The 2018 Genesis G90, the full-size luxury sedan flagship of Hyundai's relatively new premium brand, provides a luxurious interior and a comfortable ride. Compared with more established upscale brands, the G90 has an old-school luxury feel with less emphasis on performance, but only does so in order to help separate the harsh realities of the road from the occupants inside. This is a noble goal, and the G90 does it well, swallowing up the miles on open roads without the slightest disturbance. But it's also held back by an inconspicuous design, a lack of brand cachet, and a mundane driving character.

Best Value

Although offered with a V8 in the top trim, if you're looking for the best value, you'll want to stick with the base G90 3.3T Premium. The V8 is powerful, but the G90 isn't a performance sedan and the extra power doesn't provide much net benefit. Additionally, the upgrades that accompany the 5.0 Ultimate trim really only benefit the back seat passengers, so unless you're planning on being chauffeured, you really won't miss much at all.

Genesis goes the opposite direction of brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW by loading the G90 up with a plethora of luxury features while offering no options, making us wonder if everyone else is just scamming people into spending more money. The only real option is all-wheel drive, but we'd stick with the rear-wheel-drive configuration and save $2,500. All-wheel drive may give a bit more traction in slippery conditions, but a good set of tires does the same.

  • Model: 2018 Genesis G90 3.3T Premium
  • Engine:3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6
  • Output: 365 hp / 376 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain:Rear-wheel drive
  • MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options: None
  • Base Price: $69,345 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:: $69,345

Performance

Genesis G90

The G90 is offered with the choice of two engines: a 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.0-liter V8 generating 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Both are good, but the V6 is the better choice. Although the V8 comes with a nice engine note, the G90 isn't equipped to make use of that power, and the V8's extra weight gives it an acceleration sensation that's largely the same as that of the V6.

An updated interpretation of the all-American luxo-barge, the best part of the G90's performance is the ride. Contemporary luxury sedans attempt to be both sporty and comfortable, largely because of market demands. Unfortunately, these two concepts are often at odds with each other, so in chasing performance, many luxury sedans have lost the ability to cosset and insulate occupants from the real world. This isn't the case with the G90, where a luxurious and comfortable ride has been prioritized. The adaptive suspension offers three driving modes, Comfort, Comfort Plus, and Sport, but don't be fooled, as the Sport setting is still pillowy soft compared to sport sedans from Germany and Detroit.

The supple, high-tech suspension, smooth V6, and slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission combine to produce a refined highway cruiser with excellent merging and passing response, capable of eating up mile after highway mile.

At the same time, the overly light steering makes the G90 feel a bit out of its element on curvy roads, where body lean is all too evident, while the V8 offers only a hint of additional response.

Style

The Genesis G90 is a study in design understatement, preferring to fly under the radar behind a badge that compels onlookers to ask, "What is that?" By its size alone, the G90 manages to command respect, although it hides a nearly two-and-a-half ton girth relatively well beginning with an understated front fascia that displays the largest rendition yet of Hyundai's "cascading grille" design.

A deeply scalloped upper character line starts at the trailing upper edge of the grille, tracing a line just below the beltline, and ends just ahead of the taillights. The rear fascia is equally restrained and features two chrome strips – one just above the license plate surround, and a lower one that wraps around the lower portion of the bumper just above twin chrome-framed trapezoidal exhaust outlets.

The sedate exterior is wrapped around a spacious (113.2 cubic feet), serene interior that's elegant, timeless, and worthy of luxury car status, with a plethora of features that are packed into it at no extra cost. Even base models have nearly everything, including a full suite of driver assistance features, an adaptive suspension, adaptive automatic LED headlights, and a surround-view camera. Additionally, all models receive superlatively comfortable Nappa leather seats that are heated, ventilated, and adjustable 22 ways for the driver and 16 ways for the front passenger. And while the rear bench has been optimized for outboard passengers, there's plenty of room back there for three adults.

A suede headliner, power door closures, acoustic laminated windows, and three-zone automatic climate control are also standard, and nearly the entire litany of standard features found on the G90 would be considered optional in any other luxury sedan, dramatically inflating the price of those vehicles.

But perfection is eluded as the interior is offered in only black or beige, the rear seat doesn't fold (a feature that's standard even on the lowly Hyundai Accent and limits the G90's versatility), while – unlike other standard-bearing luxury sedans – no first-class-like rear seat arrangement with individual reclining buckets and a wide center console is offered.

The Best and Worst Things

The best thing about the G90 is the staggering number of standard features they've crammed into it while still keeping the price reasonably low. Most competitors would charge you for the seat belts if they could, but the G90 has no options or packages, and only two trim levels. It's an incredible value for a luxury car.

The biggest downside to the G90 is the amount of body roll experienced during cornering and on highway entrance ramps. While we praise the G90's commitment to comfort, minimizing body roll without compromising ride quality has been largely figured out by now. Additionally, the light steering can make the car feel floaty without much sensation of control, which can be a bit unnerving on curvy roads.

Right For? Wrong For?

Genesis G90

The Genesis G90 is the perfect full-size luxury car for someone who wants all the amenities of a luxury car, but could care less about standing out or the overall driving experience. Without advertising wealth, it manages to provide everything that makes luxury car ownership great.

At the same time, the G90 isn't for those who enjoy driving. It's just not fun to drive in any trim, as comfort has been given the priority. If you want a large sedan that meets that need, you'll want to look in the direction of the Germans and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, or Porsche Panamera – but be prepared to spend more money.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Genesis G90 is bringing the joy of old-school luxury back and is a smart choice for those who just want a luxurious experience, but it does so by sacrificing performance. It has a great set of standard features, straightforward pricing, and the ability to isolate occupants from the harsh realities of the road. It's every bit as luxurious as competitors, but it does so with a much more modest price tag.