2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate

“A Luxury Sedan to Be Experienced”
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
May 5, 2014 Updated: May 5, 2014

The Hyundai Equus has two trims: Signature and Ultimate. Neither is priced for the faint of heart. Now before I tell you the price, please hear me out. Admittedly the Equus is not for everyone, but the Equus has qualities and features that are not indigenous to most new cars. For example, owning an Equus means that you will never have to set foot in a service center. Ever. When the time comes for service just phone a Hyundai dealership or go through a downloadable Equus Owner Experience iPod app, and a Hyundai serviceman will come get your car and leave a courtesy replacement.

“The Equus,” stated a Hyundai engineer, “is a mechanical symphony honed into a performance-oriented luxury sedan capable of delighting the most demanding owners.” This may pretty well sum up the feelings of many owners.

The engine is fine-tuned with a 429 hp, 5.0 L gasoline direct injection DOHC V8 with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Tuning. All this power comes at the expense of mileage, which for me averaged only 15 mpg (20.3 gallon tank capacity).

The Equus features re-tuned Electronically-controlled Air Suspension with Automatic Ride Height Control and Continuous Damping Control. The ride height control maintains consistent vehicle height and pitch regardless of the number of passengers or load on board. And to make all this work is the V8 engine power which is optimized by the fluid shifting of the state-of-the-art 8-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission.

Inside, the seating was tailored for comfort. In fact, the very best thing about the vehicle was the comfort of the seats. The back of the seats was soft, but firm enough to help you sit upright. Recently I had driven a Lexus LS 460 and a Volvo C60 and the seat backs were contoured helping to hold you in place. I felt trapped and uncomfortable, plus I literally spilled off the seats in the Volvo.

Technology is wonderful, but too much can be overpowering. The latest features or digital technology are found throughout the cabin. There’s Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Lane Departure Warning, and integrated Driver Information System with Multimedia Controller, just to name a few.

It took me a week of driving the Equus to learn how it operated while confusing myself moderately. Somehow I managed to move the language selector from English to French. So for four days all verbal and written instructions were in French. I couldn’t understand enough to switch it back to English. Fortunately I did not place it in the Korean language category. I was just too proud and embarrassed to ask the manufacturer. However I did ask 10 writer colleagues who were as mystified about the situation as I was. The manual offered little help. My friends in Toronto would have probably been most amused.

The new 360-degree multi-view system with four cameras was ideally positioned to offer all-around visibility. The cameras were great, but the sensors were a bit much. A squirrel could jump from a tree a block away and the sensors would pick it up the movement setting off an alarm that seemed to indicate you had just slammed into a school bus.

The 2014 Equus has a redesigned dashboard, instrument panel, center stack shifter, center console, and steering wheel controls. In fact it felt cluttered with “stuff” between the front seats. Yet there was not a single small opening for keys, phone, etc. to be placed, except an ashtray which would have been of little use even for cigarette disposal. To open the center console, one has to take his eyes off the road because the storage bin is positioned so far back, the driver must turn or reach to the right to open the lid. Then reach over the lid to deposit the item.

A large 9.2-inch color display in the center dash makes it easy to control everything from navigation to SiriusXM satellite radio. However, the audio and climate control knobs are identical and too close together. I continually turned down the air at the expense of turning up the radio volume.

The 2014 Equus has three interior color combinations: ivory leather/ash wood, saddle brown leather/Madrona wood, and jet black leather/walnut wood. There were five exterior colors such as Black Noir Pearl and White Satin Pearl. My car was a beautiful Platinum Metallic with ivory leather/ash wood interior.

The Equus costs $61,920. There were added features like cooled power seats, power trunk lock, and rear power seats and head rests which could add another $7,000.

America’s Best Warranty
5 year/60,000 miles new vehicle warranty
10 year/100,000 miles powertrain warranty
7 year/unlimited miles anti perforation warranty

Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase: 119.9 inches
Length: 203.1 inches
Width excluding mirrors: 74.4 inches
Height: 58.7 inches

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or dcaussey@sbcglobal.net.