By on November 17, 2010

Just two years ago the $40,000 Genesis was an audacious step upmarket for Hyundai. Tepid sales of the semi-premium line suggest that the market still isn’t quite ready for an expensive car from Korea. And yet, for 2011, the company is attempting an even larger leap with the $58,900 Equus ($65,400 in Ultimate trim). This is territory into which even storied manufacturers like Cadillac and Lincoln fear to tread (with cars at least). Does Hyundai’s large premium sedan come close enough to established competitors, while undercutting them enough in price, that potential buyers will overlook the badge? Or is it a step too far too soon destined to sell in very small numbers?

While the Genesis targets the E-Class, 5-Series, and Lexus GS, the Equus goes after their larger siblings. The dimensional relationship between the two senior Hyundais most resembles that between the BMW 5 and 7, with a roughly four inch difference in wheelbase (119.9 inches for the Equus), seven inch difference in length (203.1), one inch difference in width (74.4), and negligible difference in height (58.7).

Unlike with the BMWs, though, the Equus doesn’t simply look like the same sausage in a longer length. With generous curves befitting a Buick—even a sweep-spear—the Equus’ exterior has more style and is less derivative (of direct competitors at least) than that of the Genesis. Yet, as the domestic car of choice for home market executives, it remains much more conservative than the Sonata. There’s nothing here that will turn buyers off. But there’s also nothing much to turn them on.

The interior styling, with no distinctive eye-catching elements, is more generic premium sedan. The materials are mostly worthy of the price, but don’t surprise—unless the presence of copious amounts of Alcantara suede (for the headliner), premium leather (on the instrument panel as well as the seats), and real wood inside a Hyundai surprises. Scads of high-end features are standard, including adaptive cruise control, quad-zone temperature control, power reclining rear seats, a 608-watt, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, and (the car’s best claim for a “first”) an iPad for the owner’s manual. A plus: the plentiful controls needed to operate all of these features are easier to learn and operate than those in competing European sedans. As in uplevel Mercedes, metaphoric seat controls are located high on all four doors.

Unfortunately, Hyundai neglected the basics in its rush to pack the Equus full of features. The driver’s seat, positioned high relative to the instrument panel like those in the Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class, provides a good view forward through the comfortably upright windshield and reduces the perceived bulk of the car. But the seat itself fails to provide even a hint of side support. The bolsters are very far apart, and the space between them is bereft of contour. Hardcore lateral support is neither needed nor expected—this is not a sport sedan—but more cosseting seats would be much more comfortable even when cruising the straightest highway.

The front seats are also responsible for a serious shortcoming in the rear seats. To begin with, despite its larger exterior the Equus isn’t significantly larger than the Genesis on the inside. Combined, front and rear legroom grow by only 1.1 inches, to 45.1 and 38.9 inches, respectively. Though these are very competitive numbers, the spec sheet doesn’t always accurately represent real life. And in real life, because there’s no space for feet beneath the front seats (even when they’re raised), rear legroom is in short supply. I’m 5-9, and have a shortish 30-inch inseam, but could not comfortably sit behind myself. With my feet unable to slide forward beneath the front seats, I had to sit “knees high,” thighs unsupported. The rear seat of the Genesis seems roomier and more comfortable. Power reclining rear seats are standard on the Equus, but this feature shifts the seat bottom forward, making a bad situation worse. Also, even with the rear seat in its full upright position I found it overly reclined.

Step up from the Equus Signature to the Equus Ultimate (trim names borrowed from the Lincoln Town Car?) and a power legrest is added to the right rear seat. Oddly, unless you’re under 5-6 there’s not enough space to use it, even with the front right seat motored all the way forward and tipped. Hyundai offers an extended wheelbase Equus in Korea. The legrest should have been restricted to that car. A shame, because the Ultimate’s rear console (in place of the Signature’s center seating position) includes the makings of a thoroughly executive experience, with a refrigerated storage compartment, DVD entertainment system, and plenty of buttons to play with. Who knew Hyundai could be so cruel, providing so many toys but not enough room to play.

