We drive the Hyundai Equus Ultimate

The Hyundai Equus Ultimate is a classy ride

If you are in the market for a luxury sedan, you are probably looking at Lexus and Mercedes Benz. In the US they are the big players and you will end up paying a lot of money for the privilege of owning one. Now there is a new game in town with the arrival of the Hyundai Equus. Yes, Hyundai is now making a luxury car to go up against some of the best in the world and it is very good. It is also a bargain, if you can call a $65,700 car a bargain.

Equus is the third rear-wheel-drive product in Hyundai’s lineup and boasts a very European 52/48 front-to-rear weight distribution. Equus reduces interior noise levels and improves ride and handling with a stiff, light-weight body structure. The use of high-tensile steel in critical areas throughout the unibody provides Equus with high dynamic torsional rigidity and a low body structure weight.

Driving dynamics are a critical element in every luxury sedan, and the Equus offers first-rate ride and handling characteristics. Equus offers an air suspension with sport mode. While the ride is a little firmer in sport mode, it is hardly noticeable. The Equus is not a sport sedan and does not handle like one. It offers a very smooth ride and is never harsh. While the Equus is large, it doesn't feel oversized or clumsy due to its 39.6 foot turning circle and variable-effort steering system. There is not a lot of feedback or feel from the steering and there is over 4500 pounds of car to move around so twisty mountain roads are not made for the Equus. However on a long stretch of interstate, the Equus is unbeatable and can eat miles with ease.

Luxury car owners want lots of power even if they never use it. The 2012 Equus is powered by Hyundai’s new 5.0-liter Tau DOHC V8 engine, producing 429 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 376 lb-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm. For 2012, the cylinder bore was increased from 92 mm to 96 mm for a total displacement of 5.0 liters. In addition to the large displacement, direct injection technology has been added which increases power and torque while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Compression ratio has been increased from 10.4 to 11.5:1 for greater thermal efficiency and output. The Tau V8 also receives a revised bed plate for improved block rigidity and lower NVH as well as camshaft carriers and a roller timing chain to improve valvetrain stability.

This new V8 engine still offers all of the premium engine technologies including Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), a tuned variable induction system, and low-friction diamond-like coatings on piston skirts, rings and tappets. Even with the power increases, fuel economy is at 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway which is competitive. To aid acceleration and fuel economy, the Equus 5.0 liter V8 is now mated to a state of the art eight speed automatic transmission that offers shifts so smooth that it hard to feel.


Inside the Equus is just as impressive with its huge amount of features. Our Ultimate package car added even more features, most of which are only available in cars costing over $100,000. Among them are lane departure warning, smart cruise control, HID and LED lights, front and rear parking assistance, front and rear cameras, premium leather with suede headliner, driver seat massage, heated and cooled front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, Lexicon 608 watt audio system with 7 inch navigation screen, power glass sunroof, reclining and massaging rear seat, power rear and side window privacy shades, refrigerator for rear passengers, rear seat entertainment system with 8 inch monitor and the list goes on and on.

Limousine like rear seats

The front seats offer lots of room and great support and even after long trips will have the driver as fresh as when he left for his destination. The rear seats are limousine like and it will be difficult to get your rear passenger out of the car. The rear passengers also have controls for the heating and cooling system as well as the audio system.

Hyundai offers its unique ownership experience for Equus customers, including tailored dealership showrooms, “Your Time, Your Place" at-home vehicle demonstrations, valet service appointments and an interactive owner’s manual for Apple iPad and Android tablet devices. The sales and service experience for Equus is unlike any other in the industry, with a focus on the customer’s time and convenience. Prospective buyers can participate in the “Your Time, Your Place" valet test drive program, where a specially trained sales person will deliver an Equus to their home or office for a personalized shopping experience.

Equus features the industry’s first interactive owner’s manual, providing a convenient and simpler way for owners to become familiar with the full capabilities of the vehicle. When service is required, Equus owners can schedule their maintenance and service through a simple online scheduling system or from the interactive owner’s manual. An Equus owner can also choose to have their vehicle picked up at their home or business, with a complimentary loaner dropped off and the loaner will not be just any car.

It will be either an Equus or a Genesis sedan. Once service is completed, the owner again chooses the time and location for the vehicle to be delivered. And all of this is available with Hyundai’s fantastic 10 year warranty.

To get this level of luxury features anywhere else, you would have to spend over $100,000. Most people that we showed the car to did not recognize the Equus especially since there is only a single Hyundai badge on the car. When they learned that the car was a Hyundai, they seemed disappointed.

But Hyundai has done an outstanding job with the car and the only area that the car even resembles its roots is some of the switches which are shared with the Genesis. Nothing on the car ever feels cheap or inferior. To be able to get this level of luxury and features for $65,700 is astonishing.

Yes, that is a lot of money to most of us. But you can also look at it that you just saved $40,000 by not buying one of the expensive competition.

Leave a Reply