The 2020 Genesis G90—a good luxury sedan from an alternate dimension

Patrick

The revisions to the G90’s interior tend more to a new mix of materials than the radical plastic surgery that has resculpted the exterior. The wood trim has an open grain, and it looks and feels much better than the overly glossy stuff that Genesis used to use. The leather is thick and luxurious, as are the carpets. And if there isn’t quite enough room in the back, there are easy-to-reach buttons on the side of the front passenger seat that allow your driver to quickly move it into its footwell and away from whoever it is that’s sitting in the back behind it.

That’s another thing about this alt-Earth—not only do lots of executives still have flash sedans, many of them have drivers to do the actual driving. After all, why have both such a long wheelbase and that extra zip code of legroom if you’re not going to sit in the back and enjoy it? Each rear seat occupant gets their own infotainment screen, and the center armrest contains a scroll wheel and all the other buttons one needs to operate the system. More buttons control the two rear seats themselves; the left side through 12 different directions and the right through 14, plus heating and cooling. It’s quiet back there, too, courtesy of active noise cancellation.

It’s not exactly spartan from the driving seat, though. This one has a 22-way adjustment (16-way for the front passenger). And heating. And cooling. The view straight ahead takes in the large analog physical gauges on the main instrument panel and a heads-up display, with the 12.3-inch infotainment screen embedded in the center stack. It is a touchscreen, but you can use the physical controls in the center console to interact with it as well. The infotainment UI is clear and attractive, and there’s also (wired) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Jonathan Gitlin

At 204.9 inches (5,204mm) long and 75.4 inches (1,915mm) wide, there is never escaping the footprint of the G90, in this reality or any other. On the road, it’s best to adopt a relaxed driving style. The G90 features a range of drive modes, but Smart seemed to offer the same mpg as Eco and the same comfort as Comfort, and it would probably be as sporty as Sport if I had been trying to rag it. Although I didn’t try to hustle the G90, I am quite sure that on a closed track—or an open road when one has to evade kidnappers, ever a danger in this neighboring universe—even a sedan as large as this should show a clean pair of heels to a similarly luxurious SUV.

But we don’t live in that parallel dimension. Here on our Earth, climate change is an issue, and I can only hope that the flagship that replaces the G90 in a few years incorporates some of the Korean car industry’s clever electric powertrain technology. That’s if there even is a replacement for the G90, now that Genesis has its SUVs coming on-stream. Currently on this Earth, the luxury sedan is living on borrowed time, even examples as competent as this.

Listing image by Jonathan Gitlin

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