BY RON SESSIONS, Contributing Editor These days, minivan-avoiders far outnumber…
Hyundai guarantees ‘Ultimate’ luxury for less
Hyundai continues to break barriers in the luxury sedan market with its refreshed Equus sedan. Powered by a 5.0L V8 and 429 horsepower, the Equus is the sleek, athletic stallion that its name suggests.
In the land of luxury a la carte, Hyundai brings us a fresh of breath air by giving us just two trim levels with all the options pre-determined. The standard features on the two trim levels – Signature and Ultimate – abound, yet they differ carefully.
We tested the 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate in Black Noir Pearl paint with black leather interior, which came with $7,000 in additional options over the price of a Signature trim level. Those options include a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster display, heads-up display for the driver, multi-view camera system to assist with parking, rear seat entertainment system with 9.2-inch monitors, power doors and trunk lid.
The Hyundai Equus is fancy without being fussy. Nothing is more frustrating than a vehicle that’s difficult to decode. This sedan could be ideal for either a professional driver or an executive, as both the driver and the passenger encounter the same amount of supple finishes and access to in-car systems. The only downside for the driver is he can’t recline and relax to the same degree as his passengers.
During my time with the Equus, I came to appreciate (and this is becoming a treat as cars become more and more complicated by technology) that while there were quite a lot of buttons and knobs in the ‘cockpit’, each one’s function appeared straightforward.
This sedan is a technological dream. As a rear passenger, you have all the same controls as the driver, including audio, climate, and navigation.
The BlueLink system made it simple to make selections, although it was not touch screen – as tempting as it was to touch the screen, you had to use the knob (a la BMW iDrive style) to control everything. Not having a touch screen isn’t necessarily bad, but when screens all look the same, it’s difficult to know which ones are touch and which aren’t.
When I think about the price tag and the executive feel the Equus provides, I think about how this is what Volkswagen’s Phaeton could have been.
Driving Miss Daisy, or just yourself
The Equus’ ride is improved by the 8-speed automatic transmission with electronically-controlled air suspension. While perhaps not as responsive in cornering and gripping the road as its German competitors, the Hyundai feels solid in about every situation you test it in.
Acceleration is smooth and quick off the line, even for this 4,616-pound behemoth, thanks to 376 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 RPMs and its direct injection gas engine.
Whether inside the city limits or on a country road, this full-size sedan will be a crowd-pleaser. Comfortable seats with heat and ventilation options for all, and three-zone climate control, means all 4 (and possibly even 5) people riding in the Equus will arrive happily via their custom-tailored experience.
Safety, technology are front-and-center
Leading safety technologies are ever present in the Hyundai’s full-size sedan. The heads-up display provides timely blind spot warnings, lane departure and rear cross-traffic alerts to drivers.
Unlike its competitor, the Cadillac CTS that we recently tested, the Hyundai’s safety systems are effective without driving you nuts. I appreciated the early notification with the exception of driving through DC’s rush-hour traffic.
For 2014, the Equus comes terrifically stocked with safety features such as: nine airbags, Vehicle Stability Control system with pre-collision warning, Lane Departure Warning System, Blind Spot Monitoring System, front and rear parking assist cameras and sensors, and tire pressure monitoring system.
Also, Hyundai still offers one of the best warranties in the industry. The Equus comes protected by a 10-year/100,000 powertrain warranty, ‘At Your Service’ 3-year/36,000 mile no cost maintenance with valet service, and a 5-year/unlimited mile roadside assistance via UVO system.
Read what others are saying about the 2014 Hyundai Equus:
- 2014 Hyundai Equus: now it’s an even stronger value (caranddriver.com)
- 2014 Hyundai Equus review: Like a Lexus LS only cheaper, with unique technology (extremetech.com)