By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
Hyundai created the 2016 Equus luxury sedan to challenge such heavyweights as the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Lexus LS. That’s a pretty tall order for a company primarily known for economy-minded family sedans and SUVs, but Hyundai thinks the Equus has the goods to get the job done. On paper, it would certainly appear the 2016 Equus is indeed a force to be reckoned with. A large, rear-drive sedan powered by a potent V8 engine and loaded with features, it seems the only thing the Korean auto giant can’t engineer is a brand name that sparks envy when spoken. Equus buyers are more likely to be value-minded consumers who see it as a better investment than a $60,000 Audi A6 or Lexus GS.
If you care more about your own sense of satisfaction than impressing others, the 2016 Hyundai Equus premium sedan offers copious luxury trimmings in a package costing thousands, even tens of thousands, less than comparable luxury-brand sedans.
If you’ve worked your entire life just to someday brag, “Oh, yeah, that’s my Mercedes (or Audi or Lexus or Cadillac),” then the Hyundai name, no matter what it’s affixed to, isn’t going to have the intended effect.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the Hyundai Equus luxury sedan for 2016 are minor. The most change is the addition of a hands-free trunk to the Ultimate model that automatically opens when approached.
While the 2016 Equus from Hyundai aims high in the areas of luxury and value, its performance aspirations don’t quite live up to the standards set by the BMW 7...
... Series, Audi A8 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With an air suspension that delivers a pillow-soft ride, the Equus floats confidently over all road imperfections. Highway cruising is where this car feels most at home, but there is enough steering feel and controlled lean to allow the Equus to confidently run through curves without setting off alarm bells. The 429-horsepower V8 is more than up to the task of moving the Equus, but its rear-drive setup isn’t optimal for slick or snow-covered roads. With no all-wheel-drive option, the best one can do is to set the adjustable suspension and steering settings to Snow mode and keep both hands on the wheel.
17-SPEAKER LEXICON SURROUND-SOUND SYSTEM
Among audiophiles, Lexicon is well-known for its pricey but excellent home sound systems, so logically Hyundai contracted with them to provide the best sounding system a luxury car could offer.
WARRANTY AND SERVICE
Peace of mind should continue long after the last payment is made, so Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is a welcome addition. The 2016 Hyundai Equus also includes complimentary maintenance for three years/36,000 miles, including a valet service that will pick up the car for service and return it, free of charge.
“Roomy” and “opulent” are the best ways to describe the 2016 Hyundai Equus' 5-passenger interior. Sumptuous leather and wood are the materials of choice. Thanks to a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and power-operated tilt/telescoping steering wheel, it isn't difficult to find a good spot behind the wheel. Where the Equus really stands out is in rear-seat accommodations. In Korea these cars are used as livery for high-profile executives, and it's easy to see why. With generous legroom, climate-controlled seats, shaded windows and even power lumbar support, sitting back there makes anyone feel like a VIP.
The Hyundai Equus luxury sedan for 2016 doesn't stray far from a formula that has long worked for other full-size luxury sedans such as the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It all starts with a big, horizontal grille, wide stance, large wheels, pronounced yet soft body lines and nicely tucked rear. The Equus isn't nearly as evocative as the Hyundai Sonata, but neither is it as polarizing. As the elder statesman of the automaker's lineup, the Equus plays it safe by staying conservative. Besides, its sheer size gives it presence enough.
For 2016, Hyundai’s Equus luxury sedan is available in just two trims, Signature and Ultimate. Signature could be considered the "base" trim, but it's hardly lacking. This least expensive Equus comes with a V8 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, navigation system with 9.2-inch command screen, tri-zone climate control, that 17-speaker Lexicon audio system we already raved about (see Favorite Features), smart cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and premium leather seating with suede headliner. Other passenger-oriented amenities include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and power rear sunshade.
As there are no options for the 2016 Hyundai Equus, buyers seeking the ultimate version can spend about $7,000 more for the Ultimate trim. It lives up to that name with forward and multi-view camera systems to ease parking, hands-free power-operated trunk, 12.3-inch TFT LCD instrument panel and head-up display. Rear-seat passengers are treated to cooled seats, rear-screen entertainment system with twin 9.2-inch monitors, power lumbar support and vanity mirrors. Another especially neat feature is the power door closure, which automatically and gently shuts the door.
The 2016 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. Despite the Equus' weight of over 4,550 pounds, Hyundai's full-size luxury sedan can scoot to 60 mph in six seconds or less. Fuel economy is rated at up to 23 mpg on the highway. That isn't terrible for a big V8, but it can't touch the 36 mpg-figure of a diesel Audi A8 or the 31-mpg mark of a diesel BMW 7 Series, both of which also feature all-wheel drive.
429 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
376 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg
The 2016 Hyundai Equus has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $62,450 for the Signature model and $69,700 for the fully loaded Ultimate edition. At these prices, the Equus indeed looks like a value compared with rivals. Base versions of the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ for example, begin in the mid-$70,000 range, while an Audi A8 starts in the high $70,000 range. A Mercedes-Benz S-Class, meanwhile, is nearer the 6-figure mark. The Cadillac CT6 is another possible alternative, although initially it won’t offer a V8, which may be a turnoff for some. As one who values a good deal, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for the Equus. Long-term, the Equus' resale value is expected to be in line with its European competitors, but below that of the Lexus LS.