier luxury with only remote EV plans based off current t Hyundai’s.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’d still rather have a Genesis than a Buick ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Genesis is 2nd tier along with Lexus and Infiniti, and ahead of Acura (tier 2.5) which has an ATP $9k lower than the other 3.

        Genesis incentive spending relative to ATP is on par with Lexus and lower than for Infiniti and Acura (both among the highest in the industry).

        Once the new G80 and GV80 launch, should pull ahead of Lexus when it comes to ATP.

        As for electrics, pretty much all automakers are basing their electrics (for various brands

        • 0 avatar

          …brands) on the same skateboard platform(s).

          Audi, Porsche and VW will be using the same platform(s) for their dedicated BEVs.

          Same goes for GM with Cadillac, Buick and Chevy.

          GM will also be manufacturing several BEVs for Honda/Acura.

          Plus, Genesis will still have a lineup of electrics based on their RWD ICE platform,
          Ike the upcoming eG80 and eGV70.

          At least they don’t have a lineup full of FWD models like the Japanese.

    • 0 avatar

      This gives a vibe of the Lexus ES350 from a couple generations ago on the side, and an inoffensive look in the rear.

      But speaking of Lexus, one of their designers is obviously working for HyundKia, given the obnoxiously-overdone grille!

    • 0 avatar

      From other photos I’ve seen the interior is beautiful, but the exterior is awful in many ways. The grille, yes – I like a Lexus grill better – but the wheels are obnoxious, the headlights and fender decor seem gimmicky, and I’ve seen the rear on about 100 different cars.

      My feelings extend to the entire Genesis lineup, except for the G70.

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty much the last of the RWD lux barges (can still take a corner, but carries a lot of eeight).

      That being said, both C&D and MT have this ranked ahead of the 7 Series and LS.

  • avatar

    Despite being down on paper the 3.3T holds its own against the LS500 and Continental 3.0T.

    The big reason to go for the V8 isn’t “thrust”, it’s power delivery. The Tau excels at the naturally-aspirated(!) “it advances” luxury car experience. As an owner of this turbo-6 (granted with more aggressive trans tuning), I don’t really consider it a luxury car engine.

    Other than the lace wheels (which I love), I don’t care for the refresh. The rear end looks cheaper, the interior lost the classic “walnut-clad smoking room” vibe, and the front end is controversial. I don’t really like the new G80 either so I guess I’m sort of falling out of love with Genesis. Which I’m sure means they’ll have record-breaking sales soon.

  • avatar

    The exterior design does not suggest luxury – it is too evident a copy of a Merc S-Class from the side and there is nothing expensive looking about that grille. Genesis is obviously following the Lexus model to establish itself. But I was looking at an old C/D recently that had an ad for the an early generation LS and comparison test of the second ES. While Lexus was definitely trying to give the LS some S-Class character it was much more elegantly done and carried down to the then new ES. Granted I don’t know that you can call Lexus’ current design language elegant, but it least looks expensive. Genesis looks Chinese or Russian by comparison to Lexus or any of the German luxury brands.

    • 0 avatar

      “While Lexus was definitely trying to give the LS some S-Class character it was much more elegantly done”

      I don’t know that I agree with you there. The exterior of the original LS was as much a Mercedes ripoff as the G90 ever was and the interior of the 1G LS wan’t exactly what I’d consider “elegant.

      The big things that Lexus gave people was (1) The highest degree of build quality and durability ever seen in a car to that time and (2) a pampering sales and dealer experience (3) a much lower price compared to the Germans. Genesis does deliver on 3 and their materials are acceptable for the price point. However, they struggle mightily on 2 and can’t match the lofty expectations on 1 (although I do think you’ll live easier with a G90 for 10 years vs a 7-series).

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, I walked past one while walking the dog in Newport while on vacation. Being a car guy we pick up on body lines and car styles. I walked right past this G90 and caught the Mercedes wheels and had to look back to see it as I past right by it.

    • 0 avatar

      Looks little like the S Class at the greenhouse (which has a curved greenhouse); the S Class is more rounded and looks softer than the G90.

      Now, the LS430 was a “copy” of the S Class of its Era – being one of the rare times when one automaker publicly called out another for copying (the most recent example of that is Bentley calling out Lincoln over the Continental).

  • avatar

    Looks like the 04-12 Avalon, which I think is the best looking Avalon yet.

  • avatar

    Those are the worst looking wheels I’ve seen since the 90s.

    I can’t put my finger on it but something about this car just doesn’t do it. It might be that it feels a bit like its checking the luxury boxes but it doesn’t all seem to work together.

