The full size sedan market gained a new competitor three years ago when the Hyundai Equus was introduced. Since then, Hyundai has been trying to establish its luxury roots. As we found out, the upcoming 2015 Genesis sedan greatly improves on its predecessor’s shortcomings. That being said, 2014 was a year for updates on the luxury flagship Equus. A revised front and rear fascia added some style to the already good-looking ride. Inside, the updated Equus was enhanced with some of Hyundai’s new technology.
On the outside, the new front and rear fascias of the Equus add to its appeal. It’s still reminiscent of an older S Class to us, but that means a pleasant look. New LED fog lights add a unique attraction to the front end at night and brings the Equus in line with other luxury sedans. The rear also received an update with LED taillights. The Equus’ distinct emblem leaves those unfamiliar with the brand questioning its origin, but it fits the car so well. Like the Genesis, the sole Hyundai badge is found on the trunk. Set off with chrome accents and large turbine-style wheels, the Equus goes about life under the radar. It draws a few quizzical looks, mostly when people can’t identify what they’re seeing. After all, you won’t find an Equus at every Hyundai dealership. But when you get out and walk to the trunk, you notice something. The Equus is a big car. It’s size isn’t readily apparent from behind the wheel until you’re trying to find a parking spot or navigate a parking garage. The flagship Hyundai has a deceptively long wheelbase. Thankfully, visibility is excellent.
The interior is where the Equus really shines. On our top-trim level Equus, the Ultimate, came equipped with a haptic feedback dial on the steering wheel. At first, we found this to be difficult to use, but quickly got used to it. By week’s end, we had actually learned to enjoy it over the standard d-pads found on other wheels. Most interior amenities come in the form of driver’s aids or luxury accoutrements. For the driver, a large heads up display works in harmony with the blind spot monitors detectors as the automotive equivalent of a proximity alert. It was a nice feature to have, rather than being forced to check your mirrors and take your eyes off the road ahead. A host of surround view cameras are great for backing up and parallel parking. With a full-size sedan, they really aid in driver confidence. The suspension, throttle, and steering are adaptive, but don’t reduce comfort in any of the settings. Sport allows for a sharper throttle response and steering feel, but it wasn’t a button that was pressed frequently this week. After all, Hyundai’s flagship focuses on luxury. It isn’t really a driver’s car.
Where the Equus really shines is in the back seat. Simply get in and you realize that a lot of attention has been paid here. The entire contents of the front media screen can be brought up on either or both of the 9.2″ LCD screens in the rear. Climate, audio and even navigation commands can be controlled by the rear passengers. It’s a vehicle that truly centers itself on the rear passengers, from comfort to command. There’s more features here than we found on the Lexus LS460. The Lexicon 17-speaker audio system is quite noteworthy, delivering superb sound quality. Multi-way adjustable rear seats with ample head and leg room are designed to be as comfortable as the front seats. There’s even adjustable lumbar support. Feel the need to stretch out? Pushing the “relax” button moves the passenger seat forward and reclines the rear seat. Still not entirely comfortable? Heated and cooled rear seats provide even more adjustment. Perhaps the sunlight or attention from the outside world is distracting. The Equus’ power rear and rear side sunshades can shut out much of the intrusion.
If you’ll pardon the pun, the driver has taken a back seat in the design of the Equus. Hyundai has designed this car beautifully for the passenger. It equals or better the comfort and technology found in far more expensive luxury sedans. It soothes its rear occupants in leather and suede, but the front passengers aren’t really part of the action. We’re alright with that. The Equus knows what it wants to be. It does drive with some spirit, usually coming from the 5.0L V8 in the Genesis. But truth be told, most of the team enjoyed riding around in the back seat of the Equus the best. That sounds strange coming from enthusiasts, but sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and relax, and that’s what the Equus does best.
|2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate
|As Tested MSRP||$68,920|