Road Test: Hyundai Equus, truly luxe
Psst: Wanna know how to get a $100,000 executive sedan for 40 percent off? Buy a Hyundai. More specifically, buy a Hyundai Equus.
Go on. Take a second to recompose yourself.
If you have even a passing interest in cars, you probably already know that the Korean automaker has been on a roll for a few years now, making cars that provide great value, good fuel economy and pretty looks.
The Equus comes in two versions, the base Signature edition like the one I drove over a week, or an even more option-laden one called, appropriately enough, Ultimate.
Both are rear-wheel-drive and feature the same engine, a 5.0-liter V-8 that makes a stout 429 horsepower. The car now features an eight-speed automatic transmission, vs. the six-speed one on the 2011 car.
But it's inside where the big Equus truly shines. Think leather, wood and technology.
Yes, this is a Hyundai that drips with luxury. Had I not already experienced more than a brush of this in the Genesis, I wouldn't believe it myself.
But there I was, sitting in an incredibly plush seat that, in addition to featuring 12 directions for the perfect fit and heating and cooling to keep my backside at a comfortable temperature, offers a massaging function.
A big navigation screen and a quasi-complicated rotary dial that acts as your master control are standard. Heated steering wheel? Check. Classy, center-mounted analog clock? It's there. And let's not forget the Lexicon sound system.
The Equus is big and roomy, yet for its girth, surprisingly easy to maneuver. As a driver, I appreciated the Equus. But part of me was hard-pressed to find that thing about it that would make it really worth $20,000-plus over the Genesis.
Then I sat in the backseat.
This is a car that makes for a superb chauffeur's vehicle. The back, which can be outfitted with three or two seats, is as cavernous and well-appointed as a private jet.
Hyundai management says it doesn't expect Equus models to sell like hotcakes. But what Hyundai does have going for it is another automotive precedent, a successful one from its own stable: the Genesis.
Like that car, with the Equus Hyundai has proved it can not only be a player in a whole new league, but a true competitor.
Hyundai Equus Signature
Base price, with destination: $59,650
Price as equipped: $59,650
Type: Four- or five-passenger, rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan
Engine: (2012 specs): 5.0-liter V-8
Power: 429 horsepower, 376 pound-foot torque
EPA fuel economy rating: 15 mpg city/23 highway
The bottom line: Superb fit and finish, plush accommodations, roomy, fuel economy. But are you willing to spend $60,000 on a Hyundai?