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What Would I Buy? XTS vs. Equus

William Maley

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In my recent review of the 2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum, a comment was left by someone that stated,

"At $64k I'd take a Hyundai Equus over this. Which makes me think, has any magazine or website done a comparison test with a Hyundai Equus in it?"

This is somewhat funny since a week before I published the XTS review, I wrote up a first drive of the 2014 Hyundai Equus: A vehicle that starts around the same price range as my fully loaded XTS Platinum tester. So that brings up this question: Which vehicle would I buy?

Let's look at the good and bad points of each vehicle.

2013 Cadillac XTS Platinum

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The Good

  • Its Got Style: The XTS as I said in my review 'might be my favorite Cadillac design to date.' The sharp lines and angles give the XTS presence. Little touches such as a satin-chrome grille, twenty-inch wheels, and taillights with a little fin action give the XTS the Cadillac identity. No one will mistake you for driving anything else but a Cadillac.
  • Technologies Galore: The XTS was one of the first GM vehicles to loaded with a lot tech. You have a reconfigurable gauge cluster that you can customize to your liking. A new head-up display that is in color and provides key information such as speed, navigation, and other items. There is CUE (Cadillac User Experience) which has been getting better to use.
  • Smooth Rider: I found the XTS to be one most comfortable rides I've ever experienced. Credit an rear air suspension system and GM's Magnetic Ride Control.

The Bad

  • CUE: Now I did praise CUE a moment ago for getting much better to use. That doesn't mean GM has all of the problems licked. For one, CUE has a very steep learning curve. Trying to use CUE without reading the manual and spending some quality time with it will result in a world of hurt. There's also the distraction problem. With CUE using capacitive touch buttons, you have to take your eyes off the road and look at the buttons to make sure you're hitting the right one. Fine when you're parked or at a stop light. Not so when you're on the move.
  • 3.6L DI V6: From my review; "When you think back to the big Cadillacs of yesteryear, all of them used a big V8 engine with the torque arriving on the low end of the RPM spectrum. The XTS' 3.6L is the complete opposite. With torque arriving at 5,200 RPM, you really have to work the engine if you want to get moving. Add on a curb weight of 4,215 pounds for the XTS Platinum with AWD, and you're in for a world of hurt."

2014 Hyundai Equus

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The Good

  • Value, Value, and Value: Looking at the Hyundai Equus window sticker and seeing how much stuff is standard may cause a shock. There is a 5.0L Tau V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, 9.2-inch for the infotainment system, a 7.1 surround sound system, three-zone climate control, power and reclining rear seats, power rear sunshade, nine airbags, smart cruise control, and much more.
  • No-Cost Maintenance with Valet Pickup/Drop-Off: When Hyundai first introduced the Equus, they sent shockwaves through the automotive world by doing something different with their maintenance program. You can schedule a service appointment from your home and a dealer rep will come by, pick up your Equus, and leave you a loaner vehicle. From there, the Equus is taken to the dealer where the service is done and then brought back to you.
  • Backseat Space and Luxuries: The backseat is huge. You'll find plenty of head and legroom. Plus, you can recline the seat to provide a bit more comfort. Fold the center armrest down and you'll find controls for the climate control and radio.

The Bad

  • Badge: While Hyundai has improved their image over the past few years, telling someone that you drive a $60,000 Hyundai will net you some strange looks.
  • Exterior Design: Compared to competitors in the flagship luxury class, the Equus looks kind of boring.

Verdict

For around the same price, you can get two different classes of vehicle. The XTS is around the same size as a BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, while the Equus plays in the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and BMW 7-Series sandbox. Both vehicles for the price are very good for what they are.

You go with the XTS if you want a big, American luxury sedan with some clever tech and very unique styling. You go with the Equus if you want a big luxury car for not that much money.

What would I choose? Well at the moment, I would go with the Equus. The value for money argument is second to none and the maintenance pickup and drop-off is an amazing selling point. However with a new 410 horsepower TT V6 on the way for the Cadillac XTS, that could make this decision much harder.