The Equus shares its 385-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 and six-speed automatic with the Genesis, but weighs nearly a quarter-ton more (4,449 to 4,592 pounds). Consequently, acceleration is easily adequate, but not exhilarating (it’s not that sort of car, anyway) or effortless. The engine isn’t silent, but the noises it makes are welcome to anyone with even the slightest care for driving. Want more scoot? Wait a year, when Hyundai will replace the 4.6 with a direct-injected 5.0-liter good for 429 horsepower and add two ratios to the transmission. The 2012 powertrain should also be good for another MPG. The EPA rates the 2011 for 16 city, 24 highway. Aside from 6 MPG during a vigorous exploration of the chassis, I observed slightly better numbers, and even exceeded 30 on one stretch of rural highway with a few complete stops.

The Equus’ standard suspension pairs height-adjustable air springs with adaptive shocks. Lexus, and not anything from Europe, was clearly the dynamic target. The Korean flagship’s electro-hydraulic steering isn’t sloppy, but is light at all speeds—it doesn’t firm up on the highway–and body motions verge on floaty. But emphasis on “verge”—this is no land yacht of yesteryear. Though even a Lexus LS steers and handles more intuitively, for a comfort-oriented luxury sedan there’s sufficient composure and control.

Mysteries abound. A “sport” button on the center console allegedly firms things up, but you’ll be hard pressed to detect a difference. Also making no apparent difference, no matter how long they are held down: the buttons to deactivate the stability control and VSM (which integrates the stability control with various other safety systems). Even with two lights in the instrument cluster announcing that both nannies have been furloughed, the stability control intervenes early, often, and aggressively. Oversteer ain’t happening. Give the engine too much gas in a corner, and exit with too little. The point of the large staggered tire sizes, 245/45R19 up front, 275/40R19 in back? Unclear.

The Equus rides smoothly and quietly, but competitors are smoother and quieter. Slight tremors unbecoming a premium sedan can be felt through the steering wheel even though not much else can. In ride as in handling, the chassis is good enough that the typical buyer will be satisfied, but not great. The Equus doesn’t come close to setting new standards for refinement the way the Lexus LS did 21 years ago. In Hyundai’s defense, these standards are now so lofty that even approaching the class norm on the initial attempt is quite an achievement.

Lesser Hyundais are no longer much less expensive than competitors, with a ten-percent price advantage typical. The Equus starts out a little over ten percent below the Lexus LS 460, $58,900 vs. $66,255. But nearly $10,000 in options are needed to equip the Lexus like the base Hyundai. And even then the Hyundai has roughly $2,000 in additional features, according to TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool. Adjust for these differences, and the Equus has a price advantage of over $19,000. Compare the Equus to a BMW 750i, and this advantage more than doubles. If a $60,000 car could ever count as a bargain, this is it.

The Ultimate, on the other hand, fails the value test. It includes about $3,000 in additional features, but given the shortcomings of the rear seat these are of dubious real-world utility. And they add $6,500 to the price.

Not part of these value calculations: Hyundai’s strategy for making its dealers viable purveyors of $60,000+ automobiles. This strategy: the customer never has to risk tripping over an Accent by visiting the dealership (though a special Equus section must be set aside just in case one does). If you’re a potential buyer, they’ll bring the Equus and paperwork to you. And, whenever the car needs service they’ll retrieve it and return it, leaving either a Genesis or Equus as a loaner in the interim. Sound expensive? Well, during the first five years it’s all free.

The Hyundai Equus looks and performs decently enough, and offers an industry-leading cornucopia of standard features at a much lower (if still far from low) price. So, even though it doesn’t break any new ground, Hyundai’s finest would be worth serious consideration by anyone for whom $20,000 isn’t pocket change, except for one thing: the seats. How could Hyundai put so much obvious effort into this car, then include such unsupportive front seats with no room beneath them for the rear seat passengers’ feet? Did none of the many people involved in the development of the car notice these major shortcomings? Certainly everyone involved could not have been under 5-6 and over 300 pounds. The American senior executives are downright tall. What happened? Better to look forward. Hyundai has demonstrated a willingness to quickly change what needs changing. So maybe next year.

