The Hyundai Equus fittingly stands as a dark horse in the large luxury class with its competitive performance, extensive equipment roster, world-class quality and extraordinary value pricing. Lexus and Infiniti took a similar approach back in the day, and now it's Hyundai's turn. For about $60,000 when new, the Hyundai Equus offers the space, comfort and amenities of fully optioned high-end sedans costing $90,000 or even more.
Even if the Equus isn't quite as performance-oriented or impeccably built as European thoroughbreds, Hyundai is betting potential drivers will care more about the enormous cost savings. Not only that, but the Hyundai Equus appeals with its remarkably quiet and limousine-like cabin, top-drawer amenities, long warranty and unique dealer service program.
Current Hyundai Equus
The Hyundai Equus is a large luxury sedan that is based on Hyundai's previous-generation Genesis platform, but it's been enlarged to provide limousine-like interior room. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 generating 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
There are two trim levels, Signature and Ultimate. The base Signature trim includes premium features like various driver warning systems (lane departure, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic), adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a sunroof and keyless ignition and entry. Inside you'll also find a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated power front seats, heated power-reclining rear seats, premium leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power window shades, navigation, a multimedia controller, Bluetooth, Blue Link telematics and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with iPod interface, satellite radio and six-CD changer.
The Hyundai Equus Ultimate's added highlights include power soft-close doors, a power trunk lid, a head-up display, forward- and surround-view cameras, power rear sunshades, ventilated rear seats with power lumbar and headrest adjustments, rear vanity mirrors and a dual-screen DVD entertainment system.
The Equus' interior is substantially nicer than what you'd expect in other Hyundais and is acceptable at its price range; however, the newer Genesis sedan is a bit nicer and any of the similarly priced or sized entries from Japanese and European makers are far superior.
Nevertheless, the Equus Ultimate trim is still intriguing with its first-class rear compartment offering a limolike ambience unmatched by other sedans at its price point. Up front, a large LCD screen and straightforward multimedia and climate controls make it relatively easy to manage the extensive high-tech features.
While the Equus V8's output looks good on paper and is perfectly capable in most situations, acceleration from a stop is not quite as energetic as you'll find in other V8-powered flagships due to its modest torque rating. Once underway, this Hyundai responds like a slightly more willing Lexus LS 460. An aggressive BMW killer it isn't, but we think there are plenty of luxury sedan shoppers who'll be more than happy with the Equus' relaxing ride, spacious cabin, myriad creature comforts and undeniable value proposition.
Used Hyundai Equus Models
The Hyundai Equus debuted in the 2011 model year. These first-year examples were powered by a 4.6-liter V8 that produced 385 hp and 333 lb-ft of torque. The more powerful 5.0-liter engine was new for 2012. Apart from lacking slightly refreshed interior and exterior styling, a few high-tech features (telematics and blind-spot/rear cross-traffic warning systems) and a three- (rather than two-) passenger rear seat for the Ultimate version, these pre-'14 Equus models are otherwise similar to the current offerings.