Our 2017 Genesis G90 Soothes, Cossets, and Generally Impresses for 40,000 Miles

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Unlike some vehicles that only reveal their true personalities after you spending months in close contact, our 2017 Genesis G90 sedan was much the same car at the end of its stay as it was at the beginning. For that reason, its logbook grew quiet as it neared the 40K-mile mark. But that’s not to say it wasn’t called upon frequently. In fact, after returning from its five-month, 10,000-mile-plus western odyssey in the care of Montana-desk editor John Phillips, the G90 immediately resumed its place as the vehicle of choice for lunch, photo, and limousine duty right up to its final days in our hands.

Dealership Service Costs

One issue that played out over the G90’s tenure was a debate with various Genesis dealer service departments regarding the brand’s three-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance. Although the plan clearly stipulates G90 owners are to receive free scheduled maintenance during the specified period, we paid for all but one of our scheduled services. After numerous inquiries, it was finally explained to us that the complimentary scheduled maintenance is for retail customers only. As a press-fleet vehicle, our G90 wasn’t notifying the service writer that our car was part of the plan when he entered its VIN into the company’s database. That makes us deadbeats of sorts, as one dealer gave us the benefit of the doubt and let us scoot away from the G90’s 12,000-mile service (oil change and inspections) free of charge. The dealer’s gracious handling of the situation befits an upstart brand that aspires to compete in the established luxury segment. For the purpose of transparency in this long-term review, we’ve included the cost of the five services we paid for, which together constitute the entire $230 service cost indicated here. Although retail buyers can be confident that they will receive free scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, that service cost is incredibly low, lower in fact than just our first service in our long-term Porsche 718 Boxster S.

That ups the value quotient, and the G90’s price-to-luxury ratio was a popular topic of discussion during the car’s stay with us. One editor remarked, “But for the badge on the hood, lots of S-class and 7-series buyers would probably find that the G90 gives them all the luxury they seek for 40 percent less money.”

Test Results

That may be true, although the G90 offers something less than the accomplished ride/handling balance that typically defines the Europeans. This car is far happier on the interstate than on a twisty two-lane road. Despite the G90’s clumsy dance moves, our G90-a 365-hp, twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 variant with rear-wheel drive-can hustle in a straight line, and it only got better with 40,000 miles of exercise under the tutelage of C/D staffers. In testing just prior to its departure, the 4523-pound G90 posted a 5.0-second zero-to-60-mph time and ran the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds, improvements of 0.2 second in both measures compared to its initial test. Braking and roadholding were also better, which is typical as the tires wear. The stop from 70 mph shrank from 182 feet to 178 feet (the soft brake pedal notwithstanding), and grip increased to 0.88 g from 0.84 g.

2017 Genesis G90

Too bad the G90 was so nervous about using all that capability. Numerous drivers remarked about the early intervention of the traction and stability control, and the system’s tendency to linger even when switched off. Also criticized was the overbearing nature of the driver-attention alert, which advised one driver to take a break “four times in the first 28 miles of a 360-mile trip-as if I had been bouncing off guardrails and sideswiping semis.”

Maintenance Issues

The G90 was free of major problems, although there were minor irritations. We never could resolve a faint front-end shimmy that persisted throughout its stay with us, despite rebalancing the wheels at the dealership and in the C/D garage. It was most prominent when the Genesis was wearing the standard 19-inch 245/45 Continental ContiProContact tires; it was masked slightly when we switched to winter tires, because of their noisier, more aggressive tread pattern.

2017 Genesis G90

Wind noise emanating from the sunroof was repaired quickly and free of charge with a glass adjustment, and a recall to update the infotainment system was performed at the 18,000-mile service. A previously documented no-start situation was traced to a loose battery ground strap, which we fixed ourselves. We don’t expect many G90 owners to perform their own maintenance-especially when the dealer will do it for free-but we did note that an oil change requires the removal of the engine belly pan and that checking the air filter requires the removal of two braces and six body pins.

Finally, we noticed a slight darkening of some of the G90’s light-colored interior upholstery. Delivered in a very pale shade (evocatively called Beige), the driver’s seat seemed eager to absorb the dye from blue jeans in particular (an issue that has also cropped up in our Mercedes-Benz E450 station wagon, which also has a nearly white-colored interior). We can’t say whether the discoloration could be remedied with a good cleaning; we never tried more than a few spit-and-friction attempts with a fast-food napkin. However, the overall design and execution of the interior is a success, with one editor asserting, “this is the interior the Cadillac CT6 should have had.” We also like the rows of analog buttons in addition to the infotainment controls.

2017 Genesis G90

The G90 represents a credible effort from Hyundai’s upstart luxury brand, a successful and worthy competitor for the luxury segment that never failed to fulfill its duty as our office’s go-to luxury transport. And, despite our deserved reputation for heavy right feet, it did so averaging 23 mpg, just 1 mpg lower than its EPA highway rating. The brand’s intentions have recently been bolstered with the arrival of the 10Best-winning G70 sports sedan, a model good enough to disrupt its segment even more than the G90 has done in the full-size luxury ranks. And the G90 itself is being polished with a newly styled 2020 model. The real question is how long it will take for the Genesis brand to command the same level of respect and prestige among the buying public as the traditional luxury brands receive. If the current product charge is any indicator, it might not be long.

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