December 28, 2011
Just out of curiosity, I decided to see if the Equus' steering wheel heated all the way around.
Nope. The heating elements are only in the leather areas, and that's just fine, since most people don't (and shouldn't) have their hands at the 10 and 2:00 positions. In the unfortunate event that the airbag triggers in an accident, you'll end up punching yourself in the face (literally adding insult to injury). But it is a little strange when turning the wheel when you go from hot to cold and back.
On a side note, that sucker gets hot. Not just warm, but freaking hot. If you're the type that wears gloves, you'd surely feel the heat through them.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor
December 19, 2011
December mornings in Big Sur tend to be chilly, so besides the standard, heated seats in the Hyundai Equus Signature, I was happy to use the heated steering wheel--also standard. It took only a few seconds for the warmth to start, and it's a whole lot safer than sitting on your hands.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 18,640 miles
December 19, 2011
This weekend, I took a trip to Big Sur. If you've ever made that drive (and I highly recommend you do) you'll remember that Highway 1 gets pretty curvey north of Ragged Point. As the sun was setting, the Xenon headlamps turned on automatically, thank you. But as most high-end lighting does, I expected the crisp-white beams to follow my steering input. Either the Equus's AFLS (Automatic Front Lighting System) is on the fritz, or the degree to which they react is too small because I couldn't detect any curve-following illumination. Just to be sure, I pressed and pressed again the AFLS OFF button and there seemed to be no difference. We'll have it checked out next time the Equus goes in for service.
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 18,458 miles
December 06, 2011
When the car board came around to me yesterday, Mike Magrath said "If you haven't chosen yet, the first three presets in the Equus are set to holiday music." I immediately signed out the Hyundai. Mike and I share a love of Christmas music and have been counting down the days to the SiriusXM seasonal stations. I love the classical station. But they also have traditional, contemporary, country, a Hanukkah station and more.
My iPod is full of holiday cheer. My favorite albums are A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio and A Partridge Family Christmas Card (don't judge me).
What's your favorite Christmas song?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 16,979 miles
November 29, 2011
Over the Thanksgiving holiday week I drove my own car which is more than ten years old. It has no modern features on it whatsoever. It also sits very low on the road and I get blinded by headlights from all sorts of vehicles behind me.
That's why it was especially nice to get into the Hyundai Equus Signature. It's full of modern features as you know. But the one I appreciated most last night was the auto-dimming side mirrors. They do a great job of blocking out the glare while still giving you a clear view of the cars behind you.
Have you ever driven a car with auto-dimming mirrors?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 16,500 miles
October 04, 2011
A great way to pass the time on any road trip, especially a tortuously boring one like the one to and from Vegas, is to do some karaoke. But with our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus, if you're using the nav, it's best if you figure out how to shut off the voice guidance before you hit the road.
I neglected to plan ahead and so as me and the girls were belting out the best of Britney, the nav lady would cut in to let us know that we had half a mile till our exit. It was especially annoying when I couldn't figure out how to just delete the route. I had plugged in a route to L.A. when we were about to leave Vegas since I wasn't sure which way to go to get on the freeway. (For some reason, none of our smartphones were getting a signal to look it up on Google Maps.) In any case, once I found the freeway, I didn't need the nav lady anymore.
But I couldn't figure out how to turn off the guidance just from scrolling around the nav menu. In most cars I've been in, finding "Delete Route" was usually just one click away from the main screen. Or at least in a really obvious spot. Not so here. My passenger/DJ was already too busy with queuing up the next song to sing so I couldn't ask her to RTFM.
So we just suffered through the intermittent interruptions and sang through them as best we could but naturally there was a lot of yelling at the nav. "Dammit, lady, you ruined the best part!" "OK, we got it, veer right, now shut up!"
Sure enough, I finally figured out how to turn off the lady...the next day on my way to work. You hit the Nav button, scroll to the destination and there's a little arrow on your destination. It's not very obvious that this is where you go to delete the route. You then hit the enter button and that opens up another menu where there's a "Delete destination" option. That's all.
