Building a luxury sedan to compete with the highly established German and Japanese offerings is no easy task – especially when starting from scratch. But back in 2010, Hyundai did just that by launching the Equus premium sedan. It touted V-8 power, air suspension, and plenty of gadgetry within the dash. It was surprisingly refined and tasteful for Hyundai’s first time in the luxury market. But for 2014, Hyundai put the Equus under the knife for some mid-life refreshing.
We recently got behind the wheel of a 2014 Equus in the sultry and soaking wet atmosphere of Miami, Florida for an exclusive tour of the city’s finest locations and Hyundai’s finest automotive offering.
Much of our driving took place on the crowed surface streets and swooping interstate system surrounding Miami. The large Equus maneuvered through the maze with more ease than originally thought for such a large sedan. Even being just under 17 feet long, the Equus never felt overwhelming or hard to navigate.
The 5.0-liter V-8 supplies ample power for climbing interstate on-ramps and passing slower traffic. Its deep 429-hp exhaust note is audible in the cabin but never became annoying when traveling at a constant highway speed. The exhaust is on the short list of audible sounds within the five-passenger cabin. Wind noise is nearly nonexistent and tire boom is only slightly present on extremely rough pavement.
The revised air suspension system does a good job at isolating the passengers from any imperfection in the road surface. Expansion joints and potholes are easily soaked up without notice from inattentive passengers.
Passengers inside the Equus would have a hard time concentrating on the road with the amenities available in the Ultimate trim package. Dual 9.2-inch screens provide copious information related to navigation, entertainment and climate settings. In fact, the rear passengers are able to input destinations into the navigation system while on the move, with no assistance from the driver. Especially handy when the chauffeur needs directions to that impromptu business meeting across town.
Hiring a chauffeur is perhaps justifiable in a business sense considering an Equus costs roughly $20,000 to $30,000 less than its targeted direct competition – the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes S550. The Equus is available in two trim levels: Signature and Ultimate – with a base asking price of $61,000 for the Signature and $68,000 for the Ultimate. Besides the trim level, choosing the exterior and interior color schemes are the only options. Everything else comes standard.
This method of content packaging makes purchasing an Equus much simpler as the equipment list is quite long. Standard across the board are safety features that include nine airbags, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, active front head restraints, seatbelt tensioning system, Electronic Stability Control, and Vehicle Stability Management. For 2013, the Equus was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
Also standard across the board is Hyundai’s V-8 powertrain. The 5.0-liter “Tau” DOHC V-8 is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and powers the rear wheels with 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. Fuel consumption is estimated at 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined.
Upgrading to the Ultimate trim package adds an enormous amount of electronic equipment to the sedan. A huge 12.3-inch fully digital display resides in the instrument panel, replacing the Signature’s 7-inch display and analog gauges. Inputs to the driver’s display happen via a haptic touch wheel on the steering wheel. A color Heads Up Display, and Multi-view camera system help keep the driver informed of important information and the car’s surroundings. Rear seat passengers are treated to cooled seats, power sunshades, the dual 9.2-inch monitors, and the myriad of controls located within the center armrest that operates everything.
Perhaps the most notable standard features of the Equus are Hyundai’s “Your Time, Your Place” and “At Your Service” concierge programs. “Your Time, Your Place” provides at-home or at-work vehicle demonstrations for prospective buyers while “At Your Service” provides pick-up and drop-off of your Equus for vehicle maintenance like oil changes while providing a loaner vehicle for use in the meantime. And all maintenance is fully covered for the first three years or 36,000 miles.
Another innovative feature we found impressive is Hyundai’s Equus smartphone app. The application serves as an interactive owner’s manual and will assist in scheduling service appointments with the dealership.
Overall, the Equus is an impressive offering. It’s not only an admirable and respectable vehicle for Hyundai, but also a good choice in an established market of premium sedans. Price, content, customer service, and quality all play a huge role in making the Equus a solid choice for anyone looking for a luxury sedan.