2011 Hyundai Equus Road Test Review

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Published on February 05, 2011

The Equus' interior won't let you down if you're used to a premium ride. (Photo: Hyundai)

Published on February 05, 2011

De rigueur in the premium flagship sedan segment, the Equus includes a rotating knob for controlling infotainment functions. (Photo: Hyundai)

Published on February 05, 2011

The Equus is not only a superb highway cruiser, but it takes to turns well too. (Photo: Hyundai)

Published on February 05, 2011

Feature rich, you can even get a fridge installed between the rear buckets... and yes, that's a powered ottoman under the right-side seat, just like the Lexus LS and, ahem, Maybach. (Photo: Hyundai)

Published on February 05, 2011

The 2011 Hyundai Equus is a no excuse luxury car that looks right at home in any financial district. (Photo: Hyundai)

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

Published on February 05, 2011

In continuation of its march to be a player in every automotive segment, Hyundai now offers-for your consideration-its first full on luxury car. Equus. The most upscale Hyundai ever, the Korean manufacturer intends the 2011 Equus to be considered in the same thought as Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

So, does the Hyundai stack up?

Well, yes and no.

Exceptionally well executed, the Equus is solidly in possession of that indefinable quality known as presence. The look of the car clearly states its intention. And while many may decry the styling as derivative of various and sundry Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Buick products, the fact is the Hyundai is nonetheless one good-looking auto.

It's nice inside too. The passenger compartment absolutely reeks of quality. Many of the best ideas of its competitive set have been incorporated. Genuine wood and lightly processed leather are the primary players. Switchgear is nicely sized, labeled and logically positioned. After only a few minutes behind the wheel, you'll know exactly where everything is and what it does.

A large video monitor dominates the centre stack, and as is de rigueur in a modern luxury car, secondary functions are accessed and executed via a rotary controller just aft of the shift lever. Easy to navigate, the system quickly becomes second nature. Seat functions are manipulated via buttons on the door, arranged, not coincidentally, in the shape of a seat.

Nicely configured for chauffeur operation, the rear compartment offers heated and cooled bucket seats and control over the entertainment and climate control functions. The right rear seat is lifted directly from an intercontinental airliner's business class with full reclining functions and a footrest. Beautifully executed cabinetry separates the two rear seats. A refrigerator is offered as an option.

Motive force is supplied via a 385-horsepower 4.6-litre V8 engine, capable of generating 333 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500 rpm on premium gasoline. The engine will happily run on regular fuel too, although output is reduced to 378 horsepower and 324 ft-lbs of torque. The engine is smooth, emits a mellifluous aural signature and accelerates the car sharply from rest while offering lots of headroom at speed for overtaking. The six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the rear wheels, shifts crisply and offers a manual mode, enabling the driver to take complete control of its operation if so desired.

Given the Hyundai's penchant for attacking corners, that capability isn't as superfluous as you might like to believe. Boasting a fast responding electronically controlled air suspension system with continuous damping control, height adjustability and a driver selectable sport mode, the Equus delivers outstanding stability at high speeds, almost no body roll when negotiating curves, and still presents the suppleness of ride expected from a car in this category.

So, right about now you're probably asking, if the car has all that going on, why are we all yes and no?

Frankly, the top cars from Cadillac, Infiniti and Lexus have more to fear from the Equus than the pinnacle German cars. However, the Hyundai might well cut into sales of mid-level V-powered Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class models, as it will, in all likelihood, be priced similarly to those cars-while offering superior content.

When you start talking about Deutschland's flagships, there are a number of factors to consider. While the Equus is well equipped, there are some features the big Germans flaunt that didn't make the Hyundai's spec sheet. Night vision, self-closing doors, all-wheel drive, 12-cylinder engines, and the very cachet that goes along with owning one of the Lords of the Autobahn won't be found at your local Hyundai dealer.

Speaking of which, Hyundai has taken great care to ensure the Equus buyer get a first-class experience. At-home vehicle demos, wherein an ambassador from one Hyundai's specially selected dealerships authorized to handle Equus will bring the car to your home for the product demonstration and test drive. After the sale, valet pickup and delivery for maintenance means you'll never have to set foot in a dealership. This level of service surpasses even Infiniti and Lexus, arguably two of the most accommodating marques extant.

All in all, the Hyundai Equus is a marvelous car, representing an excellent opportunity to have the name Hyundai credibly considered among the elite automotive nameplates. Equus is good looking, comfortable, more than adequately powered and promises to be (by virtue of its Hyundai birthright) amazingly priced. In a nutshell, Equus definitely has a shot.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Luxury Sedan, Hyundai, 2011, $50,000 - $74,999, Equus, Luxury,

Organizations: Hyundai

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