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2012 Hyundai Equus

Overview
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2012 Hyundai Equus Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

When Lexus launched it first luxury sedan, the European manufacturers and press scoffed at the idea of a Japanese luxury car. Five years later, those same manufacturers watched their customer bases defect in droves to the new luxury king. We hope both Lexus and the big German trio remember that day because, with the arrival of the 2012 Hyundai Equus, history may very well be set to repeat itself. The 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan is the company's most ambitious project to date, a $60,000 ultra-luxury sedan that takes aim at cars costing tens of thousands more. But, while the Equus is filled with all the right features and has the looks to play in this league, the Hyundai badge may be its biggest liability. The Japanese learned long ago that if you're going to be in the premium market, you need a premium brand name. Don't think so? Just look at what became of the VW Phaeton. Only time will tell if a BMW driver will leave his 7 Series to walk into a showroom peppered with Accents and Sonatas. But, stranger things have happened and, in this time of tightening budgets, a car like the 2012 Hyundai Equus may very well become the new face of luxury in America.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you feel you've reached a point in your life were you deserve to be pampered, but a shaky economy has your conservative side flinching at the thought of dropping six digits of dollars on a luxury sedan, the 2012 Hyundai Equus sedan may be your salvation. With the Equus, you get all the luxury trappings of a premium European brand, plus Hyundai's "At Your Service" program that includes free maintenance for 5-years/60,000-miles.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan's price may be right, the label is decidedly not designer. For those who place a premium on brand-name recognition, the Hyundai Equus nametag might not make the grade with the country club set.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan gains a new, gasoline direct-injection 5.0-liter V8 producing 429 horsepower and paired with an all-new in-house-built 8-speed automatic transmission. The Equus Ultimate gains power rear side-window sun shades.

Driving the Equus

Driving Impressions No one in the know will ever mistake the driving characteristics of the 2012 Hyundai Equus sedan with those of a BMW 7 Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but the average...

buyer probably won't notice much difference. The Equus cabin is amazingly quiet and its air suspension ride is modulated to eliminate road imperfections while still returning a slightly sporty feel on winding roads. The 2012 Hyundai Equus sedan holds the line very well in corners and is more than capable of reeling in its substantial weight on twisty roads. Steering feel is good and, though not as responsive as a 7 Series, it's a bit better than the Lexus LS, which is probably right about where Hyundai planners want the car to be.

Power reclining rear seats
Who wouldn't love the ability to recline in a car with your feet up and watch a movie while someone else drives? The seat massagers are a nice touch as well.

Lexicon 7.1 Discrete Logic 7 surround sound system
While 2012 Hyundai Equus sedan's 17 speakers might seem like overkill, we applaud their superb sound quality, which completes the luxurious in-cabin experience.

2012 Hyundai Equus Details
Interior

Some cars, like the Maybach 62S, are far more fun to ride in than to drive. In the case of the 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan, it's a 50/50 toss-up between the two choices. The Ultimate trim features executive-style rear seating for two, with wide, comfortable heated and cooling seats separated by a center console containing a refrigerator and controls for the flip-up rear-seat entertainment system. Even more impressive is the passenger-side rear seat that features a power-operated leg support, turning the 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan into a mini first-class cabin. However, while we find this feature a nice touch, it really works better on a stretched wheelbase car, such as the Audi A8L, that allows plenty of room to extend long legs. A rear bench seat comes standard in the Signature trim level, which provides ample accommodation for three adults. No matter which Equus trim you choose, you'll find a car with sufficient headroom and legroom for everyone and an interior laced with rich, warm wood and fine leathers.

Exterior

In designing the 2012 Equus luxury sedan, it is clear that Hyundai took a page from the Lexus story book. Just as the first LS heavily resembled the Mercedes Benz it was gunning for, the Equus has several visual cues from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. From Mercedes, the 2012 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan gets it defining character arches and wide front grille, while BMW can be seen in the tail lights and Audi is in the LED Daytime Running Lights beneath the headlamps. Despite the similarities to other premium sedans, when all the styling elements are combined, the look actually works. The 2012 Hyundai Equus premium sedan doesn't look like any other Hyundai, which is enough to get it the attention it needs from the well-to-do car enthusiasts. Although it might have benefited from the fluid and flowing lines that make up the Sonata sedan, the 2012 Hyundai Equus sedan forgoes the family resemblance, relying instead on its pronounced wheel arches, oversized ribbed grille and high beltline to make its mark. Highly-styled 19-inch alloy wheels round out the Equus' exterior.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature sedan, the "base" model in the Equus family, comes with a host of impressive standard features. The most notable include a 5.0-liter V8 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, electronically-controlled air suspension with damping control, a 608-watt Lexicon 7.1 Surround Sound system with 17 speakers, a navigation system, a 12-way power driver's seat with massage system, and heated and cooled front seats. Other touches include a dual automatic temperature control system and 60/40 power-reclining and heated rear seats.

