Hyundai Equus

The Hyundai Equus is the flagship of the Hyundai fleet. A luxury midsize sedan with all of the expected appointments, it remains a bit of a tough sell for Hyundai. The vehicle offers good engineering and solid construction made from the best materials. It comes filled with every add-on buyers could ask for at this price point. In fact, the Equus offers enough that it really can stack up well when compared with cars that cost as much as $30,000.

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About the Hyundai Equus

The suggested price puts the Equus in a class completion with the Lexus LS460 and the Mercedes-Benz S550. But feature- and quality-wise, the Equus competes with the Mercedes-Benz E550 and the Infiniti M56. Those models have something of a loyal and brand-conscious following that really don’t shop around. That leaves the Equus in a peculiar spot.

Hyundai clearly follows the lead of Lexus and Infiniti into the upscale luxury sedan market, and that might indicate the trouble in selling the Equus. Infiniti represents the luxury subsidiary of Nissan, and Lexus marks Toyota’s luxury car models. In other words, when Toyota and Nissan decided to make luxury cars, they had the good marketing sense not to put the names on those cars of brands that consumers associate with low-cost or mid-priced vehicles. Hyundai might want to follow suit and spin off its own luxury division with a suitable name.

With that in mind, it is still only fair to look at the Equus at least partially on its own terms as a luxury vehicle, but the ultimate success or failure of a model depends on consumer perception, handling the competition, and sales. Buyers who don’t need a luxury brand badge on the fender will find that Hyundai works hard to make the Equus prove itself.

Hyundai Equus Features

Styling is a matter of personal preference, but many like the lines and design of the Equus; it certainly fits in with the competition in the looks department. Hyundai’s luxury sedan offers two trim levels: Signature and Ultimate. The Signature has adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, a sunroof, 19-inch alloy wheels, and adaptive xenon HID headlights. The Ultimate includes a power-closing trunk lid and a forward-view cornering camera.

Both trims use the same engine and transmission. It certainly specs out well with a 5.0-liter V-8 producing 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. The rear drive receives power from an eight-speed automatic transmission. Apparently six gears just don’t get the job done. When you spend more, you expect to get more.

The exterior of the Equus has all of the high-end gadgets a buyer will find in the next rung up on the price ladder, making for an unusual class entry: a ""budget"" luxury sedan.

The inside of the Equus employs high-end materials and intelligent design. In this area, as well, Hyundai really matches up with other top-of-the-line Asian luxury cars. In this class of vehicle, manufacturers can easily include a lot of controls that become difficult or confusing to operate. The Equus uses a large LCD screen, straightforward multimedia, and climate controls to simplify the task of managing the extensive technologies common to luxury cars.

The impressive list of interior items includes a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition/entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated power front seats, heated power-reclining rear seats, premium leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power window shades, navigation with a multimedia controller, Bluetooth, and a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with an iPod interface, satellite radio, and a six-disc CD changer. All of that comes standard on the Signature. Stepping up to the Ultimate results in a unique change: a pair of reclining bucket seats with heating/cooling/massaging functions and a passenger-side power footrest replace the rear bench seat. Some compare the interior of the Equus to a limo in terms of quality and interesting design.

The Equus offers a comfortable ride. The power and performance provide enough for most driving situations, but it doesn’t compete with fine European sport sedans. The lack of torque impedes performance at lower rpms, and the solid handling does not live up to that of a BMW or Mercedes. Most drivers appreciate the quality of the ride in an Equus, but serious performance-loving buyers will want to stick with the coveted European luxury performers.

Hyundai Equus Evolution

New additions for the 2012 model year include a 5.0-liter V-8 engine, an eight-speed transmission, and power sunshades for the rear window.

The Equus has not gone through many changes and past versions share many similarities with current versions.

Select a Hyundai Equus Year

2016 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

2015 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

2014 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

2013 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

Everyone wants plenty of bang for their buck, especially when it comes to the finer things in life.

2012 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

In only its second year available, the Equus already has a new engine, Hyundai's most powerful ever.

2011 Hyundai Equus

Luxury, Sedan

In only its second year available, the Equus already has a new engine, Hyundai's most powerful ever.