The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

The Genesis G90 is conservative. It’s restrained, unfussy, solid, stolid, and confident in its own bedrock values. The sort of large luxury sedan that’d be aimed at Eisenhower voters who wear plain cloth coats and switched to Lexus three decades ago. It’s a sedan for people who don’t want to draw undue attention to themselves. And for the 2020 model year, the G90 has undergone a significant update for the first time since its introduction as a 2017 model. It’s a low-key renovation that’s sure to attract buyers who are now ready to boldly face the cultural turmoil of the 1960s.

Meet the New Face of Genesis

There’s the Genesis's very obvious new nose. The giant home-plate-shaped grille is what you’ll notice first, followed by the new rear end and new wheel designs. That unmistakable face is framed by new, thinner headlights that are themselves bisected by an LED strip that serve as daytime running lights and turn signals. Along the new fenders are additional light strips across a decorative vent port that light up with the turn signals. The whole thing looks more modern and more aggressive, if a bit garish for the intended market.

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

James LipmanCar and Driver

HIGHS: Smooth ride, high-quality materials and execution, feature-rich.

But while the monster-size grille will get the stares, many of nose’s subtler design details are impressive. Like the sharp creases in the hood that give it the look of a tailored fit, and the center valley that sweeps back from the winged Genesis logo.

Every panel aft of the G90's C-pillar also is new, taking some of the droop out of its butt while adding a bit more visual mass to the trunk lid. The new taillights are thin and elegant, but they don’t light sequentially as do an Audi’s or a Mustang’s. Regulations concerned with the minimal area of the initial illumination kept the sweeping taillight action from happening here. However, in Korea, you can get a G90 with sequential taillights.

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

James LipmanCar and Driver

The Genesis name now proudly spans across the tail for the first time. Before, the winged logo that does look a bit like Bentley’s served as an identifier. If folks mistakenly identified it as a Bentley instead of a Genesis, we’re guessing the brand would be okay with that. But the Genesis isn’t being shy about its name now. It’s right there, boldly setting itself apart.

Between the nose and tail, the door sheetmetal and glass carries over. The one noticeable change in the midsection are new side mirrors that include turn signal indicators along the mirror pedestal instead of the mirror itself.

Familiar Motivators

Most of the mechanical stuff is familiar, or at least familiar to the 2240 customers who bought G90s last year. There are still two engines available: a punchy 365-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 in the Premium model, or a creamy 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8 in the Ultimate. Apparently, there’s no such thing as sub-Premium at Genesis, and nothing beyond the appropriately named Ultimate. Both engines are backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission that feeds the rear wheels as standard. All-wheel drive continues to be an option with either powerplant. Neither engine raises much of a fuss. Serenity appears to have been the engineering goal here.

James LipmanCar and Driver

LOWS: Unengaging to drive, anonymous styling, except for that grille.

There really isn’t much real-world difference in performance between the two engines. The V-8 version of the 2017 G90 we tested wafted from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and waltzed past the quarter-mile marker in 13.7 seconds at 105 mph. An AWD version powered by the turbocharged V-6 also made it 60 mph in 5.2 seconds but fell a bit behind slightly in the quarter-mile, getting there in 13.9 seconds at 100 mph. Considering the additional adhesion at launch with all-wheel drive combined with the setup's drag toward the top end, the performance of the two engines is virtually identical. Genesis says the 2020 version is within a few pounds of previous G90s, so performance shouldn’t be any different.

Fluffed and Buffed

Inside the G90 is mostly carryover in structure, though there are some modernizing tweaks in materials and upholstery. This is a great looking interior and there’s no obvious corner cutting in anything you see or touch. One very important touchpoint is the new 12.3-inch screen mounted in the center of the dashboard. There’s still a knob in the center console for operating the tech systems if the driver wants to keep the screen free of greasy fingerprints.

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

James LipmanCar and Driver

The driver’s seat has 22 adjustments, which is better than 21, but not quite as good as 23. There’s also a new feature that lets the driver input their physical dimensions, including weight, inseam, and height, and the seat will adjust the driving position automatically. The several times we tried the system, it tended to leave us raked back further than we would usually be comfortable. Possibly, we’ve just been wrong about what’s comfortable all this time.

More on the G90

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

2018 Genesis G90 V-8 Tested

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

Our Genesis G90 Impresses for 40,000 Miles

There’s nothing about G90 that encourages aggressive driving. The ride is soft, but there’s no floatiness to its motions. The steering is heavy and insulated from the road, the throttle travel is long and its response is languid. So, sit back and relax and enjoy the benefits of joining the AARP. All the electronics expected on a luxury machine are aboard, but lane-keeping assist, radar cruise control, and all those video cameras don’t make the G90 exciting. For the right person it’s exactly the sort of large sedan they want. The problem is, the youngest person who voted for Eisenhower in 1956 is now 84 years old. And most buyers at this price point would rather have a crossover than a long and decadent four-door sedan.

The 2020 Genesis G90 is the Luxury Sedan for Eisenhower Voters

James LipmanCar and Driver

And that’s the thing about the G90. Genesis is very close to revealing its large GV80 crossover, and it’s that vehicle that will largely determine the future success of the brand. If the new GV80 does what the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride have done to their segment, the future of Genesis will be secured. The point of the G90 doesn’t appear to be to rack up huge sales numbers, but to set a standard for all the Genesis models present and future. And at that, it succeeds.

Specifications

Specifications

2020 Genesis G90

VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE 3.3T, $70,500; 3.3T AWD, $73,000; 5.0, $75,000; 5.0 AWD, $77,500

ENGINES twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.3-liter V-6, 365 hp, 376 lb-ft; DOHC 32-valve 5.0-liter V-8, 420 hp, 383 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 124.4 in

Length: 204.9 in

Width: 75.4 in

Height: 58.9 in

Passenger volume: 113 cu ft

Trunk volume: 16 cu ft

Curb weight (C/D est): 4650–4850 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

60 mph: 4.9–5.2 sec

100 mph: 12.3–13.9 sec

¼-mile: 13.6–13.9 sec

Top speed: 147 mph