Car Review: 2014 Hyundai Equus

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You made a lot of money by doing something different. So when it’s time to buy a luxury car, are you willing to boldly go your own way again?

If that’s the case, then the Hyundai Equus may be just the luxury car you want.

2014 Hyundai Equus
2014 Hyundai Equus

The Equus isn’t different because of what it’s trying to be. In fact, it’s working very hard to convince buyers that it is every bit the equal of the Audi A8 or the Lexus LS 450. What makes the Equus different are its name and its price tag.

Equus Hood Ornament
Equus Hood Ornament

You see the Equus is a Hyundai trying very hard to pretend it’s not. It has a special hood ornament you won’t find on any other Hyundai. It also has a level of luxury you won’t find on any other Hyundai. But the one thing it has in common with other Hyundais is a price tag that’s lower than the competition. And that’s one reason to give this car a serious look.

On the outside the Equus looks like a luxury car. Having said that, it looks like a generic luxury car. It fits in with the luxury crowd, but doesn’t stand out. The styling has been revised slightly this year. Nothing major but a little less chrome up front and in the back.

Hyundai Equus Interior
Proper Luxury Inside

Inside, it has the stately elegance you’d expect in a big luxury car. The wood dash is nicely complemented by the comfortable leather seats that are both heated and cooled. The interior has three climates zones: two for the front seats and one for the folks in the back. Speaking of the back seat, if you need it to impress someone, the Equus is your car. To start with the leg room is great. My neighbor who is a very tall former professional basketball sat in the back. His knees didn’t touch the front seat even when it was all the way back. And then there’s the control pad. It’s part of a center arm rest and allows rear passengers to control things like temperature and sounds. This isn’t the first car to give the back seat control, it just looks so darn impressive.

Hyundai Equus Rear Seat Controls
Hyundai Equus Rear Seat Controls

Hyundai’s technology package is reasonable. Some people may think it has less to offer than some of the competition in this area, but I don’t think that’s a negative. It doesn’t overwhelm you and that’s a good thing.  The GPS is slightly above average. Some functions controlled by the display seemed to take a few extra steps, but perhaps that was just because I only spent a week with the car.

The Equus has a direct fuel injection 5 liter V8 that delivers 429 horsepower. That’s a lot of horsepower, but while it gave great acceleration, it didn’t wow me. I’m going to assume that the Equus is a heavy car that just eats up the extra horsepower. Still, it didn’t leave me disappointed. Mated to an eight speed transmission, the car moves smoothly. Gas mileage is so-so. Officially it’s 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. During my week with the car on both types of roads I never seemed to get above 16 mpg.

Hyundai Equus Side
Less Chrome Up Front in 2014

The Equus has a Continuous Damping Control as well as an Electronically Controlled Air Suspension. It’s constantly reading the forces on each wheel to determine the best way to keep the ride steady and smooth. Of course you can also choose a Sport mode for a firmer ride, but don’t expect to hit the slalom course.

You have your choice of two models this year. My test car was the Equus Signature that stickered at $61,920. Your other option is the Equus Ultimate for $68,500. The Ultimate includes plenty of upgrades included a cooled back seat to impress that important client even more on a hot afternoon. I was surprised that the Signature model didn’t have an automatically closing trunk, but it does come on the Ultimate.

Hundai Equus rear styling
Hyundai Equus With Luxury Styling

Buying an Equus is a bold choice. It says you want luxury, but don’t want to pay luxury prices. It also says that you don’t need a fancy name to feel important. After all, you can afford more than $60,000 for a car. Doesn’t that make you special all by itself?

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