The 2012 Equus represents Hyundai's second year in the premium luxury segment. When the Korean automaker debuted the first Equus last year, more than a few eyebrows were raised. The public and a few of the more well-heeled German and Japanese automakers in the segment were used to seeing Hyundai produce good economical cars that offered more than the status quo at a given price point. But a luxury car of the Equus' caliber was unexpected.
In its second year, the Equus continues this theme, and gives Hyundai a luxury sedan with more goodies than the common $60,000-plus price tag on the vehicles against which it competes. A new 5.0-liter V-8 engine gives Equus 44 more horsepower, raising the total to a class-leading 429 hp. The new engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that allows for greater acceleration, and most impressively with its performance upgrades the Equus still retains the previous model's fuel economy.
The top-of-the-line Hyundai is available in two models, the Signature and Ultimate. The Equus takes on the usual standard-bearers with excellent interior materials and a fit and finish to impress. The cabin is as spacious and quiet as any. Japanese and European cars similarly equipped are tens of thousands of dollars more.
Body style: Sedan
Engine: 5.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic
Models: Equus Signature, Equus Ultimate
In only its second year available, the Equus already has a new engine, Hyundai's most powerful ever. While the previous 4.6-liter V-8 produced a competitive 385 hp, the one knock on the first Equus, aside from luxury brand heritage, was that performance was still a tad shy of its European competition. Hyundai didn't take any chances with the follow up, delivering a blistering 5.0-liter V-8 capable of 429 hp.
Additionally, an in-house developed eight-speed automatic transmission was fitted to the new engine to improve acceleration and keep fuel economy similar to the original Equus. Further changes include satin-chrome finish exterior accents, and standard rear side-window sunshades on the Ultimate model.
The Equus is a large sedan with simple, attractive, though conservative styling. Absent are the more aggressive lines of Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" design featured on some of the other cars in its lineup, but those that don't like the aggressive lines of the 7 Series and S-Class may warm to the deluxe offering from Hyundai.
The interior cabin of the Equus is spacious and plush. High-quality interior materials are used throughout. Thick, acoustic glass insures a quiet cabin even at higher speeds. The front seats are heated and cooled, with a massage feature on the driver's seat. Rear passengers are far from ignored, as rear seats are heated and reclining. Climate and audio controls are front and rear, and premium audio is standard with a Lexicon 17-speaker sound system. The Equus Ultimate model replaces the rear bench for two heated, cooled, and massaging bucket seats.
Air suspension with variable settings ensure the Equus can absorb road imperfections as well as the next luxury-sedan, but in sport mode the large frame hunkers down and adds considerable driving dynamics to the otherwise stately ride. Cornering is sufficient, but isn't anything to boast about or be embarrassed by. The chief complaint from last year's model was that the Equus didn't offer the acceleration of some of its competitors, a situation rectified with the new engine and eight-speed transmission.
Four-wheel discs with ABS plus brake assist and stability control are standard. There are nine airbags: dual front, front- and rear-seat-mounted side-impact, roof-mounted side-curtain, and a driver knee airbag. The Equus' VSM manages several safety systems at once.
15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Powerful engine
Many features at this price
Well-equipped executive value
- Lexus LS
BMW 7 Series