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First Drive Review: 2020 Genesis G90 is everything the Lincoln Continental should be

The Genesis G90 is completely new on the outside except for its roof and doors.

Photo courtesy of Genesis

It hasn't been three full years since the first Genesis G90s were delivered to their U.S. owners, but a lot has changed for the company since then. It hasn't been an easy go for the Korean luxury automaker. As an arm of Hyundai, there was a fair amount of stigma to overcome at launch, even as they proved time and time again that the focus on budget-friendly top-tier elegance was worth a cross shop.

2020 Genesis G90 back rear tail light wheel The rear of the G90 is designed to show its width and curvature.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The 2020 Genesis G90 has evolved right alongside its parent company. It is a study in the company's new design mantra, "athletic elegance." The large sedan body features a fair amount of novelty on the exterior from fancy new wheel designs to a large grille and unique headlights and taillights.

When equipped with the spirited turbocharged 3.3.-liter V6, the G90 is at its best. Though it has less horsepower and torque than the larger 5.0-liter V8, it's 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque deliver refined acceleration. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Genesis G90 wheel Wheel controls are easy to use.Photo courtesy of Genesis

Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

While testing the model on the winding roads of Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, the car's athleticism shown through when flipped into the Sport drive mode not just because of throttle response but also because of the more pointed steering.

Switching into the Comfort drive mode in anything but a parking situation made steering the car sloppy. Eco was a test of patience that was counterintuitive to the power Genesis has backed the sedan with in either engine option.

The cabin of the G90 is noted for its serenity. Sounds from the road aren't passed on, and even the noise of the V8 stays away thanks to active noise cancelling technology.

2020 Genesis G90 interior cabin front seats wheel The G90 has abundant passenger space. Photo courtesy of Genesis

Mindful innovations fill the interior of the G90, which remains as plush as it was in the previous iteration, complete with authentic and attractive materials. A new 12.3-inch touch screen sits in the center of the dashboard offering high resolution graphics and an appearance much more befitting the Genesis branding than what was found in the previous model. A knob can assist in screen navigation if users choose.

New seating technology allows a driver to input their height, weight, and inseam in the infotainment system then positions the driver's seat in chiropractor-friendly style. However, company representatives admit that the computer-suggested position usually comfortable to drivers.

The G90 comes equipped with a long list of standard and available, active and passive safety and driver assistance technology. As tested in its most premium grade, none of the systems were obtrusive or annoying in their operational function.

2020 Genesis G90 interior rear back seat The car's appointments are rich though not as luxe as what you'll find in an Mercedes S-Class.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The G90 excels where the Lexus LS fails – passenger space. The cabin is spacious and its back seat has the controls and legroom usually reserved for higher priced Mercedes, BMW, and Audi models, often when equipped with executive packages.

When combined with the large trunk, It's an ideal airport transportation car in an industry still holding fast onto the Lincoln MKT.

With this latest generation of its G90, Genesis has delivered the car that Lincoln should have with the Continental. It's finely appointed and positioned for buyers who want a luxurious sedan without spending near the $100,000 that is required to get the large German models.

2020 Genesis G90 interior rear back seat The rear seats feature executive style seating without having to add an executive package to the purchase. Photo courtesy of Genesis

The 2020 Genesis G90 is more impressive than the 2019 G90 and the Lexus LS. It's not quite as nicely appointed or filled with high-tech goodies as top trims of the Germans in its class, but it's also slated to be tens of thousands of dollars less. That's something that can't go unnoticed, and shouldn't.

The G90 is expected to go on sale soon and be priced in the $70,000 range, right near where the 2019 model sat.

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Thought the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross just debuted in Thailand, it could be slated to come to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's face it, the Toyota CH-R was never really supposed to be a Toyota. The model, destined to be a Scion, had its life's direction altered when Scion closed up shop and parent company Toyota merged select members of its lineup with the Toyota line. For the last three years, the model has been doing its damnedest to escape the Scion mold, but hasn't. It remains the odd duck in the stable, not delivering the high-quality interior, good handling, and capability that earns the brand sufficient praise.

Enter: the Toyota Corolla Cross. Though its name doesn't quite invoke the feelings, of "Why? Whhhhhhyyyy?" that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moniker does, the Corolla Cross name is clearly a strategic move meant to capitalize on the one already worn by one of the best-selling cars of all time.

