The Hyundai Equus targets the Mercedes-Benz S550 and the Lexus LS460. Yes, you read that right. Hyundai's luxury boat, launched for 2011, is going after some of the biggest, swankiest, priciest sedans in the land. The rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered Equus is based on the same bones as the impressive Genesis, which debuted for 2009 and is a size smaller and some $15,000 less expensive. All that cash buys standard features such as -- take a deep breath -- navigation, Bluetooth, XM satellite radio, electronically controlled air springs, swiveling HID headlamps, a rearview camera, a seventeen-speaker stereo, a massaging driver's seat, heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery, a sunroof, lane-departure warning, and smart cruise control (phew!). Stepping up to the four-passenger Ultimate model brings superfancy ventilated, massaging, and reclining rear seats with footrests as well as a DVD entertainment system and a refrigerator for the rear quarters. The Equus doesn't come close to matching the driving dynamics -- or the prestige and smart styling -- of its German rivals, but it's also many, many thousands of dollars cheaper and still offers an incredibly luxurious driving experience, not to mention a better warranty. All-wheel drive is notable by its absence, particularly given the biggest Hyundai's new injection of horsepower. Subjectively, the Equus doesn't feel quite up to spec with the usual suspects from Germany, but it compares very favorably with the Lexus LS and easily overshadows the Acura RL.
Trim Levels: Signature, Ultimate
Body style: Sedan, 4- or 5-passenger
Engine: 5.0L V-8, 429 hp, 376 lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 109.3 cu ft
Cargo space: 16.7 cu ft
Thanks to a new 5.0-liter V-8, the Equus has gained 44 hp and
43 lb-ft of torque compared with last year's 4.6-liter-powered car. An eight-speed automatic means two extra gears. Side-window trim now has a satin finish, and the Equus Ultimate gets power-operated sunshades for the rear side windows. Sadly, the Equus no longer comes with a complimentary iPad loaded with the owner's manual; a traditional paper manual now resides in the glove box.
Dual-stage front air bags, front and rear side air bags, side curtain air bags, and a driver's knee air bag are standard. Antilock brakes are also standard, as are traction control, stability control with a radar-based precollision warning system, a lane-departure warning system, electronic brake-force distribution, and tire-pressure monitors.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Many fancy features
More power for 2012
Mega-luxury at a big discount
You Won't Like
- Peculiar styling
Not nearly as prestigious as its established competitors
The nicest, priciest, largest Korean car ever.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Acura RL