2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate Sedan (5.0L V8 8-speed Automatic)
Driven On 3/10/2014
The Hyundai Equus attempts to compete with top luxury brands from Europe and Japan at an appreciably lower price. Comfort is paramount, as displayed by a smooth ride, quiet cabin and high-end amenities. Rear passenger room is enormous. What the Equus lacks in personality it makes up for in size and luxury.
PerformanceThe 429-hp 5.0-liter V8 is strong and refined. The standard 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly in every situation we encountered. Dynamically, the Equus errs on the side of comfort and cruising rather than outright performance.
The V8 works well in this Equus. It pulls silently yet powerfully, with smooth gearshifts. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 5.6 seconds, pretty decent for such a big sedan.
Firm pedal with good, short travel. Minimal dive during panic stops, but it required 127 feet to reach a stop from 60 mph, which is slightly below average for this class of car.
Steering is light at low speed, but firms up nicely as the pace picks up on the highway. It's as precise as you'll ever need a luxury sedan to be. Remember, it was designed as a cushy cruiser.
Sporty driving is not the purpose of the Equus. As such, it's in its element on long, straight stretches of highway. It's utterly stable, but low on grip when pushed hard on curvy roads.
Pick a destination far, far away, get on a highway and go. This is a purpose-built long-distance hauler. The smooth engine, transmission and suspension make driving easy.
ComfortIf not for the occasional grumble of its V8, you could easily forget the outside world exists when you're in the Equus. The cabin is quiet, the seats are welcoming. Top-tier amenities (such as massaging seats) are everywhere.
The full-size luxury segment is a tough place to compete, yet the Equus holds its own. Seats are comfortable over long drives. Seat heaters/coolers only add to the experience.
Soft, controlled ride. The Sport mode amplifies sharp impacts more than we'd like, but Normal mode feels slightly underdamped. Somewhere in between would be nice.
Road and tire noise are well isolated from the cabin. It's quiet in here. Under load, the grunt from the 5.0-liter V8 rustles the eardrums just enough to remind you it's there.
InteriorThe Equus Ultimate now seats five; in prior years it was just four. There are some rearward visibility issues, although a rearview camera helps. The ergonomic layout is thoughtful and reasonably easy to use.
Hyundai reworked the interior a bit. The multimedia interface has been made easier to navigate and its main control wheel is located centrally.
Remarkably easy entry with exceptionally wide-opening doors. Well-spaced door detents limit the threat of opening the doors too wide, which will minimize parking-lot door dings.
Immense cabin space. Passengers of all shapes and sizes will be instantly comfortable. Three across does get snug in the back seat, but that's to be expected.
High trunklid limits rearward visibility to a degree, as do the wide rear roof pillars. Front and rearview cameras as well as a parking system fill in the gaps, however.
The huge 16.7 cu-ft. trunk has a large opening. Front center storage bin is expansive and door pockets flip out for easier access. The rear center armrest offers some storage, but is largely consumed by controls.
ValueValue for your money is what Hyundai is all about. The Equus competes with cars far more expensive than itself. Quality may not be to the caliber of competing flagships, but it's not far off. A long warranty and ownership extras help it stand out.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality and luxury are the name of the game in this class. The Hyundai doesn't disappoint with its appearance or choice of materials. But it doesn't wow you with extravagance, either.
Most every comfort and safety feature available on the established luxury marques in this class are found on the Equus as standard. The rest are included with the Ultimate trim.
The Equus starts at $61,000 and competes with cars costing $20,000 more. Our Equus was the Ultimate trim, with $7,000 worth of extra features, bringing the as-tested price to $68,920.
The EPA rates the Equus at 18 mpg Combined (15 City/23 Highway). Not exceptional, but not all that surprising from a big and heavy sedan with a powerful V8.
A 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty come standard, together surpassing all rivals.
The 3-year/36,000-mile free maintenance program is pretty cool. The dealer will pick up your car from your house and supply a loaner. There's also roadside assistance for 5 years/unlimited miles.
Fun To DriveThis is not a car that begs to be driven aggressively. Sure, the 5.0-liter V8 provides some thrills, but what's truly fun in this car is being a passenger ensconced in luxury. There are reclining rear seats with heat/cooling. And video screens.
The Equus is a car you drive because you need to get somewhere, not merely for the sake of driving. It'll make your commute mellow and luxurious.
Some might consider the Equus the poor man's BMW/Audi/Mercedes/Lexus. But we beg to differ. The Equus is its own version of luxury. And we like it.