Although not on the Hyundai payroll, sometimes it feels like I should be because I’m often defending the South Korean auto manufacturer for its past transgressions.
Even though the years of producing cheaply made, inexpensive vehicles are in the rear-view mirror, not everyone sees it that way. So when you explain that Hyundai makes a great luxury sedan, the eyes begin to roll among the nonbelievers!
We’re all familiar with the considerable reputations of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and Honda (Acura), Toyota (Lexus) and Nissan (Infiniti) all have luxury brands, while Hyundai and Kia (its cousin) have yet to create one. Why? Hyundai says right now it’s cost-prohibitive to have a luxury launch.
However, there’s no doubting that if Hyundai created a luxury division it could slip in these two classy sedans – Equus, Genesis – and no one would question why.
The larger of the two sedans, the 2014 Hyundai Equus gets a little upgrading this year. It received revised front and rear styling, some improved instrument panels, new safety features, and a few other niceties.
2014 Hyundai Equus
* Performance: 5.0-liter, V8, 429 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 15-23 mpg
* Price: $61,250-$68,500
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/unlimited; corrosion 7 years/unlimited
The Equus is an attractive luxury sedan with high performance and a quiet ride that provides plenty of comfort and is loaded with high-tech premium interior amenities. And one more important ingredient: the Equus starts at $61,250, which is around $10,000 less than some of its competitors.
But experts hesitate to place the Equus in that upper echelon. It doesn’t possess quite the same precise handling and steering, or extravagance of its European and Japanese rivals.
Performance is certainly a strongpoint for the rear-wheel drive Equus. Most people will find it quite the fun drive. There’s no complaints with this powerful engine, a 5.0-liter, V8 that produces 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. Hang on tight, because the Equus has been clocked at 5.6 seconds going 0-60 mph. The vehicle gets an estimated 15-23 mpg.
We’re also big fans of the standard features that come with the Equus – it’s a long list.
Standard features include power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors; rearview camera; front and rear parking sensors; lane-departure; blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems; sunroof; tri-zone automatic climate control; rear seat climate controls; heated and ventilated power front seats; 12-way driver and 10-way passenger front seats; driver seat memory functions; heated power-reclining rear seats; leather upholstery; heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel; power rear sunshade and an auto-dimming mirror; BlueLink telematics system; navigation system with a 9.2-inch display and real-time traffic information; 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with surround-sound capability; satellite radio, HD radio, and six-CD/DVD changer.
The Equus cabin is pretty cutting edge, lacking only in a folding backseat and center pass-through, which are often features that come with a luxury vehicle. Hyundai added a new 9.2-inch display, replacing last year’s 8-inch dashboard screen.
The seating (front and back) isn’t total luxury, but darn close. The leather seating is extremely soft and leg and headroom are expansive for all five passengers. The entertainment system is superb (17 speakers, who does that?). Trunk capacity is about average for the class at 16.7 cubic feet.
Considering the affordable price, powerful engine, and the overall quality, purchasing a new Equus is certainly something to consider. But the one thing it will not buy – yet – is status. Hyundai still needs to