Hyundai made this vehicle available for review at a ride-and-drive event.

Michael Karesh owns and operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data

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91 Comments on “Review: 2011 Hyundai Equus...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Given this review I see no reason to sell this in anything other than long wheelbase trim.

  • avatar

    My apologies for the timestamps in the photos. A few settings on my camera were somehow changed, and the timestamps don’t show up in the small LCD. So I only learned they were happening after the fact.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    An iPad gimmick and a cordoned-off section of a Hyundai dealer will hardly make up for poorly-executed seats, the cornerstone of any top-class luxury sedan; the one thing the driver and passengers are constantly in contact with.

    When viewed beside the Sonata, Tucson, and upcoming Elantra and Accent, both the Genesis and Equus look a generation old, and the latter isn’t even on sale yet.

    Worse still, only half the details seem to have been sweated, and in this segment, in which Lexus has been pursuing perfection for more than two decades, “competent” and “adequate’ just won’t cut it.

    The Genesis hasn’t exactly been selling like hotcakes. It might have been a better idea to modernize and improve that model before taking it up a notch and going where even Cadillac and Lincoln fear to tread, and even Audi, with its venerable A8, doesn’t do a lot of business.

    Equus isn’t a deadly sin, but a minor infraction; one Hyundai shouldn’t be making while they’re on such a roll.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      MK is a bit off in declaring sales of the Genesis “tepid.”

      While sales of the Genesis coupe are tepid (RWD Asian coupes just don’t have much traction in the US), sales of the Genesis sedan are pretty respectable – outselling the Lexus GS, Audi A6 and the Infiniti M(likely will hit or come close to the 20K annual sales goal for the sedan this year).

      As for exterior styling, while the Genesis sedan doesn’t take any risks, it’s a rather handsome sedan overall (biggest issue is the dash design) and frankly more sleek looking than the bulbous, new 5 Series.

      As for the Equus, the front fascia isn’t bad (a bit more aggressive than most F segment sedans), but the rest is quite dull (probably due to its target market of senior Korean execs).

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      We get compliments on our Genesis sedan all the time.  People stop my wife and ask her what car that is and then say things like, “Beautiful.”  It took some convincing to get her out of her Volvo’s, into a Hyundai, but now she loves it.
       
      On the other hand, I find the front end of the coupe to just wrong…droopy.  With a sharper front, it might sell better.  Some people don’t like the bend in the rear window either, but that bothers me less.

  • avatar
    william442

    My two Hyundai driving experiences, a Sonata test, and an Azera rental, were adequate at best. This car will have to be very good to compete.

  • avatar
    dwford

    So glad my store decided not to sign up for the Equus. It costs the dealer almost $100k in upgrades, equipment, loaners etc to get this car, all to sell a few per year to the worst type of customer – the rich cheapskate. No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      + 1.  Rich cheapskate.  I love it!

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Of course, you don’t get to have a lot of money by spending a lot of money (investment in business aside). Those two things are generally at odds, a fact that people often forget.
       
      That said, demanding the impossible is disappointingly prevalent – for some reason, a significant portion of the very very rich (and I sell to this market) expect that they should receive some kind of special discount for… I guess, being very very rich. I sell driving simulators, and I’ve had A-list entertainment people say, “Oh, will you send me one?” Send you one? I run my own business, pay myself the minimum necessary to eat and educate my son, and plow every other dollar I have back into my company.
       
      I consider a $20 teflon pan a significant kitchen upgrade. And I’m supposed to give you a $70k simulator  – essentially donating seventy grand to your already overloaded coffers – because you’re wealthy?
       
      That’s rich.

    • 0 avatar
      blau

      Peri: You can’t blame rich entertainment people for expecting you to give them expensive stuff for free–everybody else does.  I’ve never understood why in this country we treat entertainers like gods, instead of the dancing monkeys that they are.

    • 0 avatar

      PeriSoft,
       
      You sell driving simulators? Cool. Got a website?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The “rich cheapskate” formula worked well for Lexus when the LS400 was launched.