By the way, my passenger kept thinking that the nav screen was a touchscreen, thus all the fingerprints in the above picture.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
September 30, 2011
Driving the Equus a few nights ago, I felt this plastic tab behind the wheel. Whoa - the Equus has paddles? It doesn't. Nothing happened when I pulled on it. Until I wandered to the edge of my lane and the beeping started. The icon and the acronym took a few seconds to sink in.
Then I just wanted to know why Hyundai buried this fairly glossy, luxo feature on its steering wheel, activated with a little neglected appendage hanging out the back. Sad little warning system. Maybe next gen you will be promoted to the front of the tiller with the cruise and audio controls. If you show enough ambition, maybe you'll get a spot inside the multimedia info roster.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
August 30, 2011
This brief video shows how the Hyundai Equus moves the steering wheel so you can get in and out of the car. When you shut down, the steering wheel lifts out of your way. When you start the car, it moves back to your driving position.
August 29, 2011
When I posted the fab video last week of our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature's power-operated rear sunshades, eagle-eye reader wizard8873 noticed the dual rear window switches.
"Do I see two window switches back there? If so, can each side open/close the other window or is that separated for the window/sunshade for the rear passenger?"
Damn this guy is good. I assumed that each of the dual switches separately controlled the window and shade for that side of the car. They don't.
As wizard keenly surmised, each switch controls either the left or right side rear window and sunshade. And both left and right rear passengers have the dual switches and control of the both sides of the rear windows and shades.
This is a unique feature I have never seen in any other vehicle.
But is this useful for the semi-rich Equus owner?
I suppose you could lower the opposite window to vent the rear seat without mussing your hair...any other ways to use this?
Albert Austria, Senior VE, Engineer @ 11,900 miles
August 26, 2011
Here's a feature my wife noticed while driving the Equus earlier this week. Her legs are considerably shorter than mine. That fact, in combination with her need to recline the seat somewhere past vertical, gives us wildly different driving positions.
Similarly, long-time fans might remember this favorite from the way-back machine in which readers advised her on seating postion. I fired back. It was funny. Or at least it is now.
Anyway, her femurs are short and so is her torso. So she jacks the seat up to the ceiling and -- where possible -- minimizes the seat bottom length. That's a feature the Equus executes effectively by moving the entire seat bottom under the seat back. Here's how it works:
August 26, 2011
Of course our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature has rear seat window blinds. Duh, it's a luxury car; this has been mentioned before here. But Hyundai doesn't make you raise and lower the blinds manually, as if you're hanging wet laundry on the clothesline. Please.
The blinds are power operated, using the same switches that raise and lower the rear windows. The operation cycles between the shade and window. Press down to lower the shade, then again to lower the window. Same for up.
Hit the jump for the spectacular vid of the power rear blinds in action.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 11,800 miles
August 25, 2011
A night out on the town in the Equus really brought out some of its strong points. A cruise down Sunset Boulevard allowed me to enjoy the smooth the ride and how the big sedan accelerates with authority when called upon. It really hits all of the marks that, at least for me, define a luxury sedan.
The Lexicon sound system is equally adept at delivering clean, crisp tones as well as rock out with some thumping bass. The cabin is quiet as a crypt, allowing for whisper quiet conversations. As much as I like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, I would probably spend my own money on the Equus. Some might say the depreciation is a killer on the Hyundai, but really, the Benz gets dinged pretty hard once you sign on the dotted line, too.
As for the people who think the badge is a deal breaker, I say, get over it. When I see someone driving either an Equus or Genesis, I think to myself, "there's a smart shopper who knows the value of a dollar."
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor
August 15, 2011
The Hyundai Equus does not come with radio preset buttons. To get to the presets of each individual radio mode (AM/FM/XM), you must ...
1) Get to the mode's main screen (pictured after the jump) by pressing either the AM/FM or XM button that surrounds the multipurpose knob.
2) Push the multipurpose knob left
3) Twirl knob to Presets menu item
4) Press the knob
5) Twirl knob to your desired preset.
Contrast this with the system of cars that keep their radio preset buttons...
