Behind the Wheel

2020 Genesis G90 Review: Perhaps the best luxury sedan alternative to the Germans

The Genesis G90 has gotten a fresh face and interior enhancementns for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

People generally buy big, expensive luxury sedans for one of two reasons. Either they want to show everyone else how they've made it, or they want to reward themselves for how they've made it. Or, both.

Whether you're a lawyer or a doctor or a publishing magnate, plunking down the cash (or, more likely, signing a lease) for a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7 Series shows that you are (or want to pretend like you are) at the top.

2020 Genesis G90 The Genesis G90 is a very large sedan that comfortably seats four adults.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

But if you're more concerned about your personal comfort rather than brand cachet and what everyone else at the country club thinks — or you want everyone else at the country club to think you're clever and responsible with your money (showing off is complicated) — you have more choice. Like the 2020 Genesis G90, which is perhaps the best luxury sedan alternative to the Germans available today.

Most importantly, the G90 has presence. It's absolutely massive, with a huge grille up front with a winged Genesis badge atop the hood. I still find the badge a little lacking in panache but it works well on this car, especially at night when an illuminated version of it is beamed onto the ground by the doors.

And the G90 has luxury in spades. Every safety feature is here, including Hyundai's excellent active lane-keeping assist feature that I've praised before. It allows you to take your hands off the wheel for 10-15 seconds at a time (on well-marked roads with good visibility) and the car can maintain your place in the center of the lane and even handle corners for you.

2020 Genesis G90 Rear-seat legroom is akin to business class seating on an airplane - perhaps better.Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

There's also a particularly excellent 360-degree surround view camera so you can see everything going on around the car, which is roughly the size of a medium-size barge. Continuing the gargantuan theme, there's a 12.3-inch center-stack touch screen that is one of the best-looking I've seen on a car. And, perhaps more importantly, it's fast to respond and easy to navigate. It's basically a reskinned version of Hyundai's infotainment system, which isn't a bad thing but I might have hoped for something a little fancier.

Speaking of fancy, I have to spend a little time talking about the interior. The G90 is a flagship luxury sedan, and the inside is where those cars really shine. The 22-way power driver's seat deserves particular praise, with lovely quilted Nappa leather and a very interesting seating program.

The ergonomic seats in the Genesis are certified by the Aktion Gesunder Rücken — German for "Campaign for Healthier Backs" — an organization of back specialists and medical professionals that gives its seal of approval to back-friendly products after a rigorous evaluation. There's even a mode that will automatically adjust the driver's seat and steering wheel to the most ergonomic position for your height, weight, and inseam length. It was a modest change from my manually-adjusted position — tilted back a bit more and slightly further away than normal — but after an hour or so, I realized it actually was more comfortable, only now I wish I had this feature in every car as I can't quite replicate it exactly. Alas.

2020 Genesis G90 The seats in the most premium level of the G90 feature quilting. Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The engine is the same 3.3-liter twin turbo V6 as the G70 sports sedan I drove a few months ago, making 365 horsepower sent through an 8-speed automatic to an all-wheel drive system. It's not a head-snapping amount of oomph, but it more than gets the job done. If you're looking to zip along even faster, there's a V8 engine option that's totally unnecessary. But then, most of this car is unnecessary.

That's what flagship luxury sedans are all about. Do you need rear seats that recline and first-class levels of footroom? Not really. What about screens on the back of the seats and three zones of climate control and a CO2 sensor that notices if the cabin doesn't have enough oxygen and will bring in more fresh air to compensate? I guess not, though that CO2 sensor thing sounds pretty cool.

2020 Gennesis G90 Seating for every passenger is abundantly comfortable. Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Your diminishing returns on an automobile purchase starts in earnest around $45,000, and by the time you get to the rarefied air of a $75,695 car like the Genesis G90, you're paying for many wildly unnecessary things. But that's the point. Even more the point, that's about $25k less than the competition in this segment and you'd never know it — more importantly, the Jones's down at the country club won't either. At least until they go to buy one.

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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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The F-150 has gotten an available hybrid power plant for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Don't get so focused on similarity of the headlights and bed of the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 that you miss the significant new details that make the truck one of the best you can buy. Consider that its revisions are a response to consumer demands and the F-150 really begins to shine.

One of the shiniest spots of the F-150 PowerBoost comes from its hybrid powertrain. Its also one of its sorest points. Each F-150 hybrid is equipped with a 3.5-liter hybrid V6 engine. Unlike some engines that are calibrated for fuel economy ahead of power availability, the Ford engine allows for both delivering 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque upon request.

2021 Ford F-150 interior features The interior of the F-150 is quite well-appointed, but not as luxurious as the Ram 1500. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

It never really feels like the truck wants for power, but switching from all-electric power off the line to a traditional hybrid power combination while getting up to speed makes the truck shutter to life. Playing it easier on the accelerator does help, not that you need to be a lead foot to make the shutter happen.

Through it all, the transmission doesn't question what is happening. It's smooth as silk, with the same gear ratios with the hybrid engine as it has with all other available F-150 engines.

Buyers can get their PowerBoost powertrain with either two- or four-wheel drive. The 2WD version is more efficient, but just barely, putting up 25 mpg combined to the 4x4's 24. The other F-150 engines fall between 19 and 21 mpg combined. Towing and hauling will significantly impact those numbers (it has a 12,000-pound towing capacity).

As tested in the mid grade Lariat trim, the Ford F-150 felt just right. It wasn't as fancy as the Platinum or King Ranch versions of the truck, but comfortable enough to be lived in with the right blend of refinement and tech. It's a truck you can use every day, not worry about getting dirty, and take your date out in on a Friday night.

2021 Ford F-150 Lockable rear under-seat storage is a major plus when it comes to grocery shopping. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

With the SuperCrew box, the F-150 Lariat starts at $47,055. For the average customer the truck's equipment list is going to make it feel pretty loaded: 12-inch driver information screen, 12-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Wi-Fi hot spot, leather-trimmed seats, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a Class IV trailer hitch, and Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0.

Plus, it has most of the features that Ford has included as part of its generational revision like the tailgate work surface, lockable rear under-seat storage, flat fold-out work surface in the center console, and foldable shifter.

It all works well, almost too well, as a matter of fact. The features of the interior of the truck are almost nice enough to get you to forget how well the Ram 1500 is appointed for a similar price tag. But, the Ram 1500 doesn't have a full hybrid system, on-board generator, or a host of other technologies that the Ford has.

2021 Ford F-150 interior features The center console folds out to a flat surface that can be used for work or as a table. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford is better than the Chevrolet 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Ram at all but one thing. Fix the shutter from a stop and the F-150 PowerBoost will quickly become the best choice for pickup truck buyers.

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