Hyundai Equus

2016 Hyundai Equus

The Hyundai Equus is the Korean automakers flagship luxury sedan. Introduced to the lineup for 2011, the Equus is a step above the sizable but less-posh Genesis. The Hyundai Equus cannot match the merits of the finest luxury sedans, but it delivers plenty of power and a driving and riding experience that keeps its occupants largely insulated from the imperfections of the road.

Little has changed for 2016, apart from the addition of a hands-free trunk opener. Refreshed two years back, Equus remains largely based on the first-generation Genesis, which fell well short of luxury status.

Nothing is particularly striking about Equus design, which is essentially derivative. Overall, the sedan aims more toward luxury than crisp, capable handling, or even a fully comfortable ride. Each Equus has an air suspension with Sport and Normal modes, and theres a noticeable difference between the two. Interior space is comparable to that of a Lexus LS sedan.

Clearly, Hyundai made interior space and comfort a primary goal, especially in the back seat. Even though a four-passenger model isnt available anymore, and the rear bench seats three, Equus could easily be defined as close to limousine-like in its overall demeanor.

Performance is an Equus strong point. Youll pay a price at the pump for its strength, but the burly, direct-injected 5.0-liter V8 generates a hefty 429 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. The smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission incorporates a manual shift mode.

Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes about 6 seconds, accompanied by a somewhat throaty exhaust note thats a pleasant surprise in a car of this class. As for economy, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates an unappealing 15/23 mpg City/Highway, or an EPA-estimated 18 mpg Combined.

Nine airbags are standard, including a knee airbag for the driver. Blind-spot monitors are standard, but a lane-departure warning is optional, and adaptive cruise control comes only on the Ultimate edition. Replica instruments on the Ultimate models 12.3-inch TFT screen substitute for traditional-type gauges.


2013 Hyundai Equus

The Hyundai Equus is a large luxury car built on the same platform as the midsize Genesis sedan. Equus takes features and interior materials to the next level, with refined, sophisticated driving characteristics designed to appeal to prestige buyers looking for a roomy freeway cruiser. Like many other luxury cars, Equus is rear-wheel drive.

Power for the Hyundai Equus comes from a 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Aided by an 8-speed automatic transmission, Equus achieves a EPA fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon Combined city and highway.

When the Equus launched two years ago, many scoffed at the notion that the Korean carmaker could produce a luxury sedan on par with the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infiniti. But time has proven that Hyundai's gamble is paying off. According to Hyundai, not only have Equus sales been on the rise, but residual values for 2011-12 models are higher than for many large German competitors. Considering the stratospheric panache permeating the luxury-car industry, that is a praiseworthy achievement.

At the very least, we'd say the Equus is a fantastic vehicle to move into from a lower segment. Although Hyundai likes to say that it competes directly with the much higher-priced Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series and Audi A8, we don't necessarily see potential Mercedes or BMW buyers considering the Hyundai brand. But with a base price of less than $60,000, the Equus offers all the performance, refinement and amenities this class of car offers at considerably less money than the entrenched opposition. More realistically, we see the Hyundai Equus as a good alternative to the Lexus LS and Infiniti M.

Don't be fooled by the badge. The Hyundai Equus is the result of intensive engineering, tasteful design and intelligent use of supplier's technology. While it might be tempting for some to discount this car as a luxury wannabe with derivative styling and a copycat format, our experience inside the car tells us that Hyundai has closed in on the concept of fine car-making in a way that confirms there is no going back.


 

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