That we immediately mention the likes of the BMW 7-series, Mercedes-Benz S-class, and Lexus LS when discussing the Equus should indicate how impressive Hyundai’s flagship truly is. That said, the more-for-less approach that underpins Hyundai’s rapid ascension in the automotive industry may not prove as successful in a segment where cost is typically no object to buyers.
It will, however, force other automakers -- particularly those headquartered in America -- to take a second look at their premium luxury offerings. If, as David opines, the LS is utter perfection, the Equus is close behind, and at roughly the same price as a Cadillac DTS Premium.
The difference between a $55,000 Hyundai and a $54,000 Cadillac is far more than a cool $1000. The Equus is a suave, sophisticated offering, and feels both modern and substantial. The 4.6-liter V-8 is an impressively strong engine (I’d argue there’s no need for anything larger, like the new direct-injection 5.0-liter V-8 now offered in the Genesis R-Spec), and the eight-speed automatic is surprisingly refined. Ride quality is not wallowy, but the Equus errs on the side of supple. It is, however, devoid of the inevitable understeer found in the front-wheel-drive DTS, and feels slightly crisper than Chrysler’s revised rear-wheel-drive 300.
The Equus could, however, be mistaken for something much more expensive, especially in the cabin. Ignore the unusual logo on the steering wheel and the cheesy splash screen displayed upon starting the vehicle, and it’s easy to mistake the car for a Lexus LS. Fit and finish are quite impressive, and materials do feel a few steps above those used in the Genesis. Rear seat passengers are treated not only to a substantial amount of head, leg, and shoulder room, but several amenities -- including heated outboard positions, audio/visual controls, and manipulation of the front passenger’s seat -- that treat them like royalty.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor