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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

My Equus Ultimate is one of the nicest cars I've owned. Quiet, handles well and very nice design. Had the S Class Mercedes but stepped out of the box for the Equus. People said "skeptical paying that for a Hyundai" but after riding in it and enjoying the amenities, nothing else said. Case closed. One guy stopped who had a Rolls Royce said he was considering buying an Equus. People often ask what is it (wing emblem on hood) and "heard about it, nice car." I have not been disappointed. It is truly a very nice car and the Equus Connect customer service is top notch, every question answered and any concern taken care of immediately. Love my Equus -- class extraordinaire.

2011 equus ultimate is just

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

Recently a purchased 2011 Equus Ultimate with 40k miles. Pearl White with cashmere leather. Amenities too numerous to list. Super quiet, the design is fantastic and turns heads due to it's rarity on the road. No complaints. Adaptive cruise and lane departure system work flawlessly. The Lexicon Sound is unmatched. Save $20-30,000 by indulging yourself with a fine Equus with an engine that will go forever. No timing belts or broken engine mounts like MB or Audi.

Equus ultimate trumps s600 or

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

Yes it's a Hyundai! The best part is the $20000 or more you get to keep in your pocket when you choose this fine car. Front/ Rear camera's, Adaptive cruise, Alcantara head liner, powered sun shades all around, a refrigerator, recliner and a LCD screen in back. Not to mention a remote for the reclining, vibrating, heated and cooled rear passenger seat. 1000 pounds lighter makes a big difference too. 28 MPG on highway!

Outstanding car and value

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

I found, to my surprise, that I really like the forward looking camera. The ride and comfort are very good. Quiet and lots of conveniences. Could do without the ashtrays and would like a bit more storage in front. Auto closing trunk is great. I drove LS 460s for 20 years but could not turn down the fabulous value of the Equus. I'm not sorry I switched. I didn't feel I needed the 5 liter engine or 8 speed thansmission. I don't. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this car to anyone. It is a great machine and the service at the dealer has been very good so far.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

2011 ultimate review - great

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

I have owned 2 Lexus, 2 Acura, Lincoln Navigator and am turning in my Jaguar XF Premium Lease. I have test drove many cars looking for a premium luxury sedan. I took a chance on the Equus after researching for over 2 months and a number of test drives. After taking delivery and putting on 1000 miles - I am stunned at the quality of the vehicle. I was very unsure of my decision to move on a Hyundai, but relied on many of the reviews here and other places. The fit and finish is superb, and contrary to most professional reviews, the exterior of the vehicle is very sharp - I have already had a number of people asking me about the vehicle at a gas station and restaurant! Great job Hyundai!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

A lot of car for

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Equus

We were looking for a little higher level of luxury and comfort than our 2006 Infiniti M35. We weren't personally drawn to Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or Jaguar. As Infiniti and Lexus owners we test-drove the M37, the LS460. But after driving the Equus, it was our favorite.

Gas Mileage


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

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.

Talk About The 2012 Equus

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