      It’s not so much how many Equus sedans the dealers doing so sell during the next few yearsl, but their likely getting 1st dibs on dealerships when Hyundai launches a premium brand.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    This chiseler will take his Phaeton in navy over tan. This review makes the Equus sound like a 1993 LS400, which was no more roomy than the contemporary Camry in the back seats.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My first impression upon viewing the first photo: Wow, has Hyundai lost its way already? That front end is sheer jibberish and says nothing “exclusive” it’s ‘way too busy. At least they put an itty-bitty window where a really big plastic triangle would go! Hmmm…

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the sales breakdown between short and long wheelbase cars on the American market when given the choice, though the S450 doesn’t even come with the same engine as the S550.
     
    I wished Cadillac and Lincoln had the guts to try harder in this market, the DTS lacks the technology and the MKS lacks the rear seat room. At least Hyundai is trying, even if it’s mostly just catching up to a 2001-06 LS430.
     
    The reviews I’ve read about Equus are pretty arrogant, as if brushing all potential buyers as buying LS and Equus because they can’t afford an S-Class or 7-series. How about reliability and comfort? Last time I checked, vehicle reliability is ultimately an engineering issue.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d like to say TrueDelta will have some reliability stats on the Equus by May next year, but this will depend in large part on how many they’re able to sell. The Genesis has been reliable except for the Tech Package items during the first model year.
      http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The kind of people who review S-Classes and 7-Series and disparage the LS are also the kind of people who never have to deal with repair bills.  Hence, they can be arrogant all they like as they don’t have to foot the bill for their own hubris.
       
      It’s the same attitude that sees people talk interminable smack about the Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      The kind of people who review S-Classes and 7-Series and disparage the LS are also the kind of people who never have to deal with repair bills.  Hence, they can be arrogant all they like as they don’t have to foot the bill for their own hubris.
       
      It’s the same attitude that sees people talk interminable smack about the Corolla.

      Amen brother. Amen.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      I would wait on the Equus purchase…not just because of the seats.  Historically, the Genesis’s that have “issues” are the ones loaded with the technology package.  The technology package pales in comparison to the myriad of stuff on the new Equus.  Lets see how it holds up.
       
      P.S.  Similarly, many of the problems of BMW’s and Mercedes are with their more high tech features…radios, auto air conditioning…etc.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I’ve since found that long wheelbase versions make up 70% of XJ sales and 90% of A8 sales in the US market. Only LWB models of the S-Class are sold in the US market. I couldn’t find a breakdown for LS and 7-series. Maybe Equus is missing out.
       
      I wouldn’t mind any full size luxury sedan in my garage, whether it’s A8/Rapide/Flying Spur/Mulsanne/7/DTS/Equus/XJ/LS/MKS/Quattroporte/S/Panamera/Ghost/Phantom/9^5. Hyundai’s limitation in this market is a lack of AWD and cachet among snobs.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I’ve seen the Genesis and was impressed.  So the short coming on the Equiis is that even with an “Easy-Boy” recliner in the rear, the Genesis is more comfortable.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Hyundai may be in danger of reaching too far too soon. They would probably be better served on concentrating their luxury division on perfecting the already good Genesis sedan – maybe consider a LWB version – than to attempt to compete in this niche. Maybe the plan should be to move the Genesis upmarket as it gains acceptance.

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Can’t wait to see what the depreciation will be on these cars. Hyundai needs to stick with what they do, build decent affordable cars. Hyundai execs. must think that people aspire to drive an upscale Hyundai. FYI for them, nobody I know, or anybody else, I think, does. You would think they would have learned watching the beatdown VW got with the Phaeton.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Hyundai execs. must think that people aspire to drive an upscale Hyundai. FYI for them, nobody I know, or anybody else, I think, does.
      The only market I can think of would be those who want to drive a luxurious, comfortable and sophisticated car but who, for political reasons, don’t want to be seen driving something super flashy.
      I’m sure some German executives buy Pheatons rather than an S-class because, when you have union representatives on your board, sometimes the S-class doesn’t always set the right tone.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Can’t wait to see what the depreciation will be on these cars.

