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STYLING | 7 out of 10
Its sheet metal could hardly be described as original and boasts nothing that could be called daring, but its anonymity is at best discreetly handsome and at worst not in the least offensive.
The chromed grille, piercing headlamps and sculpted fascia are all aggressive without being over the top, it's just a shame the front-view camera (on the Ultimate) protruding from the Equus' snout looks like a symmetrical black zit.
Bland and derivative, the design doesn't deliver the prestige that a vehicle in this class deserves.
Regardless of which version they choose, Equus-ites will be treated to unremarkable birch or walnut wood trim and a liberal application of leather around the cabin.
Car and Driver
Its design is much more reserved than Hyundai’s recent models, such as the Sonata, but exudes a classy presence that would look right at home – if not stand out - in the parking lot outside of a board of directors meeting.
Fox Car Report
The Equus still doesn't quite have the distinctive, instantly recognizable face that cuts across luxury radar, like the face on the 2011 Jaguar XJ or even the twin-kidney grilles of the BMW. But it's getting there.
On longer exposure, the first glance at familiar cues--hints of E-Class and Lexus LS--in the Equus' details mutes itself, and you begin to see the upswept tail and tapered side glass a bit more. Hyundai's gained confidence in styling with the Sonata and the Genesis, and the Equus simply straddles a different point in time, since it's coming to the States essentially midway through its life cycle. The cabin is very much a convincing luxury piece, with similar Lexus cues but delicately applied subtext--like the winged metallic trim that surrounds the dash vents, and echoes the logo on the hood and on the big LCD screen during start-up.
From our first impressions both times in the Equus, it's fair to say it should attract some buyers interested in the softer side of things. The Lexus LS 460 in particular is in the Equus' crosshairs, since the cars are similar in size, in power output and much more so, in interior styling. Outside, the Equus reminds us more of a blend of the current E-Class Mercedes and the last-generation Lexus LS--not bad stretch goals to hit, squarely.
Generically handsome, the 2011 Hyundai Equus lifts inspiration from around the luxury world, but reveals a hint or two of distinctive Korean style.