2017 Genesis G90
If you thought Hyundai was crazy for trying to cook up a luxury 4-door with the 2009 Genesis sedan…well… for 2017…they’re trying a recipe that seems a whole lot crazier. Hyundai has gone all in and spun off Genesis as a whole new company: Genesis Motors. And their flagship, the G90, is our first taste of the new brand. So, let’s see if it’s well done, or just half-baked…
The Genesis G90 is the successor to the full-size Hyundai Equus, and is built on the lengthened chassis of the mid-size Genesis sedan, now called G80. So, the “90” is, in automotive parlance, an “all-new flagship sedan”. And, a self-proclaimed competitor to large-car stall warts Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. But, we think a more level playing field is with the Lexus LS and Cadillac CT6.
The G90 drives with a super-steady, rock solid feel. A 5 link front and rear suspension combines with electronic adaptive damping to keep things smooth on almost all roads. There was very little harshness, even on some rough pavement in the British Columbian countryside outside Vancouver. The level of isolation achieved is all you could ask for.
PATRICK LUCAS: "This is a cruiser for sure. On the highway, even on backroads like this, it is just whisper quiet, silky smooth..."
And that lends itself to truly appreciating the interior of the G90. Material quality is top notch. Seat comfort is excellent. And the overall design is clearly one of a top-drawer vehicle.
But the biggest hurdle that Genesis must overcome is separating itself from Hyundai. And seeing some carryover switchgear and buttons will remind more astute observers of the kinship. Get past that, and the G90 is every bit a luxury contender on its own.
Outside, it’s less its own thing, and more a combination of what it aspires to be. The front favors recent Audi A8s, especially the grille. While in the rear, it’s S-Class all the way. Take a step back, though, and it’s a handsome car that demands a second look.
Under the hood: a brand new standard 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 with 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Power delivery is strong, but perhaps lacks a little maturity in feel. Same goes for the eight speed automatic.
PATRICK LUCAS: "The one area it doesn't quite match up to its German competitors, I’d say, is in the powertrain. It's not quite as refined as an Audi, a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz..."
Fuel economy rates 17 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. That’s about on par with rival V8s. Ditto the energy impact score of 16.5 barrels of oil used, and 7.5 tons of CO2 emitted annually.
A 420 horsepower 5.0-liter V8, and all-wheel drive, are the only options for the G90.
Everything else; automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, head up display, and multi-angle backup camera are standard. That makes for an easy pricing strategy, starting at $69,050. H-TRAC all-wheel drive adds $2,500, while the V8 adds $1,600 more.
Gaining a foothold is never easy, and in a segment with ultra-high expectations and long heritages, there will be many who look at the G90 as just a dressed up Hyundai. But then, we once said that about Lexus and Toyota too.
And, the 2017 G90 is the just beginning for Genesis. And, it is indeed a strong first step towards a time when Genesis Motors and “world class luxury” may be one and the same.
- Engine: 3.3 liter V6 / 5.0 liter V8
- Horsepower: 365 / 420
- Torque: 376 lb-ft.
- EPA: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 7.5 tons/yr
Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better
When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.
The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.
Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.
A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.
That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.
The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.
At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.
While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.
Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!
- Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
- Horsepower: 227 | 250
- 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
- EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined