“Equus” is a brand-new name for a brand-new car just now entering the U.S. luxury marketplace. It’s Hyundai’s new 2011 flagship model that surprisingly threatens the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus with upscale luxury features.
The all-new 2011 Hyundai Equus is actually the second generation of a car developed over a decade ago in a partnership with Mitsubishi. First sold in 1999, Hyundai had great success with this car in Korea, but very few were exported to other countries. That success, coupled with the huge success of the Hyundai Genesis in the U.S., encouraged Hyundai management to press on with the final development of a luxury sedan.
The cabin of the Equus Signature model offers everything expected in a luxury sedan. Premium leather on the seats, dash and steering wheel, along with real wood trim and an Alcantara headliner create a sporty, yet elegant impression. Fit, finish and material quality are not quite up to the so-called “Audi-standard” but do compare favorably with others in the luxury segment.
Heated and cooled front seats are 12-way power adjustable for the driver and 10-way for the passenger. The driver seat has lumbar adjustment, seat massage and a memory system integrated with the side mirror and the power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel.
Comfort and convenience features include: auto-down/up windows, navigation system, dual-automatic temperature control, windshield-wiper deicer, rain-sensing wipers, electrochromic auto-dimming inside rearview mirror with HomeLink and compass and power tilt-and-slide glass sunroof. Rear seat get 60/40-power reclining and heated seats, power rear sunshade and rear side-window sunshades.
Entertainment goodies include a 608-watt Lexicon 7.1 surround-sound audio system with 17 speakers, iPod/USB and MP3 auxiliary input jacks, XM Satellite Radio with NavTraffic and Bluetooth hands-free phone system.
The Equus Ultimate model is well named because, according to Hyundai, it offers features you never knew you wanted. The Ultimate has all of the luxury features of the Equus Signature, plus a package of high-end amenities.
Ultimate has a 50:50 power reclining rear seating configuration. The back of this 50:50 seat massages and vibrates with heat. The right-rear seat has a recliner-like, power up and down leg support, with a control to remotely move the front passenger seat forward and out of the way for full leg extension. First-class-style headrests also contain wings that can be adjusted for comfort and support.
The Ultimate has an individual entertainment system that will play DVDs for rear-seat passengers, as well as display audio features and HVAC status. The rear console operates the multi-media monitor and has the controls for seat heating, cooling and massage functions, as well as the rear console refrigerator.
Other Equus Ultimate features include rear-seat power up/down head restraints with manual tilt, illuminated vanity mirrors, a forward-view cornering camera to help drivers navigate tight corners and a power trunk lid.
Pricing for the 2011 Equus starts around $55,000. The rear-wheel drive Equus rides on a version of the Genesis platform, and is powered by Hyundai’s 4.6-liter, 385-horsepower V-8 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The front and rear multi-link, electronically controlled air suspension is height-adjustable and features continuous damping control and driver-selectable sport mode.
Electro-hydraulic power steering eliminates losses associated with a belt-driven pump, yet maintains good road feel and responsiveness. Stopping power is provided by four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock and electronic brake distribution systems. The Equus rides on 19-inch chrome alloy wheels.
Owner’s manuals don’t make for exciting reading, but have lots of valuable instructions and information that is often hard to find. Hyundai may have found the perfect solution — it’s the Apple iPad, an interactive tablet with a touch screen that makes it the perfect tool for organizing and maintaining updates for an owner’s manual. The owner can schedule an appointment for service through the same device. — Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010