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    Review: 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature


    • The $61,920 Question


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    December 11, 2013

    Whenever you have a conversation that revolves around the Hyundai Equus, two questions pop up:

    • Hyundai is building a luxury sedan?
    • Won't the Hyundai Equus end up having a similar fate as the Volkswagen Phaeton?

    The second question comes up a lot since the Equus and Phaeton share a lot of commonalities:

    • Both come from automakers with modest lineup
    • Both are/were the most expensive models in the lineup
    • Both came with a number of luxuries and technologies

    The difference is how long they were sold in the U.S. The Phaeton went on sale in 2002 model year and only lasted four years. Meanwhile, the Equus was introduced in the 2011 model year and is celebrating it's third year on sale. To commemorate this, Hyundai has given the Equus a bit of a nip and tuck for the 2014 model year.

    But the question remains whether or not the Equus will have a bright or dark future ahead of it. Well, I spent a week with an 2014 Equus Signature and I have a possible answer to that question

    2014 Hyundai Equus Signature 2

    The Equus exterior design is a very conservative shape. You will not find any shocking or daring design touches on the body. This isn't such a good plan because the majority of players in the flagship marketplace have really stepped in making their sedans stand out. My assumption is that Hyundai wanted to play it safe with the first-generation and will do something a bit different with the next-generation model.

    What has changed on the 2014 Equus is a number of tweaks to the front end. There is a new grille, bumper, and headlights that make the Equus look fresh. You also have a set of nineteen-inch turbine wheels which add a touch of class.

    Hyundai made some major improvements to the Equus' interior. The previous interior looked more at home in a

    2014 Hyundai Equus Signature 15

    midsize sedan than a flagship sedan with a lot of plastic, a small screen for the infotainment system, and switchgear from other Hyundai models. The 2014 Equus really steps up with a redesigned dashboard that features wood and metal trim and an improved center stack.

    As for infotainment, the Equus Signature comes with a large 9.2-inch screen that is controlled by knob and set of buttons on the center console. The system is very intuitive and only takes a few minutes to learn how to work it, something that cannot be said for the competition's infotainment systems. Hyundai's infotainment software has also seen improvements both in graphics and performance.

    Up front, driver and passenger are coddled in leather seats that provide a number of power adjustments, plus heat and cooling. For the back seat passengers, there is loads of head and legroom. The rear seats also recline, increasing the comfort quotient by a wide margin. Rear seat passengers also get a set of controls for the climate, audio, and seat adjustments in the rear armrest.

    For impressions on the powertrain and ride, see page 2.

    2014 Hyundai Equus Signature 14

    Click pictures to enlarge


    Powering the Equus is Hyundai's 5.0L Tau V8 engine. This V8 produces 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic gets the power from the engine to the rear wheels. The V8 really has the grunt to get this large sedan moving. Stepping on the accelerator releases an almost instantaneous rush of power. More impressive is how quiet and refined the V8 engine is. Even when you mash the pedal, the V8 emits a low rumble. The eight-speed automatic provides velvety-smooth and quick shifts. One minute, the transmission is upshifting to keep the V8 quietly humming. The next minute when I hit the pedal, the transmission is downshifting to get the power to the road. EPA fuel economy is rated at 15 City/23 Highway/18 Combined. During my week, I saw an average of 18.2 MPG.

    2014 Hyundai Equus Signature 16

    The Equus provided one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced thanks to a revised air suspension system with three different modes (Normal, Sport, and Snow). The system does an excellent job making sure potholes, bumps, and other road imperfections don't make their way inside. Also not making an appearance is noise from the road and wind. Hyundai made sure to insulate the Equus with double-pane glass and sound deadening material throughout. This is a perfect car to eat up miles on the highway or a long country road.

    What the Equus isn't so good at is being a fun to drive vehicle. Even though there is sport mode which firms up the air suspension, it really doesn't lessen the body roll. The steering isn't setup for the task either. Turning the wheel felt very rubber-bandy, not smooth as I was expecting. The steering has barely any feel or weight in the steering, but then again this is a big luxury sedan, not a sports car. I could imagine the Equus yelling out to me "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?!"when driving on a curvy road. If you want a big luxury sedan that's fun to drive, look to the Germans.

    2014 Hyundai Equus Signature 3

    Much like I said in my first drive, the 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature nails the basics of a flagship luxury sedan, and adds a lot value to boot. There is three years of no-cost maintenance with someone picking up the Equus to have it serviced at the dealer and three years of Hyundai's BlueLink Assurance Connected Care. All for an as-tested price of $61,920 with destination. There are a couple of areas Hyundai does need to improve on the Equus; the steering and exterior design.

    But the question remains on the future of the Equus, is in it for the long haul or not? Well, Hyundai has made the right decisions on the pricing, features, and a few other details. Hyundai is also being realistic how many Equus they sell every year. They know it will be a small number of people who want a luxury car at a bargain price.

