Hyundai has been well established in Canada for many years now and after making a start with fairly basic economy cars like the Pony and Stellar, it gradually started building more ambitious vehicles and established a name as a manufacturer of products with high levels of quality and reliability.
It’s no surprise then, that Hyundai is following other Asian vehicle builders by spinning off a premium brand for global markets. For some time, Hyundai must have viewed with envy the achievements of Toyota (Lexus), Nissan (Infiniti) and Honda (Acura) and their success with luxury brand offshoots. Now, Hyundai has made the move, launching the Genesis brand to compete with the best the world has to offer. Genesis has been used as a model name before by Hyundai, but the new vehicles will be sold at dealers as a “stand alone” product with a new badge. Following the current craze for alphanumeric designations, the vehicles will use G followed by a number for the specific segment the product is competing in. The Genesis plan is to have six vehicles in the range by 2020.
First out of the gate for Genesis is the 2017 G90 sedan, a large and stately vehicle developed to compete with rivals like the Lexus LS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and the like. Genesis aims to match the quality and refinement associated with the market leaders, which is no easy task.
The G90 is certainly a large car – longer, even, than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class but about the same height. Exterior styling is handsome and conservative and up front, there’s a very large hexagonal grille. Overall, it looks like the right styling approach for the market. People who buy cars in this class aren’t usually looking for flash and dash. What seems to push the right buttons with large luxury sedan buyers is restrained elegance and understated opulence.
Two engines will be available in Canada – a 365-horsepower dual turbo 3.3-litre V-6 and a 420-horsepower 5.0-litre V-8. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive is an option. Genesis has paid a lot of attention to quietness and smoothness and the new car is likely to be one of those rare models that insulates occupants completely from the road and the noisy world outside. Helping achieve this aim is double-pane glass in the windows.
The interior is well up to class standards and judging by other Hyundai upscale vehicles sold under Genesis and (no longer made) Equus nameplates, it’ll compete well with rival makers of large luxury models. Even inexpensive Hyundai vehicles have very well appointed interiors, so the G90 is bound to offer something very special. The interior is lavishly trimmed in a high-grade leather and the driver’s seat has no less than 22-way adjustment. It’s just as well a memory setting is provided! Even the rear seats adjust to a dozen different positions. Other highlights include a huge 12.3-inch dashboard display screen.
The Genesis G90 is going to be an interesting product to watch as far as its acceptance by luxury buyers goes. It could just become ‘the next big thing’ and even steal market share away from the big guys. After all that Hyundai has done to develop this car, it would be well deserved.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door, fullsize sedan
ENGINE: 3.3-litre V-6 or 5.0-litre V-8
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 6-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA