2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport

In the words of Kevin McCallister preparing to fend off Harry and Marv in Home Alone, “This is it. Don’t get scared now.” Hyundai announced in 2015 that Genesis would become a stand-alone luxury brand, and 2017 is the year that Genesis takes the plunge. Will it flop like Filipino divers failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics, or will it slip gracefully into the luxury mainstream?

The G90’s interior trappings are, if not first rate, then something that would round to first rate; perhaps 1.47th rate. There are only two interior options: black or beige leather. In fact, there are no typical options at all on any G90. You pick an engine, rear- or all-wheel drive, your interior color, and one of six exterior color options. Aside from V-8 models featuring LED headlamps and cushier, power-adjustable ventilated rear seats, that’s that. Four of those colors are grayscale, plus a brown and a blue that, if you haven’t eaten enough carrots lately or the light is low, could pass for grayscale. But with either interior color, you get rich wood and metallic accents, soft leather, handsome knurled knobs, and gentle LED ambient lighting. Lingering whiffs of cheapness—a few buttons shared with lesser Hyundais—only slightly diminish the luxury atmosphere.

The HVAC and infotainment controls are laid out in a pair of attractive rails on the center stack, with most functions controlled through a large knob on the console. Among a population of infotainment systems that is becoming increasingly convoluted and illogical, the G90’s menu structure is straightforward and relatively navigable. Some of the system’s graphics are a little cartoonish, but we’ll grant a temporary pass for now. It’s only been a few years since Hyundai shrugged off the “for a Korean car” qualifier. And if the point of the G90 is to spoof the German luxury mainstays, it has done well.

The G90’s ride tends toward the pillowy end of the spectrum without wallowing down the road, although it lacks the sense of control familiar to drivers of Germany’s best such barges. The steering is well matched to the chassis with satisfying heft, but it offers sterile isolation from the road. A 172-foot stop from 70 mph is below average for the class, but 0.85 g of grip on the skidpad is adequate and competitive with large sedans from established luxury marques. Read more...

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11 Feb 2017

By Jared Gall