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