1) Press desired radio mode button.
2) Press button 6.
If in certain GM vehicles or other with a mode mix/match, skip step 1.
August 11, 2011
Well, that was fun while it lasted. According to USA Today's Drive On blog, Hyundai is killing off the Equus' iPad-based owner's manual for the 2012 model year.
Hyundai Spokesman Jim Trainor said that the iPads were only intended as a one-year promotion which is why every Equus comes with a real owner's manual in the glove box. (Well, for that and when the battery dies.)
The digital version will still be available for download, but you'll have to supply your own tablet.
Does this matter at all? Was an iPad ever the tipping point for the purchase of an Equus?
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com
July 22, 2011
Well, it's a big country. Sometimes you don't end up where you expected. I'm not sure this is because I pay too much attention to navigation systems or too little.
This is how I came to be in the Hyundai Equus at Blackwell's Corner, the place where James Dean stopped for a quick snack on the way to his appointment with fate on the other side of the hills to the west back in 1955. And no, there were no comments from bystanders about the startling resemblance between the Equus and Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder.
It all started with setting the destination on the Equus's navigation system, which is like playing 20 questions with a bad girlfriend.
July 21, 2011
(Note, like with most issues with the Equus, this entry firmly belongs in category: Equus, subcategory: first world problems)
Last night in the Equus, one of those silly questions came up that only comes up in the first few thousand miles of actually owning a car. It was something trivial that I don't even remember now. Something about capacities or fuses. It's unimportant and was quickly replaced by "Oh man, this has an iPad as an owner's manual. Awesome!"
Except, not awesome. The battery was dead. I figured I'd have to plug it in to figure out what needed figuring out. Except that my iPhone was plugged in and I was kind of into what I was listening to. Whatever, the Toasters could wait. So I plug it in and, like any i-product, it took a while to get enough charge to start. It's here that I start wondering what would happen if, say, the issue I was Ring TFM for was electrical? I'd be lost!
Redundantly, Hyundai provides a real, enormous, leather-bound owner's manual too. That's nice, but with both in the car, there's precious little room in the glove box. More accurately, they don't actually fit. Slamming the glove box and hoping for the best seems to work, though.
Saving a bunch of paper, leather and space and putting a second iPad/pod dock in the glove box seems like an easy fix for this expected problem.
(Also, it's damned near impossible to take a picture of an iPad inside a car. Might as well just replace it with a mirror.)
Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com
July 18, 2011
I love driving our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature. It has a smooth ride and an excellent powertrain. But much to my dismay, I had two electrical glitches during Carmageddon weekend.
In the first instance, editor John Dipietro and I had just finished some bike dreaming at Bartels' Harley-Davidson when the volume on the Equus puked. The radio was active, the volume level and knob worked, but no sound emitted from the speakers, as if it was muted. We tried everything including changing the source to iPhone, cycling the engine On/Off, and even the dreaded RTFM! No joy.
Frustrated, we decided to grab some chow while we decided the Equus' fate. When we returned and started it up...Ta-Da! The radio was working normally and did not fail again. Huh.
Later in the weekend.
June 22, 2011
After a particularly grueling few days of work I was driving home the other night and found myself getting sleepy. So, I rolled down the windows to let in some fresh air, hoping it would perk me up. But I was on the freeway and the air was smelly so I went to plan B. Crank up the music and sing along. But if I did this all the way home, I'd end up with nodes and a raspy voice.
Then I remembered the Equus has a massaging driver seat. I accidentally switched this on once (the button is on the left side of the seat bottom) and found it pretty creepy. But I remember a Hyundai representative telling us this function was good for long road trips. It refreshes the driver and helps him stay awake.
It's very strange at first. It's pretty aggressive and works its way up and down your back. And it reaches pretty low on the spine. It woke me up for sure. Then I kind of got into it. But I found if you keep it on too long, it ends up relaxing you and then you're stuck with the same problem.
Have you ever tried massaging seats? What's your take?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 7,908 miles
June 20, 2011
This weekend I felt like going old school with my music. So, I listened to some CDs that I haven't loaded onto my iPod.
