Shopping for a new Hyundai Equus?
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The 2011 Hyundai Equus is the most luxurious sedan ever sold by the South Korean automaker in the U.S., and as a high-water mark for the brand, it's also a warning shot fired at the bows of Lexus and Infiniti.
The Equus earns a rating of 7 here at FamilyCarGuide, because of its great interior space, features and fit and finish, though it's a bit too expensive for most families, and though its fuel economy isn't quite up to the par of the Japanese sedans.
Inside, the Equus has plush leather seats that feel more supportive than firm. They're ventilated and heated up front, and the driver's seat has a massage function even. In back, the three-person bench--or pair of buckets on the Ultimate edition--have chauffeur-sized room in all directions, plus a reclining, massaging seat on that Ultimate right-rear seat. The trunk is fairly vast, and the well-trimmed interior has bins and pockets for all manner of gadgets.
On safety, Hyundai hasn't scrimped one bit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't yet tested the Equus, but in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing it's earned top 'good' ratings in all test categories--including the new roof strength test. Standard features include front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-departure warning system, easily on par with the best sedans in the world in that regard.
Though it doesn't have the prestige of brands like Lexus just yet, the Equus has some visuals in common. The sedan looks like a blend of big Lexus, Infiniti and Mercedes sedans of the recent past, from its wide grille to the upkick of its rear roof pillars and the quiet, rich-looking shapes inside the cabin. And its performance is almost on par, too. A throaty 4.6-liter V-8 belts out 385 horsepower through a six-speed automatic, to the rear wheels; the Equus lacks an all-wheel-drive option, though. A 429-hp V-8 with an eight-speed automatic is set to arrive in the 2012 model year, along with other minor refinements.
Where it one-ups all the competition--even BMW and Benz--is in service. Hyundai outfits each one with an Apple iPad that connects via wifi to allow owners to schedule service appointments. That's on top of the standard power features, the leather interior, the moonroof and the wood trim--not to mention its iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hardware, and a navigation system driven through an iDrive-like controller and an LCD screen.
For about $58,000, the Equus competes in lots of surprising ways with full-size German and Japanese luxury sedans. It's still out of the ballpark for most families, but with the means at hand, those few with an eye on value will see plenty of it in the biggest, most luxurious Hyundai ever.For more on styling, features, performance, safety and utility, see TheCarConnection's full review of the 2011 Hyundai Equus.