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2014 Hyundai Equus Comfort & Quality

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On Comfort & Quality

The Hyundai Equus is a flagship, and a convincing one, in terms of interior space and comfort. Hyundai benchmarked the Lexus LS in defining the size of the Equus and its interior trim, and we think it succeeds, while neatly avoiding the firmer fine points of German luxury cars, not to mention their long-wheelbase models.

The Equus' front seats aren't heavily bolstered or overly firm. They're ventilated and heated, and incorporate a massaging function to keep drivers feeling fresher over long distances. It's mildly effective, but we'd ask for more under-leg support too--the Equus' seats don't have the extending bottom cushions that we like so much on Mercedes and BMW flagships.

There's not as much seat room in the Equus as in rivals, but fit and finish are excellent at the price.

This year, the Equus gets a revamped interior with a slightly more subdued treatment and reorganized controls. It works well in context: its Driver Information System uses a knob controller like the ones associated with BMW's iDrive and Audi's MMI, and it's as fiddly and tiresome as those control systems. It disallows any touchscreen engagement, and takes some time to get used to its operation over the infotainment and climate systems. There's a redundant screen in the gauges that allows drivers to choose an alternate view--say, navigation on the big screen, music on the smaller one--and that can help minimize the confusion.

This year, both Equus Signature and Ultimate models come with a three-person bench seat and a redesigned console that folds down from the middle position. With rake adjustment, as well as ventilation and lumbar control, they're a step above the seats in most other competitively priced vehicles, but lack the complete first-class reclining chairs (with tray tables!) of the new S-Class, for example. There's lots of legroom and headroom by conventional standards, and the Equus is wide enough to fit three across.

Expectations are met up close as well; walnut or birch trim accents the instrument panel, and the cabin is trimmed out with fine leather. The headliner's sueded, just like the headliners in the top-line Jaguars, and the center console is framed in wood, with matte-metallic accents. It's all coordinated quite well, and more conservative than overt.

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