      Probably no worse than that on an S/7/A8/XJ.  Large luxury cars are not exactly known to be long-term investments.

      The acid test will be if the car holds together well.  Lexuses, anodyne as they might be, age pretty well, while owning an older 7-Series is asking for pain.  Depreciation might not be the problem you’d expect if the Equus survives to the end of seven years without semi-monthly thousand-dollar repair bills.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      But the Equus has been doing well in Korea since 1999.  They’re not losing money on it, and if it already exists over there then why not try to sell a a few over here?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Uhh, the Genesis sedan has better residuals than the Infiniti M.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    A boring-looking car, nothing I’d aspire to if I was in such a price range.
     
    Thank you for the detailed assessment of seating and interior room.  At 6’6″, it is nearly my first consideration when looking at a car.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Funny you don’t look like a 60K luxury car. I can’t see more than a handful of these selling with the boring anonymous styling and those trick seats. If you were smart and wanted one of these just wait a year for a clean used example for around 35K.
     
     

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think the Equus looks any less a $60,000 car than the Lexus LS. And the new 7 only looks expensive because people know it’s a BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      It somehow looks less impressive in photos than it does in person.  There were two of them available for inspection at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance a week and a half ago.  In person, it looks like a bigger car than it is.  I was surprised to hear the length is only 203 inches.  And the interior does not looked cramped.  Obviously I did not have the ability to evaluate the comfort of the front seats.

      The styling is conservative but not IMO boring.  The current Cadillac DTS, now THAT is boring.  In fact, my overall impression of the Equus was “dammit, this is the kind of big sedan Cadillac should be building.”  And with the right Cadillac styling touches, it wouldn’t be bland, and it could be positioned to a slightly different market target to get you away from that “rich cheapskate” crowd.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I’m with those who question why (WHY????) it is that these entry-level carmakers seem unable to resist the temptation to go upmarket.  They should just focus on making their existing cars the very best that they can and make up the profits in higher volumes by taking away market share from the (higher-priced) competition.

    It dilutes the company’s resources to try to be all things to all people (hmmm, BMW, Porsche, VW?). A MUCH better market strategy is to focus on what you do the best, and just forget the rest . . .

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Keep in mind Hyundai’s been making the Equus for the Korean market since 1999 (where it’s been successful). So they would’ve designed and built it anyway… their only costs were to make sure this generation was US road-legal and to do all the necessary dealership stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The only costs … don’t forget about the cost of building a LHD version, and of crash-testing it.  (The Genesis drivetrain probably helped reduce the drivetrain certification costs.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      I’m with those who question why (WHY????) it is that these entry-level carmakers seem unable to resist the temptation to go upmarket

      Willie Sutton (the famous Bank Robber) answered that question long ago:
      “Because that’s where the money is”.

      The profit margin is much higher on a luxury car because your cost to build isn’t much higher than for an economy car. Yes, you have more cost in materials, but it’s not -that- substantial.

      So, you make more money selling a luxury car.  See the Lincoln Navigator vs. the Ford equivalent.

  • avatar
    Deathproof

    Consider this recipe:  Hyundai takes the leading benchmark vehicle, such as the BMW 7 series, or Merc S, and exactly copies the parts on those cars in a perfect feat of reverse engineering.  Next step, they take the parts which the customer most notices, such as interior materials, displays, exterior paint quality, and improves those items over the benchmark vehicle.  Next step, they put even more sound isolation, better quality seats, etc, etc….
    After all of that is done, they try to sell this much improved BMW/Merc as their new Hyundai Equus.   Would they, then, even be able to come close to the selling price of BMW or Merc?  Even with a superior vehicle?  The answer is not at all.  BMW and Merc don’t sell their cars based only on the value of the vehicle for sale, they sell them based on the last few decades reputation for all the cars which came before.  Brand Name in the luxury business is everything.  Hyundai cannot and will not ever succeed in this market without first painstakingly and slowly building up their brand name… and next mistake, a Brand can’t mean all things to everybody, and they’ve already put the Hyundai brand name squarely into the “value” corner of the market.  A new brand name is needed, and then add 20 years of building it up, before trying to pull this Equus type vehicle off. 