This coincided with my friend buying a dirt cheap regionless DVD player before the manufacturers stop making them. Some companies have stopped producing DVDs and it's only a matter of time before the DVD player goes the way of the 8-track. He has a lot of movies in this format and wants to be able to play them on something.
It got me to thinking about when car manufacturers will stop putting CD slots in cars. In the rare occurrence that we find a new car with a tape cassette deck, we act like we discovered dinosaur bones in the car. Most manufacturers now assume you will listen to music on your iPod or similar player, or use the car's hard drive (which are also falling out of fashion), or just listen to the radio.
So, what's your best guess, how long do you think manufacturers will continue to put CD players in cars?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
June 06, 2011
One good thing about the Hyundai Equus coming with an iPad containing the owner's manual -- well, two good things.
One is that you get an iPad.
Two, is that you can search the owner's manual for keywords. Nice.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 7,555 miles
May 31, 2011
Scott was talking to some Hyundai people the other day and reminded them we never received our owner's manual/iPad. They thought they had already sent it so they shipped one to us right away.
Here is video of Scott demonstrating some of its features:
May 24, 2011
I never thought I'd see the day when I'd prefer a Hyundai to a BMW. But here we are. Just on throttle response alone, the most recent BMW 5 and 7 Series have broken the deal. And it's not even as though the Equus' response is particularly fantastic, either -- Hyundai just managed NOT to screw it up like BMW has. In my time in the big Hyundai last night, I only found one complaint: the display.
The picture above looks great, right? Last night, it looked more like the dimmed version below. With the sun at my back, that display became a mass of grey. I thought it might be the day/night setting, and I was partially correct, it was set on "night." I put it in "auto" mode but that only changed the map -- the rest of the menus were still hard to read. I checked the brightness, too, increasing it from its middle setting to full bright. But it the screen was still hard to read.
May 19, 2011
About two years ago I wrote a post about our long-term 2009 Hyundai Genesis' clunky iPod adapter. Well, I could pretty much copy and paste that text and apply it to our 2011 Equus. Not much has changed. Seeing as the two cars share the same infotainment interface, maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
The main issue is that there's still no way to quickly scroll through an artist or song list. Many other iPod interfaces in cars these days let you fast-forward scroll or jump to certain letters. In the Equus, it's a laborious process that involves spinning or pushing the main controller wheel up or down for each display page. Heaven help you if you want to get to ZZ Top, as you can't go backwards from A to get to Z.
Also, as Mark noted last month, there's no Bluetooth audio streaming in the Equus.
Are these huge issues? No. But when I'm paying $60,000 for a car, I'd expect better.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
May 12, 2011
Every time you get into our Equus or turn off the engine, it plays a tune and shows an animated graphic on the gauge cluster display. Having been driving the car for a few days straight now, I must say that the tune is getting on my nerves. You can hear it in Donna's startup video from a couple months ago. It sounds like a rejected theme from Windows 95 or, as carguy622 commented in Donna's post, "I'm starting a car, not a digital camera circa 2002."
Now, before you fire off about me being a moron or before Hyundai PR sends me a politely worded "you are a moron" email, I shall note that yes indeed one can disable the tune. But it's not something easily accessible in the Equus' main menu commands. Instead, you have to read the manual to find out how to do it and then perform a specific sequence of button pushes that could have very well been taken from a secret cheat move in Tekken 6.
More fitting for the Equus' luxury status, I think, would be a customizable startup sound where you can add your own through the USB port. Ringtones for your car -- maybe that's the next frontier.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
April 04, 2011
This was my first weekend in the Equus -- out of the trunk, at least. I've gotta say, I really like this car. For a minimum savings of $10,000 compared to a BMW 7 Series, I think I might actually take the Equus. To me, it's just smart money. Sure, depreciation will get you, so maybe one coming off of a lease in a few years. There's just one problem I have with the big Hyundai
No Bluetooth streaming audio. I know, some will argue that this feature is not relevant. Some will say it's headed for the scrap heap. Let me explain why I wish I had it.
April 01, 2011
Perhaps you've read my praise of our Infiniti M56's Intelligent cruise control. If not, the CliffsNotes version follows.
Although not a substitute for simply paying attention, the Infiniti's system does eliminate a great deal of pedal pushing. Same thing for the Equus' active cruise control system. I didn't have a chance to test whether or not it will bring the car to a complete stop and then reaccelerate to a preset speed, but I was close.
I relied on the system to bring the car down to about five mph and then return to speed. It's also a bit better in certain traffic situations than the Infiniti. Say, for example, when someone jumps out of their lane and reduces your space cushion to the car in front. The Equus is less prone to heavy braking here when it's not needed, but will still use the brakes enough to reestablish the gap.
More details as I have a chance to experiment.
Josh Jacquot, Senior editor
March 23, 2011
As you know, I love all things heated. After the jump, watch a video tour of the heated steering wheel in the Hyundai Equus.
March 17, 2011
Our long-term $58K 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature doesn't have a one-touch power trunk closer. To get that feature, you have to spring for the $64,500 Equus Ultimate, where it's standard.
I was originally going to carp about how a one-touch power trunk closer should be standard on the lower level Signature. But a little research revealed that for the Equus target vehicle, the Lexus LS460, you need to pony up for the long-wheelbase L model to get it standard. It's optional on the short-wheelbase LS models.
Hmmmmm. It seems like Hyundai benchmarked its competitor's specs too well.
In any event, for those who think one should use his own biceps to close the trunk: we're talking luxury cars here, not some used Ford 500 purchased off the rental car lot.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 3,400 miles
March 16, 2011
Not really. Thought I did, though. Kept pressing the Back button on the multimedia button pad as though it were a Home button (it's not) until it got stuck. Once parked, managed to jam a credit card into a gap and pry it back to its normal springy position. A small reminder that the Equus, nice as it is, isn't primetime luxo just yet.
The button and the action feel a little cheap to begin with, as do many of the dash, console and panel materials. It's all in the right place, the presentation works, and the rotary multimedia controller -- falling right to hand as your wrist dangles off the armrest -- is really the only way to fly. But everything just looks and feels a bit too knocked-off. Nothing is quite shiny, polished, smooth, brushed or thick enough.
But it's so close. Hyundai is probably only one producer (in this case, maybe an interior designer) away from releasing its masterwork. Only one Rick Rubin or George Martin away from its landmark Sgt. Pepper's or OK Computer. So close.
For one thing, the Equus hauls. The 385-hp V8 brings its mass to bear in a hurry: 6.7 seconds to 60 mph in our tests. And you feel it. Not in a lumbering, uncoordinated way, but more like a rolling boulder picking up steam. A solid metal mass in motion. You could let off the throttle and this horse would probably coast to Colorado.
And dead quiet. This car is so acoustically-treated, so well-damped from the outside world, that it reminds me of riding a Japanese bullet train. You get the same sensation on the shinkansen: just the slight hum of machines at work under thick layers of rubber, air, and acoustic isolation. Slight wind whistle off the windows. A quiet, dreamy hum punctuated by the occasional rising pitch of acceleration.
Which makes the Equus not for everyone, particularly drivers who rate sensory engagement with the road as one of life's pleasures. This likely includes you. That said, if you already own THAT car and simply want a pillowed path through the highway drudgery, the Equus can hang with nearly any of the top novocaine cruisers.
What you save on sticker, you'll pay for through inferior fit and finish, sure. And at $60,000, I don't think I'd want reminders of that every day. Especially priced so close to an M56, or with a new XJ within sight. But not counting Hyundai out at all. It's already changed the family sedan game. The more discerning luxury segment is obviously another nut.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
March 15, 2011
Our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature has power-folding, heated, and auto-dimming mirrors with embedded repeaters, standard. I like power folding mirrors for parking in tight spaces, or street parking. How many times have all of us seen an old POS rolling with a mirror dangling from the A-pillar?
I was initially befuddled by the folding mirrors on our Equus. When I would return to the car, sometimes they would be folded, sometimes they wouldn't. So I RTFM'ed.
