Hyundai has been edging toward the creation of a premium nameplate for several years, having introduced the near-luxury Genesis and the full-sized, luxurious Equus under the Hyundai brand. For 2017, the Genesis, bearing the Bentley-like winged logo, left the nest, bringing the sedan formerly known as the Equus along with it. Like Toyota’s Lexus, Nissan’s Infiniti and Honda’s Acura, Hyundai’s Genesis brings something special to the road, but with all the good qualities of the automaker’s more pedestrian offerings.
The Equus has been renamed the Genesis G90. It targets the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS. In a number of respects – mainly, standard equipment and price – it has a significant advantage.
Its main deficiency, compared with the stalwarts in this extraordinary lineup, is handling. The big European luxury sedans corner like sports cars despite their bulk, and their throttle response is quicker and more precise. But it occurred to us that a luxury sedan should handle well enough to make its driver feel comfortable and confident; it doesn’t need to have the athleticism of a Porsche Boxster. The G90 easily meets the comfortable-and-confident standard.
Our test car, a Santiago Silver 2017 Genesis G90, is descended from the 2014 Equus we test-drove two years ago. Hyundai’s Genesis division also builds a mid-size near-luxury sedan called the G80. The Genesis coupe, sold by Hyundai dealerships since 2009, was discontinued after the 2016 model year.
Our G90 had a sticker price of $71,550, which seems high if not exorbitant for a Hyundai-based product. But the G90 is nicely styled, quiet as a tomb and loaded with luxury features, many of which are options on competing models that start $10,000 to $30,000 more than the G90. The seemingly endless repetition of the word “Included”on the price sticker speaks for itself, but we’ll offer a few examples: all-wheel drive; blind-spot detection; automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection; adaptive cruise control; multi-view camera; power rear sunshades; navigation system; satellite radio with three-year complimentary service; heated and ventilated front seats; and heated steering wheel.
Unlike the rear-drive Equus we test-drove in 2014, the G90 can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Two engine choices are available: a 3.3-liter, 365-horsepower turbocharged V-6; and a 5.0-liter V-8 packing 420 horsepower. Our test car had the smaller engine, which was rated at 17 mpg city, 24 highway – not appreciably better than the V-8, at 16/24. The G90’s gasoline tank is quite large – 21.9 gallons – so we didn’t have to gas up during our week with the G90. We averaged about 21 mpg.
Genesis prices range from $41,400 for the G80 to $68,100 for a base G90. The top-of-the-line 5.0 Ultimate G90 with all-wheel drive starts at $73,150.
Crash-test data aren’t available on the 2017 G90. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the similar 2016 Genesis a Top Safety Pick Plus.
Steven Macoy ([email protected]) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel, Conn.
2017 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T Premium
Engine: 3.3-liter turbocharged V-6, 365 horsepower, 376 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Weight: 4,630 lb.
Suspension: multi-link front and rear
Wheels: 19×9.5-in. chrome alloy
Tires: P275/40R19 all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 15.7 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 21.9 gallons
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway
Fuel type: premium unleaded gasoline