2012 Hyundai Equus Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Hyundai Equus Sedan

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Hyundai Equus Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.0 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 8-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 429 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Hyundai Equus

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • The 2012 Hyundai Equus' comprehensive features, comfort and affordable price make it one of the most compelling contenders in the class of large luxury sedans.

  • Safety | Rating Details
  • Pros

    Enormous list of standard features; presidential-size backseat; supremely quiet; serene ride; phenomenal sound system; low price for the segment.

  • Cons

    Interior quality and driving experience don't match those of rivals; disappointing braking distances; all-wheel drive not offered.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Hyundai Equus gets a new 5.0-liter V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power rear side-window shades now come standard on the Ultimate.

Full 2012 Hyundai Equus Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Hyundai Equus gets a new 5.0-liter V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power rear side-window shades now come standard on the Ultimate.


Just a few years ago, the idea of Hyundai launching a full-size premium luxury sedan in America seemed whimsical. Yet the 2012 Hyundai Equus, with its refined manners and notable value, will likely make you a believer.

The Equus carries over into 2012 largely unchanged. There's still a wholesale list of standard features and interior refinement on par with the best from Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. But there are two welcome changes for this year's Equus: a new 5.0-liter V8 engine and an eight-speed transmission. The former makes more power than nearly every other V8 from the German and Japanese rivals, and the new transmission helps the 429-horsepower V8 achieve 18 mpg in combined driving.

Inside you'll find creature comforts and tech that includes a massaging driver seat, adaptive cruise control, a 17-speaker sound system and even a rear passenger footrest. It's enough to make the Hyundai Equus a legitimate challenger to similarly priced (but smaller) luxury cars like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, as well as similarly sized (but pricier) flagship sedans like the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class.

Against the flagships, the Equus does come up short in a couple areas. The quality of the interior materials, for instance, isn't as high, and the V8, even though it's more powerful this year, still doesn't quite provide the low-end muscle that's often expected for this class of car. Some other shoppers might be put off by its bland styling. Still, the Equus represents a high water mark for Hyundai. Whatever it may lack is made up for with solid engineering, comfortable indulgence and an earthly price. You don't normally buy a Hyundai to impress your friends, but that just might happen with the 2012 Hyundai Equus.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Hyundai Equus is a large luxury sedan available in Signature and Ultimate trim levels. The Signature seats five and includes 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension with adaptive dampers, a lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, a windshield wiper de-icer, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof and keyless ignition/entry.

Within the plush cabin you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats (12-way driver, 10-way passenger) with driver massage and memory functions, a heated and power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, wood and aluminum accents, a microfiber faux-suede headliner, heated and reclining rear seats, rear-seat audio and climate controls, a power rear window shade and manual rear side window shades. In terms of electronics, the Equus comes standard with a navigation system with real-time traffic, Bluetooth and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system with an iPod interface, satellite radio and six-CD changer.

The Equus Ultimate seats four, as the rear bench is replaced with a pair of reclining bucket seats with heating/cooling/massaging functions and a passenger-side power footrest. A rear center console includes storage bins, a mini refrigerator and separate controls for the climate and rear seat DVD entertainment systems. A power trunk lid, power rear side window shades and a forward-view cornering camera are also included with the Ultimate.

Powertrains and Performance

The rear-wheel-drive 2012 Hyundai Equus comes standard with a 5.0-liter V8 making 429 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is also standard. According to EPA estimates, the Equus returns 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

In Edmunds performance testing, the Equus went from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is average for a V8-powered luxury sedan.


The 2012 Hyundai Equus comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, active front head restraints, a lane-departure warning system, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a driver-side knee airbag, front and rear side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Equus came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet, which is about 10 feet longer than average.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Equus its highest rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing, as well as roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Equus quiets skeptics by packing nearly every luxury and convenience found in other premium-badged cars and wrapping them in a first-class design. Interior quality does fall short of the high-end cabins of flagship luxury sedans, but is every bit as good as that of less expensive Acura or Infiniti cabins. One minor question mark is durability; we've noticed stretched and sagging leather seat upholstery in an Equus test car of ours with fewer than 20,000 miles on the meter.

Overall interior room is quite impressive, and both front and rear passengers are treated to sky-high levels of comfort. For the full VIP experience, we recommend the Equus Ultimate for its unique four-passenger configuration. The extending La-Z-Boy footrest will impress your friends, but it isn't really long enough for most full-size adults to enjoy. In terms of trunk space, the Equus is pretty respectable, with 16.7 cubic feet available.

