Equus is the halo car of the Hyundai brand. Indeed, it is a full-size luxury sedan designed to challenge the elite of the world. In essence it’s a modern day attempt at doing what Toyota did when it introduced the Lexus LS to the world in 1989. It’s a daring plan that just might succeed.
Not all luxury car buyers are the same. For some, luxury cars are a corporate perk or a business expense where the driver is shielded from the expense of the vehicle. There are also luxury car buyers who care deeply about cost. This is the group that the Equus will appeal to. Why? Because they can get a vehicle that competes very well with the world’s best at a fraction of the price.
The Equus is a full-size sedan powered by a 5.0 L V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. Dimensionally, it’s nearly identical to the Lexus LS and the Mercedes S class. It’s sleek, substantial, elegant, and has presence.
The interior is outstanding. It’s spacious, well designed, and sumptuous. It’s also a placid place where the din of the outside world has been suitably filtered out.
My test model, the Ultimate, had luxury items like power rear seat side window sun shades, power up/down headrests on all seats, and even rear heated and cooled seats! There is also a 360-degree camera system, dual rear entertainment displays, a 17-speaker 7.1 surround sound audio system and even haptic dial controls on the steering wheel. The oversized trunk has a power opening and closing lid and the car’s doors will automatically cinch themselves shut. No door slamming required.
The 5.0 L V8 that powers the Equus is a totally modern direct-injection device that produces 429 hp. Routed through its 8-speed automatic transmission, it will propel the 4,600-pound sedan to 60 mph in a very swift 5.5 seconds.
The driving dynamics and road holding ability of the vehicle are also surprisingly good. The car has a three-mode air suspension system which allows an outstanding balance of ride, control and handling. The Equus is both a superb long-range cruiser and surprisingly maneuverable road car. My test vehicle posted a real-world 18 mpg average fuel economy matching the EPA estimate.
It seems like Hyundai put nearly every luxury feature known to man in the Equus which makes the price even more compelling. Whereas Lexus, BMW, and Audi’s comparable models are in the $72,000 to $140,000 range, the Equus ranges from $61,000 to $69,000. Even the midsize, front-wheel drive V6 Cadillac XTS can cost more than the Equus and the Mercedes S Class’ starting price is 50 percent higher.
The Equus is the value proposition in the large luxury sedan segment. Not only is it tens of thousands of dollars less, it’s also an immensely enjoyable car to spend time in.
Starting price – $61,000