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      You have pretty much nailed it!

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      “Brand Name in the luxury business is everything.  Hyundai cannot and will not ever succeed in this market without first painstakingly and slowly building up their brand name… and next mistake, a Brand can’t mean all things to everybody, and they’ve already put the Hyundai brand name squarely into the ‘value’ corner of the market.”

      - Not necessarily true; the success of the LS400 was largely due in part to its initial low MSRP of $35K (all this comparison to the Phaeton is offbase; not only did the Phaeton look like a large Passat, its base MSRP in today’s dollars would be around $75K, option it up to what the Equus has and we’re talking $80K+, and that’s w/o the whiteglove service that Hyundai is offering).

      This is basically a practice-run for Hyundai prior to launching a premium brand in the US; for the UK market, Hyundai has tentative plans to launch a premium brand within 2 years.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    This is nothing but a ‘halo’ effort for now…a loss leader used to confer some premium status on Hyundai’s mainstream offerings…’cuz they ain’t going to be making any money selling these Equus’s (Equui?) at low volumes for $20K less than a Lexus LS similarly equipped.

    Hyundai is setting sales expectations waaay low, though they could/should probably make a strong push to replace the Town Car as the prefered car for the livery/airport trade and could sell many thousands per year in that segment. The real deal will be the NEXT generation Equus, which based on Hyundai’s recent progress in design/technology/engineering, should have Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes, and especially Cadillac and Lincoln very concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The success of the Town Car in the livery market is due to it’s very low cost of ownership.  When you take a vehicle that hasn’t changed dramatically in years, and shares the majority of its parts with other common and evergreen vehicles, and add in that anyone with a any notable experience in the automotive service industry will be familiar working with them, and have it all applied to a vehicle that is pretty darn reliable to start with, you have something that makes great business sense for a fleet purchase.  The Equus may be inexpensive compared to the German sedans, but selling at very low volumes, the parts costs/availability and familiarity to techs will never match the TC.
       
      Plus, the most important thing in a livery vehicle from the client perspective is rear seat comfort, something the Equus apparently has a major issue with.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Agreed.  I strongly doubt Hyundai is making any money on the very small sales of the Equus.  Likewise, I suspect they lost money on almost every Genesis they sold in the U.S.  Just compare how much cheaper the Genesis sells for, in the U.S., vs. Korea.  These cars help the Hyundai name and bring people into showrooms.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Can anyone translate “Phaeton” into Korean for me, please?

    Though by this article, I have a sneaking suspicion the uber-dub was (and still is) a far better car than the Equus.

    Still, I can’t see dropping 70k for anything with an H logo on it, which was the major marketing sin of the big VW here in America (not that it actually bore an H on it anywhere).

    Perhaps, in order of fair comparison, it’s time to turn the Equus over to TTAC’s tame racing driver and see how it does doing 120 mph down the grass median on Florida’s I75.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Michael,

    IF, and that’s a big if, I was to consider buying another luxury car for traveling, I would lean towards the MKT.
    So, IF you had a choice..would this Equus be worth purchasing over even the cheaper MKT w/ecoboost?
    The German’s are  just a tad bit over priced.

    • 0 avatar

      Do you mean MKS or MKT? The MKS is a more direct comparison.
      The Hyundai has a more upscale look and feel than the MKS, with less of a sense that corners were cut, but isn’t as roomy or as comfortable. So it will come down to priorities.
      Normally I’d give the Equus big bonus points for RWD, but the stability control operation kills this advantage.
      If you meant the MKT, then I’d personally rather have a Flex. Better looking, more functional, less money.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      No, I really mean the MKT.
      I know the comparison sounds weird, but it is not…to me.
      The reason being everybody keeps referring to the MKT as the next Town Car.
      It seems to be extremely luxurious and with the ecoboost, powerful.

