Let's be honest, when you think of luxury vehicles, the first automaker that comes to mind probably isn't Hyundai
. But, I'm going to posit that it should be in your top 5.
I recently had the chance to take a 2-1/2-hour drive the 2012 Equus
, and it reinforced my original review that this is a vehicle that can compete with the likes of Lexus, Audi and Cadillac. If only you'll take it for a test drive.
From fit and finish and upscale good looks to lux-level features, it's hard to believe that a car this good bases at $58K and tops out at $65K. When I say "starts at" that includes features like a massaging driver's seat, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, sueded headliners that go from the bottom of the A-pillar all the way to the bottom of the B- and C-pillars, adaptive cruise control and phenomenally comfortable seats.
I loved the high-end touch points throughout the Equus
, from the sueded headliners and wood on the steering wheel to the soft leather on the dash. I was particularly fond of the heated steering wheel, though the placement of the switch is awkward on the steering column.
I also thought dealing with the navigation system was somewhat awkward, but I suppose it's something you'd get used to with time. For example, I was trying to figure out how to cancel a route, and none of the obvious screen selections got me to that option. Luckily, I had someone from Hyundai
in the car with me, who showed me the short-cut. I won't forget, but I would like it to be a little more intuitive.
On the plus side, Hyundai
does let you adjust the navigation while in motion ... after you agree to the legalese on the intro screen that basically states you won't do this. But, if you're stuck in traffic this means you don't have to pull off to the side of the road to find an alternate route, and if you have a front-seat passenger, they can adjust the settings at will. I'm not sure any other manufacturer allows this any more. So, all I have to say is: Thank you, Hyundai
While this large luxury car from Hyundai
doesn't get a huge overhaul for 2012, it does get some small tweaks that make a great car even better. The biggest change is the engine. Gone is the 4.6-liter V-8, and in moves the 5.0-liter GDI V-8, which delivers 429 horsepower -- an increase of 44 horsepower. The beautiful thing about this new engine is that, mated to the all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy does't suffer. The EPA estimates 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, and during my drive I averaged a very nice 24.8 mpg in mostly highway driving (read: 99.6% highway driving). And while I wasn't aggressively swerving in and out of traffic, I was actually going the speed limit, which for most of the drive was between 65 and 75 mph.
Apparently you can take the girl out of Chicago, and all the sudden she becomes a hypermiler. Either that or it was simply the fact that I was driving a Hyundai
. Hmmm. Next time I get an Equus
in Chicago, I'll keep you posted.
Other changes to the 2012 Equus
are rather minimal and include enhanced ventilated seats, improved headrest comfort, satin chrome finish and softer center rear seat cushion.
During my test, the road was mostly straight and mostly highway. Which perfectly mimics my commute from Chicago to Schaumburg. Steering was tight, which was nice, but the ride was definitely a bit soft, which didn't bother me. However, I do feel obligated to point out that if you're looking for something aggressive and sports-car-esque, this isn't it. The ride is more floaty luxury than connection-to-the-road sporty. More Lexus, less BMW.
Even with the changes Hyundai
has made to the 2012 model, it's nice to see that some things stay the same. You'll still get an iPad with the owner's manual on it, and you'll still have access to the service valet program.
So, what's missing from the Equus
? For one, the fussy see-me badging that comes with premium luxury automakers. For another -- and this is unfortunate -- some of the high-tech features that would attract more younger buyers and add to the cool factor of this car. While Hyundai
has debuted Bluelink and Bluetooth streaming audio in vehicles like the sub-$20K Veloster, it boggles my mind that neither of these features made the cut for changes to the 2012 Equus
I suppose the argument could be made that since the median age of an Equus
buyer is 65 that the shiny new tech features are less important. But I seem to recall Lexus making a similar argument as to why they had a tape deck in the previous generation GS. I didn't buy it then, and I'm not buying it now.
Regardless, I still contend that Equus
is a solid vehicle that is worth a test if you're looking for luxury yet don't feel the need to scream your salary to the world.
never intended for Equus
to be a high-volume seller in the U.S., and had a sales target for its first model year of 2,000. You might think this is risky until you consider that Equus
is -- and has been for a while -- sold in Korea. So, with vehicles already built and readily available, I'd call this more of a curious experiment. And, coincidentally, it was one that paid off. Hyundai
beat their sales target by 50 percent, selling a total of 3,193 vehicles in 2011.Equus
definitely isn't a car that will please everyone. There isn't any German engineering -- or even the veneer of German engineering -- nor will you get the satisfaction of driving a car that most people can't afford. But, you will get a really nice car that gives you a lot of luxury, awesome residual prices, incredible service and a pretty good massage on your commute to work.