2011 Hyundai Equus: The Future of Luxury
June 09, 2011
So far I've been praising the 2011 Hyundai Equus with faint damn.
It's the quintessential Hyundai, a round-up of affordable technology in a package that's an excellent imitation of something else. In this case, we're talking about a kind of entry-level Lexus LS sedan, which is no bad thing, believe me.
But now I think the Equus is better than this. It's actually at the leading edge of luxury car design, a gesture toward the future. Though maybe this is for reasons that we haven't entirely expected.
First, there's a renewed appreciation for value among luxury car buyers, just like with every other segment of car buyers. There's a continuing appreciation for excellence and refinement, but what you get for your money is clearly an even bigger deal than ever. As a result, Hyundai's strategy of selecting only the key attributes of a luxury car and incorporating available technology only when it becomes affordable makes more sense than ever.
An entry-level luxury car at an affordable price has become more desirable than the latest, greatest thing. This has always been true to a certain extent, but now we're seeing more luxury car buyers with this outlook.
Second, the poor relative value of a dollar in the international marketplace means that foreign carmakers can't afford to bring the latest, greatest thing to the U.S. because no one can afford to pay what the technology really costs. We're still seeing plenty of high-tech sedans, but the trend is toward cars like the new BMW 5 Series, which simply downsizes the features and attributes of the 7 Series (and even the basic mechanical platform) at a more affordable price.
Luxury at the right price is the message of the Equus, just as it actually once was for Lexus 20 years ago. It's the right thing for American luxury-car buyers now just as it was then. Right now, Hyundai is shaping our luxury-car future.
Hyundai not only is the new Honda, it's also the new Lexus.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,650 miles