Optional Equipment

There actually aren't any options available for the 2012 Hyundai Equus premium sedan, just the two trim levels. The upper-level Equus Ultimate model includes all the luxury features that come on the Signature Equus as well as a goldmine of upgrades, almost all of which are dedicated to turning the rear seats into a first-class experience. A 50/50-split cooled and reclining rear seat replaces the bench seat, making the Equus a four-seater, and the passenger-side rear seat adds leg support and a massage system. Other additions include a rear entertainment center with an 8-inch screen, a thermoelectric rear console refrigerator, a forward-view cornering camera and a power trunk lid.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Hyundai Equus is powered by a new gasoline direct-injection 5.0-liter V8 engine that's matched to Hyundai's own in-house 8-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual-shift control. In addition to providing smooth acceleration and enough power to scoot the large sedan to 60 mph in about six seconds, the potent V8 returns impressive highway mileage numbers on par with both the BMW 7 Series and the Mercedes S-Class.

5.0-liter V8
429 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
376 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23

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2012 Hyundai Equus Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 40 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.6/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.6/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Great value! But a couple quality issues.

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,300

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Value, power"

Cons: "Wind noise on driver door. Speedometer calibration"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Hands down this car is a fantastic value: all the luxury you want, powerful engine, plenty of bells and whistles. Two quality problems: 1. Driver door seems to not seal properly. Wind noise is excessive and dealer service manager acknowledges. Still trying to fix. 2. Digital readout of speed (when cruise control is engaged) does not match speedometer dial. Dial reads about 2 or 3 mph higher than digital. Not a true problem but you would expect better precision for this type of car."

Best comfortable car I have ever owned

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Can't go wrong if you want a Mercedes S Class type vehicle for $40,000 less. Has plenty of power at 429 Horse Power. Power is definitely there when you need it. This car can move even at 4600 pounds."

Very nice compromise for comfort and power

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value for price."

Cons: "Nothing for us."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We like that the car did not have any options. All of the required amenities were standard. For a large vehicle the fuel economy is acceptable. Ride is smooth and the inside is very quiet. I find it a nice cross between the Cadillac Deville for ride comfort and a BMW7 for power. We have owned both. The dealer service is very good."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Best Car for the Money

By on Monday, March 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"If you are looking for the best car for the money, do not look any further. There are too many things to write as to why this a great car: the options (refrigerator, massaging seats, warm/cool seats for front and back, control panel in the backseat, calf support, mirrors in the backseat, sun roof, front and back view camera, seat adjusters for all 4 seats, leather and warming steering wheel, etc), the interior (leather and wood everything, no cheap products, great technology - big LCD display), horsepower, etc. My friends all drive Mercedes, Lexus, etc but I think my car is actually better than theirs! And guess what.... they agree it's a better car, but just lacks *brand name* appeal. Ridiculous. My only complaint with this car is that very rarely, the electronics that move my seat back won't work. It has happened twice in a little over a year. They fixed themselves the next day."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Excellent machine

By on Thursday, March 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,387

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fast and Powerful"

Cons: "Lay off the gas pedal. Those 400+ horses can guzz"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It took me a while to get used to all the bells and whistles on this fine automobile. It is smooth, quiet, and extremely powerful, in addition to being very very fast. It gets lots of looks on the highway, as well as respect by the valets who park it in the front with all the other high end machines. I love this car!"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Best vehicle ever owned.

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great car, great value, a pleasure to drive."

Cons: "Should have power close trunk."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I am nothing but very pleased with this great vehicle. I have owned two BMW 750 LI's and would not go back because of our satisfaction with this car. I love to drive on long and short trips. It's a true pleasure to drive. It generates numerous positive comments from people."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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