There's a switch to fold/unfold near the mirror adjust, of course. The mirrors can be operated ~30sec after engine is turned Off or to ACC. But it turns out the mirrors can be folded when you press the door lock button on the smart key within 4sec after locking the doors by pressing the same switch. And they can be unfolded by pressing the unlock button on the smart key within 4sec after pressing the unlock switch. So press lock/unlock, then press again for the mirrors to fold/unfold.
I guess I never noticed until I walked back to the car. Mystery solved.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 3,300 miles (Hit the jump for a short video of the mirrors.)
March 14, 2011
It's simply not worth it in the Equus. In addition to its ample legroom, the armrest in the back seat features this extensive array of auxiliary controls. And this is without the optional rear seat luxury package that comes on the "Ultimate" edition.
Not only can you endlessly annoy the person sitting shotgun by moving their seat around, you can fire up your own seat heaters, raise the rear sunshade (there are side window shades as well) and adjust the radio station and volume. Even if you don't feel the need to play with the gadgets, the seats themselves are comfortable enough to fall asleep in.
Such an elaborate and comfortable rear seat setup used to be reserved for the long-wheelbase versions of the big German sedans. Not a bad package to find in a $59,000 sedan.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com
March 11, 2011
Our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Signature has a useful back-up camera display with both trajectory and proximity guidelines.
It also has two available views: Back and Top. I tried using the Top view (bottom pic) and didn't find it useful. However, the all-around perimeter camera on our departed Infiniti FX50 was awesome. I was able to parallel park that puppy in a space not much longer than the vehicle itself.
But the Equus back-up camera Top view...how do you think you would use this? I suppose you could see the curb better.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~ 3,000 miles
March 01, 2011
Seat heaters on. Sport mode on.
I like the seat heaters in the Hyundai Equus because they warm all the way up the back cushion. They get nice and toasty, too. I don't really care if my behind gets warm but I like the heated backrest. Ahhh after a long day sitting at my desk.
Sport mode was already on because, as Karl mentioned, the Equus lets it stay that way until you unselect it. It felt good, too. Warms me on the inside. The Equus drives like a large car. Sport helps it feel more manageable.
Have you seen any Hyundai Equus on the road?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
February 28, 2011
So if you go to your Hyundai dealer and buy a 16 GB WiFi Apple iPad for $60K, you get an Equus for free? Wait, I think I got that backwards.
You do get the iPad with every Equus, but our 2011 long-termer has owner's books in the glove box.
I couldn't find the iPad -- maybe it's at a colleague's home.
You can download the app here.
Enjoy the video; maybe you saw it last night during the Oscars.
Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 2,600 miles
February 24, 2011
I've been anxious to drive Hyundai's luxury-play car for some time now. It's the vehicle itself, of course, but I also fell for Hyundai's marketing, including the iPad owner's manual and Hyundai's white-glove "At Your Service" program. That's where a valet from Hyundai drives to your house with an Equus or Genesis loaner and whisks your Equus away for its service. The valet also brings along a unicorn whose saddlebags are filled with champagne and foie gras. (OK, I made that last part up.)
Last night, the Equus was mine and I was thrilled. I went through the usual mirror and driver-position settings before leaving work. The seat-adjustment controls are on the door, as you can see in this Hyundai-supplied image (on the passenger-side door). They're as plain as day and totally intuitive, but in my case, habit and muscle memory trumped that. I reached for the controls on the side of the seat, where they reside on many cars. And that's how I accidentally turned on the Equus' massage feature.
February 09, 2011
I live 41 miles from Edmunds.com HQ in Santa Monica. "No problem," you say, "That's about a 40-minute drive or less." Ha! That only applies when the freeways look like they do above--at 5:00 in the morning which is when I usually go to work. (It has taken as much a 2.5 hours if I leave my house at 7:00 am.)
A benefit to my oh-my-God-o'clock commute is that it gives me an opportunity to test/observe some of the road noise, wind noise, audio systems, and other quiet-time open-road goodies on our test cars like the 2011 Hyundai Equus's adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning system.