The Equus features a knob-based multimedia controller that operates the navigation, climate, vehicle and entertainment systems (there are also simple, redundant climate controls in the center stack). Overall, it works OK, with certain tasks like Bluetooth phone pairing made particularly painless. However, commonly used functions like selecting a radio preset or controlling your iPod take too much effort. This is a shame, since the Lexicon sound system is one of the best available in any car, period.

Driving Impressions

Silence. That's one of the first things you notice after taking the wheel of the 2012 Hyundai Equus. At idle, it's about as quiet as a hybrid with the engine shut off. Things aren't much louder once underway, with the engine just a whisper and only a slight tire howl from the four corners. Still, the Equus isn't some sleepy-handling limousine. It floats a bit in default suspension mode, but hit the Sport dynamic button and the Equus firms up over bumps and road irregularities. It doesn't have the speed or reflexes of luxo-sport sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series or Jaguar XJ, but the Equus remains stable and predictable when pushed.

While rated power from the new 5.0-liter V8 meets or beats most of the competition, the Equus still lacks the low-end thrust of the German flagship nobility. It's one of the few traits that keeps the Equus from the ranks of elite luxury sedans. But if history is any indicator, this may be a short-lived deficiency.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Defective engine

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

At little over a year, performance and gas mileage began to deteriorate. Next, an engine knocking became increasingly loud.no check engine or oil pressure light warning. Dealer found oil 3 quarts low-- suspect that the engine had already been damaged..on investigation, this is a systemic problem which Hyundai Equus and Genesis with the same engine share. Hyundai does not appear ready to own up to the defective engine which occurred with the higher horse powered 2012. Major blow in their aspirations to compete as a luxury brand

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

Top of the line luxury

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

I traded in my BMW 745i for the 2011 Hyundai Signature Series Equus, and apart from some irritating aspects of the i-pod and navigation systems, I'm delighted with the smooth, comfortable, QUIET! ride of this luxury ride. To boot, I get 27+ mpg on the highway and 20 mpg overall using regular gas, and the valet service, where the Hyundai dealer delivers a loaner Equus to my house when picking up mine for service is a major plus. The exterior will remind you of the top of the line Lexus, and the interior is similar to the S600 series Benz (the suede like head liner, analog clock in the dash, etc.). Compare sticker prices with the competition and you'll be astounded at the savings.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

Most enjoyable car i ever

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

Very luxurious vehicle. Solid smooth ride. Floats on the highway like being in a cloud. I fell safe, encapsulated from the noisy world, and most of all, feel extremely pampered from the moment I step inside. Very quick for a big sedan. Great displayes, comfy seats, and intuitive navi systems. All luxury features in competing car manufacturers are here, but for less money. But, let us be real: $60K is still alot of money. But, nice things cost money. However, the value for dollar is stronger in this product than the others. Also, there is some exclusivity. Most people are still eyeing the equus. Everyone (and their mother) have BMWs and the like. Be different! Stand out! Enjoy the ride.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

Equus - 2012 with a

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

Just got my 2012 Equus yesterday. I was on a waiting list. I am a little skeptical of reviewers who got it weeks ago - how did they get the car when mine was one of the first off the boat from Korea? Anyways, the car, after 2 days is a lot of fun and seems to be a great value. It rides a little on the soft side, but with the new, more powerful engine, its acceleration is strong. Its exceedingly quiet, roomy, comfortable, and has a long list of features. The promised support seems to be very nice - time will tell if that turns out to be truth or hype. In short, if you are looking for a luxurious ride, don't need to impress anyone , and want to save big $$, this is worth a look.

30 of 82 people found this review helpful

My new equus- 2012 model

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

I have just had the car a short time and I held out for the 2012 model due to vastly improved engine and transmission. (429 HP and 8 speed). I haven't opened it up yet, but it obviously has worlds of power. 0 to 60 probably near 5 secs. It is ultra quiet and very comfortable. The seat has many adjustments and the control for same is very handy. It is priced many thousands (20 to 35K) less than M-B S series, BMW 7 series, or the big Lexus, or Audi A8. Go drive it and see for yourself!r Audi A8 to 30K) less than any equivalent car from BMW, M-B,

12 of 71 people found this review helpful

Not comfortable

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Vehicle: 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 8A)

The long distance comfort of this car is of serious concern. I bought this car and took a 900 mile trip a day later. Three hours into trip, my back was screaming in pain. By the end of trip, I was incapacited, with shooting pains in legs, back and arms. I am a long distance driver and convinced the Hyundia Dealer to buy the car back after showing them the articles on Autoblog about the seats (google Equus Long Distance). The dealer purchase a Lexus LS460 (14,000 miles) and I traded up. I just completed a 600 mile trip in the Lexus. No back pain or any other pain. The front seats in the Equus are poorly designed. No way to modify them, I tried and even had a pad made with memory foam.

Talk About The 2012 Equus

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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