When Korean automaker Hyundai launched its Genesis near-luxury sedan and sport coupe, many wondered why it didn't also create a new upscale brand as did Japanese rivals Toyota (Lexus), Honda (Acura) and Nissan (Infiniti). Then Hyundai followed with the larger, plusher full-luxury Equus, explaining again that creating a new brand was a long, expensive process that they didn't deem necessary. So this big, lavishly equipped car takes aim at premium sedans costing tens of thousands more. And, if it comes up a bit short of Germany's best in ultimate handling and feel, the 2014 Hyundai Equus has the style, performance, luxury and features to bring its value pitch to the flagship-sedan category, despite sharing its badge and showroom with Accents and Sonatas.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you feel you've reached a point where you deserve some pampering but don't feel the need to drop six digits of dollars on a luxury sedan, the 2014 Hyundai Equus may be for you. Hyundai's "At Your Service" program includes free maintenance for five years/60,000 miles.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the 2013 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 (yet) make the grade with the country-club set.
The Hyundai Equus luxury sedan is substantially freshened for 2014 with minor exterior changes, major interior upgrades, and a host of new comfort, convenience and safety features.
Driving the Equus
No one will mistake the dynamics of the Hyundai Equus with those of an Audi A8, a BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but most buyers probably won't care....
... The cabin is amazingly quiet, and its air-suspension eliminates road imperfections while providing a secure feel through the turns. The Equus holds its line well in corners and is more than capable of managing its substantial weight on twisty roads, but there's more float and isolation than in the German flagships. Steering feel is good in "Normal" mode, higher-effort (but no more feel) in "Sport" mode, and there's substantial steering kickback when cornering over humps and bumps. Other complaints: no 12V outlet for dash-top devices on the instrument panel (only in the console box), and the audio system won't retain your iPod's "Random" setting so needs to be reset each time you turn it on or change sources.
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?
LEXICON 7.1 DISCRETE LOGIC 7 SURROUND SOUND SYSTEM While the 2014 Hyundai Equus sedan's 17 speakers might seem like overkill, we applaud the superb sound quality of the system, which completes the luxurious in-cabin experience.
2014 Hyundai Equus Details
The instrument panel, center stack, center console and rear-seat console controls are redesigned with larger, sharper displays and more premium materials. The automatic climate control now has three temperature zones for driver, front passenger and rear-seat passengers, who are also coddled with 60/40 power reclining and heated seats. The Ultimate trim level adds cooled rear seats with power headrests and lumbar, power side window sunshades, rear illuminated vanity mirrors and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual monitors in the front-seat headrests. There is also a new Ivory leather interior choice that looks sharp but may be tough to keep clean.
In designing the Equus luxury sedan, Hyundai took a page from the Lexus script. The Equus has several visual cues from Mercedes-Benz (the grille), BMW (taillights), and Audi (LEDs beneath the headlights). But when all the styling elements are combined, the look actually works. The Equus doesn't look like any other Hyundai, and it strikes a pleasing balance between modern character and sedate formality. Updates for 2014 include revised front fascia and grille designs, new side mirrors and taillights graphics, standard LED fog lights, new polished-silver 19-inch turbine-blade wheels, and a new Night Shadow Brown color.
The 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature sedan comes with a long list of standard features, some of the most notable being a 3-mode (Normal, Sport, Snow) electronically-controlled air suspension, adaptive front HID lighting with auto leveling, front and rear parking assist with a rear-view camera, premium leather seating, 17-speaker Lexicon 7.1 Surround Sound audio, premium navigation, heated and cooled front seats with 12-way power driver and 10-way power passenger seat, lane-departure warning, a power tilt-and-slide glass sunroof, nine airbags, and electronic stability control with pre-collision warning New for 2014 are blind-spot detection, smart cruise control with stop/start capability and rear cross-traffic alert.
There are no available options on the Equus, just the uplevel Ultimate model. This adds a goldmine of upgrades including a head-up display that incorporates blind-spot detection warnings, a forward-view cornering camera, a power decklid, an advanced 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster display screen, steering-wheel haptic control for the center cluster, cooled rear seats, a 360-degree birds-eye-view camera system, power door closure, and a host of rear-cabin comfort features.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Hyundai Equus is powered by a sophisticated 5.0-liter V8 engine with variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. It is mated 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 six seconds or less, this potent V8 returns class-competitive EPA fuel economy. While it delivers more power and torque than the Lexus LS 460's V8, it's about a mile-per-gallon less fuel efficient than both that and the Mercedes-Benz S550's much more torquey V8.
The 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $61,920, a boost of $1,750 over the 2013 model due to added standard equipment. Stepping up to the Ultimate Equus bumps the price to $68,920. Both numbers are well under any of the Equus sedan's competitors in the flagship-sedan category, which include the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. If you're looking to get the best deal on your Equus, be sure to check out KBB.com's Fair Purchase Price before going to the local Hyundai dealership. As for resale value, the 2014 Hyundai Equus fares well against its competition, with projected values on par with its European rivals.
Pros: "I tell all about the quality, service, performance"
Cons: "Nada, neyet, nothing"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got my first Hyundai in 2004 after 6 Mercedes, 500SEL, 500SL, 300E, 450SL, 300SD
It performed magnificently for 4 years and really liked the customer service. 100% better than Mercedes Benz ($2000 for an oil change was common). So, I got the Genesis which was fantastic, and now an Equus. I get concierge service, they bring a new Equus for me to use while they change the oil, etc. ..no charge for any thing with Equus. So, the user Equus was even better than my 2013, so I'm looking forward to the 2017 Equus to purchase. Hyundai just gets better and better. I think I've only seen 1-2 Equus in the SF bay area for 2 years. Car owners do not know. They sure eyeball my Equus a lot."
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."
"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."