First Drive: 2011 Hyundai Equus

The Equus uses flat black plastic for radio and accessory controls rather than the silver buttons in the Genesis. Not only is the Genesis center stack more stylish, but it also has a much richer, higher quality appearance. While the fit and feel in the Equus is sound, the material looks like what you'd find in a $20,000 Sonata sedan. That's a very bad thing in a car competing with the rich interior of an XJ or plush luxury of an S-class. While the small surfaces disappoint, the vast majority of the materials are nicely done. The leather is luxurious and the extensive spans of wood trim on the dash and center console look good.

With an estimated starting price around $55,000, the Equus will still offer traditional Hyundai value. The price is competitive on it's own, but Hyundai is also loading the base Equus Signature with more equipment than its rivals, including high-intensity discharge headlamps, keyless ignition, front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning. Standard comfort-related equipment includes heated and cooled front seats, a massaging driver's seat, heated rear seats, and a 608-watt, 17-speaker Lexicon stereo.

Less than the Genesis
Hyundai's largest and most expensive car offers a great value for genuine passenger luxury and comfort. However, the execution hardly seems to move the brand forward, making the Equus a less impressive showing than the Genesis. The Koreans still have work to do in bringing the Equus' styling and dynamics up to the standards of the large luxury sedan segment. Given Hyundai's recent track record, though, we have no doubt that the company is up to that task.

2011 Hyundai Equus
On sale: August 2010
Base price: $55,000 (est.)

Powertrain Engine: 4.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V-8
Power: 385 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 333 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel

L x W x H: 203.1 x 74.4 x 58.7 in
Wheelbase: 119.9 in
Legroom F/R: 45.1/38.9 in
Headroom F/R: 38.7/38.1 in
Cargo capacity: 16.7 cu ft
Curb weight: 4376-4621 lb
EPA fuel economy (city/hwy): 16/24 mpg

3 of 3
Looks awful, in my opinion--I'm not a fan of the bland Genesis either, but this looks like a mash-up of an S-class, an Avalon, and a Buick or two. The extra-low rear door handle will be convenient for 4'-8" tall great-grandmas.Also, come on, Automobile: it should be "The price is competitive on ITS own", not "...on IT'S own".

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