2011 Hyundai Equus: Retirement Party at Petco Park
August 22, 2011
Some friends and I made plans weeks ago to go to San Diego this past Sunday for the number retirement ceremony for MLB's current all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, followed by the Padres/Marlins game. There would be four of us, and since the two rear-seaters are six-footers, I didn't want to mess around with midsize cars like our 528i (which I know can be cramped in back) or the M56. So I picked our 2011 Hyundai Equus.
Spending last week in Seoul made me more enthusiastic about driving the Equus because this is the top home-market car there. Sonatas and Optimas are for regular people (and taxi drivers), but the Equus is the limo for dignitaries, and there are plenty of decade-old first-generation cars still on the road and still looking dignified. They're all painted black like our long-termer.
We set out for San Diego early Sunday morning. Right away, I noticed the suspension's preference for floating and bobbing over expansion joints and ruts. I switched to the Sport damping mode to see if that provided a little more control, but it just seemed to make the ride harsh. So back to normal mode. Yeah, the ride's floaty, but it's pretty comfortable, and 250 miles later, it was still pretty comfortable.
I can't say I'm surprised, really. The Equus' chassis tuning is likely a product of South Korean driving conditions: terrible traffic in Seoul, combined with really smooth, toll-subsidized highways once you get out of the city. You don't really need a lot of precision to take care of that.
Meanwhile, everybody in the rear seat was happy. "Make sure you say in the blog that the 'Korean Royalty Car' has plenty of legroom for two six-foot men in the backseat," one of the occupants advised. Done.
Although our car's 4.6-liter V8 feels a little shy on low-end grunt, there's certainly enough torque here for easy passing. Occasionally, the six-speed automatic was slow to figure out what I wanted under part-throttle, but flooring it generally yielded the desired result.
Oddly, there was a lot of wind noise coming into the cabin, most of it concentrated on the front passsenger side, as if the door or window isn't sealing properly. Hmm. Road noise wasn't bad at all for a car with P245/45R19 front and P275/40R19 rear tires.
The navigation system accurately guided us to two restaurants and the Padres Parkade, letting us know on which side of the street we'd find our destinations (something that doesn't happen in our long-term 528i). Interestingly, the nav system recommended against using the Highway 73 tollroad on our way out of Orange County -- thus helping us pinch every penny like a good Hyundai should.
While we were in San Diego, the Padres retired Hoffman's number -- 51 -- and the event was well attended by various Padres' legends, including Tony Gwynn, of course. In some kind of poetic injustice, Hoffman's heir, current closer Heath Bell, blew the save but salvaged the win as the Padres defeated the Marlins in 10.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,526 miles