So which one would you choose? Let me know in the comments.



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Why does it seem like this site should be called 'Cheers 4 Hyundai' now. I see more Korean reviews than GM.

Oh well. I handed those keys over years ago. Hyundai has taken over the NJ roads with more ugly same-looking vehicles.

I'd rather walk.

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Why does it seem like this site should be called 'Cheers 4 Hyundai' now. I see more Korean reviews than GM.

Oh well. I handed those keys over years ago. Hyundai has taken over the NJ roads with more ugly same-looking vehicles.

I'd rather walk.

Because Hyundai has been sending us more cars and more invites to things lately. But not to worry, there are more GM vehicle reviews in the pipeline, along with reviews of nearly every manufacturer out there.

I do love that you're still around.

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I hate to say it being a GM man, but Hyundai is offering a car that GM should have. When you got the money to do so, that is what you can do. For the price the Equus is compelling, but being a GM man I can not do it. Gm should take a page from what Lexus did and now Hyundai is doing, start at a good low starting point, but not to low, then work that baby up. This will regain them some good will and solidify their status. Let's face it most Americans have turned their backs on American iron. This approach will weed out flaky buyers and keep the ones in the know when the price creeps back up to the status Caddy deserves. Keep in mind this is a risky move, but maybe a necessary one.

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So William, do I understand correctly then that despite it's 4-corners air suspension, that the Equus does not have as nice a ride as the XTS? Considering the comparisons of Equus vs. LS460, that would sure be a result!

From a styling perspective there's no way anyone should pick the Equus over the XTS.

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So William, do I understand correctly then that despite it's 4-corners air suspension, that the Equus does not have as nice a ride as the XTS? Considering the comparisons of Equus vs. LS460, that would sure be a result!

From a styling perspective there's no way anyone should pick the Equus over the XTS.

Both are about the same.. The only reason I gave the XTS a slight edge is how its able to cope with bumps a little bit smoother than the Equus.

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I would take the Equus due to the rear drive V8 and 8-speed powertrain. The Equus does have loads of equipment on it, and it is huge inside. If I were looking for a big cushy car for $60k that is the direction I would go. That being said, I'd rather have an E-class or Jag XF over either of them. I would actually rather have the Genesis 5.0 over the Equus, it has most of the same equipment other than the reclining rear seats, and the same 429 hp V8 with less weight to pull.

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The Equus does have the appeal of RWD, V8 and more gears, and good equipment levels. The bargain-basement brand kills it for me....Hyundai I associate w/ cheap, disposable appliances. I'd rather have a Chrysler 300C for less money.

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Dang, at this point, I'd have to go with the Equus as well...I want to like the XTS--and I generally do--but the 3.6L V6 really kills it for me. I'm hoping the TT version will produce more torque in the lower ranges to get all that mass moving, but I still think I'd be saying, "wow, I coulda had a V8!".

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While it is sad that Cadillacs no longer offer a V8 (Escalade and V-series aside) standard, has anyone forgotten how the V8 FWD STS and DTS drove? There was some serious torque steer in those models earlier on. Could Caddy use a V8 in its cars? Yes, if the car is RWD! The XTS with a FWD V6 is sufficient enough. Now if only that DOHC V6 had the torque of a 3800 or a 3900 V6. . . .

As for now, I agree with Cubical that a Chrysler 300C for ~$40K is the best value. I personally would go for the 300 Limited without the V8, if only to save fuel costs.

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With Hy-Per strut, GM has really tamed torque steer down.... but in the XTS's case, even though it has Hy-Per strut, the high torque models coming are AWD and can shift much of the torque to the rear in heavy acceleration situations.

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Call me fickle, but you hit it on the head with the "badge" issue. I would not drive a Hyundai over a Caddillac, now or any time in the foreseeable next 100 years.<br /><br />Even the look of the Equus, looks like a "wannabe" that has not grown up.

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