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Marketed as "Corolla Meets SUV", the Corolla Cross looks like it executes at every level. It rides on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, C-HR, and Corolla, and the Lexus UX. That architecture make the slightly longer and taller Corolla Cross spacious with class-leading cargo room for its class.

Though the model is undoubtedly going to be modified a smidge if it comes to America, Toyota has outlined its highlights as part of its launch in Thailand.

The Corolla Cross makes much of its looks from the RAV4, but it's a copy. It's a natural progression of the design language, the same way the Highlander is. Toyota notes that this design allows for an "impressive rearview".

A new torsion-beam suspension delivers a cushioned ride. Toyota notes that the Corolla Cross is easy to maneuver and has a tight turning circle.

Toyota is selling the front-wheel drive model with a traditional gasoline-powered engine setup and as a hybrid. These variants are similar to the Corolla and Lexus UX in the States.

The gasoline-powered model has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid model returns 122 total system horsepower. Both engines are paired with a CVT.

The interior has good headroom and wide door openings. These are similar characteristics to the modern Corolla.

Toyota has already trademarked the Corolla Cross name for the U.S. according to Car & Driver. The model, which would fill a slot in Toyota product plans that were leaked earlier this year, may be the vehicle set to be made at the end joint Mazda-Toyota plant that is under construction in Alabama. It would fill the gap between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and compete directly with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona.

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The Audi A7 will be available later this year in a plug-in hybrid format.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has revealed the third plug-in hybrid in its lineup, the 2021 A7 55 TFSI e, a powerful option for executive car buyers. It joins the Audi Q5 TFSI e and Audi A8 TFSI e as the only PHEVs in the company's U.S. lineup.

The A7 gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car has a total system output of 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard.

Audi's new sedan can run as a hybrid or on all-electric power. Drivers can utilize the vehicle in three drive modes: hybrid, EV, and Battery Hold. Hybrid mode is activated automatically when the navigation system is issuing guidance in order to optimize battery power and reduce fuel consumption. In EV mode, the car exclusively uses battery power up to a certain speed. Battery Hold mode utilizes the car's powertrain to keep the battery capacity at its current level.

2021 Audi A7 55 TSFI e Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The A7 holds its lithium-ion battery under the rear cargo area of the sportback sedan. Final EPA-estimated fuel economy and range numbers are pending. The 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery features 104 pouch cells with a voltage of 381 volts.

Audi's predictive efficiency assist technology adjust the vehicle's behavior to save on fuel. According to the automaker, ". Detectable haptic feedback from the accelerator pedal and a visual signal in the MMI and head-up display indicate the proper time to let off the accelerator to use as much kinetic energy as possible."

The model comes standard with Audi's S line exterior package, which includes specific front and rear fascia designs, fender badgers, and illuminated doorsill inlays. The car also has Matrix-design LED headlights, high beam assist, quad-zone automatic climate control, Audi advanced key, Audi Virtual Cockpit, ad PHEV-specific displays within the infotainment system and cockpit. It rides on 20-inch Audi Sport five-twin-arm wheels wrapped in all-season tires.

The roster of standard features continues with audible low-speed exterior e Sound, a top view camera with Virtual 360 view, Integrated Toll Module, the Audi MIB 3 infotainment operating system, heated front seats, and leather upholstery for all five passengers.

A variety of packages are available.

Audi Virtual Cockpit now displays speed reductions, including those for speed limits, tow signs, curves, downward slopes, traffic circles, intersections, and highway exits.

The fresh version of the A7 can be charged at any SAE J1772 charging station or at home. Audi has partnered with Amazon Home for home charger installation should a vehicle buyer decide they want to install a charger at their residence. Charging can be monitored via the myAudi app.

The 2021 Audi A7 TFSI e starts at $74,900, a $5,000 increase over the base gasoline-only A7 55 TSFI. It will be available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels (the traditional A7 55 is available in three, including the lower grade Premium offering).

Audi says that customers who purchase purchasing the 2021 Audi A7 55 TFSI e will be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $6,712. Additional state incentives may also be available.

The model is expected to arrive in dealerships later this year.

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