    I’m not sure Genesis has much more room to get this brand established.

  • avatar

    That panel on the grill would drive me insane. And after spending 79K on a 30K Hyundai? Why didn’t I buy (lease) a 3-series?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I happen to quite like the sleeper look of the 2017-2019 G90, and would totally get one. In fact, I’m considering doing so.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a G80 3.8L recently while the Kia was in the bodyshop and it was a really nice car. If it is obviously inferior to something like a 530i then I’m not calibrated precise enough to tell.
      However, a lot of the upcoming changes to the car are taking away things that I liked about it.

    • 0 avatar

      Colleague of mine has a ’16 G80 and I agree, it is a handsome car that is capable. Having spent a lot of time in his, there are some things that you don’t notice until you’ve owned it for a while:

      1. Pretty significant plastic on plastic squeaking while driving
      2. Sunroof shudders over road imperfections
      3. Engine gets coarse when pushed hard
      4. Infotainment was (for the period) mediocre

      None of these are deal breakers, especially at the price point, but if you’ve spent an extended amount of time in an equivalent 5-Series or E-Class in comparison, a lot of these little things add up to ‘cheapen’ the Genesis. It’s a great car, but the Germans have put a lot more money into the little details that make the experience nicer.

      Again, kudos to Hyundai for building a very competitive product, but those little details really do add up.

      • 0 avatar

        You really find the 4-cylinder E-class and 5-Series circa 2016 to have more engine refinement than the Genesis V6? I can’t agree there. The E300 from those years is especially bad and I believe was also considerably slower than the G80 3.8L.

        Now if you are considering “equivalent” to mean 540i and E400 then you’re probably right but I guess you get what you pay for. But, if I’ve only got $45K in my pocket, I’d go with the Hyundai.

        • 0 avatar

          @ajla –

          No, I’m talking 6-Cyl to 6-Cyl comparison. As I said, you have to pay for it, but the Germans, at least in the 2016 comparison, still have a notch above when it comes to refinement.

          The same comparison has been made when you pit the G70 next to the M340, for example: The equivalent BMW is a $10,000 premium. Dollar for dollar, that looks great.

          • 0 avatar

            “The same comparison has been made when you pit the G70 next to the M340”

            Tell me about it. M340i vs TLX Type-S vs Supra vs CT5-V vs G70 (assuming it gets a power bump) vs Stinger (assuming it gets a power bump) is my ultimate 1st world problem.

          • 0 avatar

            Supra looks downright nasty, is a BMW, and an embarrassment to the Supra name.

            Cross that off the list.

          • 0 avatar

            What would you recommend as a $45K-$55K over-steery sports car with a good automatic and a sub 12.5 quarter mile time that won’t require me to start a Youtube channel to document repairs (if I went used)?

          • 0 avatar

            Well, you can get a C7 all day for that money, or an all-new C8 starts at $59. So one of those with 200 miles on it is also on your price range.

          • 0 avatar

            I like the C7 but unfortunately its automatic transmission is unreliable. Maybe within the next 2 years there will be a permanent solution for it.
            Not sure on the C8. I’ve not been a huge fan and think I’d rather have any of those sedans I listed over it.
            RC-F might be an option if the Toyota tax isn’t too bad. I think a used C63 would be too much of a shop diva for me.

          • 0 avatar

            I like the G70 and RC-F ideas of this list.

            Have a feeling the new TLX won’t be that hot.

          • 0 avatar

            A straight-6 is simply going to be more “refined” than a V6.

      • 0 avatar

        In terms of interior appointment, the G80 was behind the Germans until this latest iteration.

        Infotainment was behind as well as it was just the Hyundai system (while one of the best for a mainstream brand, clearly not a lux brand infotainment system); this too, has been addressed in the latest G80.

        Panoramic sunroof tend to shudder, leak and implode no matter the make (which is why try to avoid them, if possible).

        There are Mercedes with coarse engines and interiors of Mercedes (no matter, the price point) are notorious for squeaking when pressed upon.

        One area where Genesis was ahead (even before the new G80) is the highway drive assist (considered to be among the best in the industry and better than the Germans).

    • 0 avatar

      I just saw a’17 G90 5.0 Ultimate with 51k miles listed for $33,500 at a Chevy/Buick store outside of Baltimore. Sticker price was around $72k. A lot of car for the money.

  • avatar

    Break up that grille a bit, possibly by putting the badge inside. As it sits it looks like a boil on a mouthbreather.

  • avatar

    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.”

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

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

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