    Looking into my crystal ball, I see the Equus having a nice future ahead of it.

    gallery_10485_741_622809.jpg

    Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Equus, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Hyundai

    Model: Equus

    Trim: Signature

    Engine: 5.0L GDI DOHC 32-valve Tau V8

    Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 429 @ 6,400

    Torque @ RPM: 376 @ 5,000

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/23/18

    Curb Weight: N/A

    Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea

    Base Price: $61,000

    As Tested Price: $61,920 (Includes $920 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    N/A

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Nice write up, wish people would realize that America builds Luxury driving machines and not always just drop back to the plastic over rated so called German Driving machines.

    I noticed that the back seat picture shows the front passenger seat folded forward. It would be great to see the front seat set for a 5'10" guy or better yet 6' tall person and then have a measuring stick to show real leg space from the seat to the back of the front seat.

    Is it really comfy from a seat width standpoint? I have found more and more center stacks eating up valuable passenger comfort space.

    What about the trunk? How big, how many full size suitcases would fit in it?

    Over all very informative and an enjoyable read.

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    The ones I see on the road usually have an older driver, in their 70s usually. So I think there is a buyer there that likes a big softer riding car. The Lincoln or Cadillac buyer that likes full size and rear drive and either can't afford or just won't spend $80-90k on a big car will like the Equus I think. And if you had a Town Car or Fleetwood way back and like the big rwd feel, I can see them buying this instead of an XTS or MKS.

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      Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Ridgeline, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Honda
      Model: Ridgeline
      Trim: RTL-E
      Engine: 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,515 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama
      Base Price: $41,370
      As Tested Price: $42,270 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
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      “I love hot hatchbacks as they offer drawback free motoring. You can put a chest of drawers in the back and then take it home at a million miles per hour.”
      The only hot hatch that has come close to this is the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Not only is a hoot to drive, but you can carry your friends and stuff with no real issue. But what about the Volkswagen Golf R? It offers the space as the GTI, but with a more powerful turbo engine and all-wheel drive. But the Golf R also comes with a price tag that is nearly $10,000 more than Golf GTI. Is it worth the extra cost?
      The Golf R uses the same turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder found in the Golf GTI, but the wick has been turned up. The R’s 2.0L pumps out 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with either a six-speed manual (what my tester featured) or six-speed DSG. No matter the transmission, Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system comes standard. Acceleration in the Golf R is an exciting experience. It only takes a brief moment for the turbo to spool up and then hold on. Power comes on a fast and steady rate. The six-speed manual is a bit notchy when changing gears. Like other Volkswagens equipped with the manual, the take-up point for the clutch is very narrow and you’ll have to have your foot almost off the floor to find it. It should be noted that the manual is over a half-second slower than the DSG - 5.1 vs. 4.5. But the manual does give you a bit more control with controlling the engine’s performance and making you feel that you’re playing a role. The 4Motion AWD system helps put the power down and keep the Golf R glued to the road when it’s dry. But the system really comes into its own when it is snowy. A few days into my loan and Mother Nature decided to drop a bit on snow in the Metro Detroit area. Driving through unplowed roads, the 4Motion system was able to keep the vehicle moving through some deep snow. One issue that arose was a too-eager stability control system that would come on every few seconds to combat wheelspin when driving through the deep snow - something you don’t want. At least Volkswagen was smart to equip the Golf R with a sports mode for the stability control to allow some wheelspin. This made all of the difference to keep the Golf R moving. Handling-wise? It is like a Golf GTI. Entering a corner, the Golf R feels composed and doesn’t show any sign of body roll. Steering is a bit disappointment as the R doesn’t have the weight or feel you would expect in a performance car. The ride is slightly firmer than what you find on the GTI as some bumps and road imperfections will make their way inside. There are adaptive dampers, but you’ll need to spend an extra $3,000 to get it (along with some other features). Personally, I find the standard suspension setup is ok for most people. Volkswagen has made some slight exterior changes for the Golf R such as a new slim grille, 19-inch wheels, a set of quad exhaust tips. On one hand, I wished Volkswagen could have done some more work to make the Golf R a bit more exciting to look at. On the other hand, the downplayed nature of the Golf R’s changes gives it the ability to hide its true nature. The interior of the Golf R is mostly the same as the standard Golf, which isn’t a bad thing. A lot of the traits that we like in the standard Golf such as high-quality interior, loads of space for passengers, and one of the easiest infotainment systems to use. The only changes Volkswagen did make are a set of sport seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, and carbon fiber trim. If there is one problem for the Golf R, it is the price. As I mentioned in the introduction, the base Golf R is about $10,000 more than the base GTI. For some folks, this is tall order as the GTI can you 85 to 90 percent of the Golf R’s performance at a reasonable price. But for others, that extra 10 to 15 percent the R offers is very much worth the extra cash. Disclaimer: Volkswagen Provided the Golf R, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Golf R
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L TSI DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 292 @ 5,400
      Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 1,800
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,305 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Wolfsburg, Germany
      Base Price: $35,655
      As Tested Price: $36,475 (Includes $820.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      N/A

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