      If I were to want to give out this kind of money, I think the Cayenne or X6 are even priced competitively with this car.

      You more than likely know I love my MKS, and am not really sure what separates it from the BMW 7 or other stupid high priced cars. I feel what they add in terms of tech, they steal away in repair cost.

      I am not a lover of some of the MKS, like its trunk, but it is an awfully lovely car to drive.
      Since I will never test drive the Equus, I will never know or what it feels like.
      So I do lean towards the MKT for the next luxury purchase.

      Is the Equus even equal to the MKT when it comes to drive feel and comfort…leaving aside the gadgets.
       

    • 0 avatar

      As noted, I didn’t care for the front seats, and prefer those in the Lincolns.
      Between the Lincolns, I prefer how the MKS drives. The MKT feels bulkier and clumsier.
      A fair amount of this is personal preference. There’s a very good chance we don’t like the same things in cars.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Michael…

      IF you would like the child born from a Mazda6 and a MKS (with the hidden gene of a htachback uncle)…we would like the same kind of car.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    The Equus is a bold move but like everything has to be done correctly and at the right time. While this car seems to be a move in the right direction, the seat issue is huge and will turn off potential buyers. Does Hyundai really need a premium luxo sedan? I am going to say no.. and for gawd’s sake, do we really need a tach on an automatic that takes up half the available gauge space? For that coin, I want full instrumentation.. but that’s me..

  • avatar
    imag

    The sales and service model is the real genius behind this car.  Ownership of a luxury car without every entering the dealer – even for service – is, to employ an overused word, gamechanging.  MB and BMW should be paying attention.  The fact that you never have to deal with the stupid morning and evening service shuffle with your spouse or the dealer van makes this little feature the most luxurious part of the car.
     
    Meanwhile, in a couple years, the loaner car you get as a replacement for your car during service is the newest version.  That means you get an instant no-hassle test drive.  And I’m sure it would be very easy to let the dealer that you want a new one, not your old car, when they bring it back in the evening.  That’s seriously brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      A number of other luxury brands have been doing the whole ‘we pick your car up for service, leave you a new one in its place, and then switch them back when it’s done’ thing for years.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    The “sweep-spear” looks pretty pathetic on the Buick LaCrosse and looks tasteful here.
    Now Hyundai is a full-line producer – minus pickup trucks.
    The interior is much more stylish than the Germans.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    this car exists for one reason… so that Korean political and business titans can drive a Korean car
    it would not do for them to swan around in a Mercedes S like those poor countries that cannot produce their own cars
    this car probably suited to the short Asian gentlemen that run  the Chaebols but for westerners? try again

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I kind of liked the front end, then it struck me that I’d seen it before.  Hello, mom’s Grand Am!
    http://fortlauderdale.olx.com/1997-pontiac-grand-am-one-owner-must-sell-2300-or-best-offer-iid-8642481

  • avatar
    Boff

    I guess I’m the only one who can’t get past the name, haunted as I am by the eponymous play…

  • avatar
    SLLTTAC

    Hyundai makes strange choices. I don’t think they understand well North American buyers of upscale cars. The Genesis, for example, has a heated and cooled seat for the driver, but not for the front passenger, apparently because in Korea the car is a limousine driven by a chauffeur. Passengers sit in the rear. The heating and cooling switch for the driver’s seat is on the console for all to see. Nice try, but no cigar.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Just two years ago the $40,000 Genesis was an audacious step upmarket for Hyundai. Tepid sales of the semi-premium line suggest that the market still isn’t quite ready for an expensive car from Korea.

    I’m not sure that in the economic storm into which the Genesis was introduced this is the necessary conclusion to draw.  Then again, maybe the downturn should have been motivation to buyers to give it a chance.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Better yet wait two years. They will be fairly cheap coming off the initial lease period.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Where is the freaking hood ornament?

  • avatar
    TG57

    I think you meant to write, “seven inch difference in length (203.1)”

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Aside from 6 MPG during a vigorous exploration of the chassis, I observed slightly better numbers, and even exceeded 30 on one stretch of rural highway with a few complete stops.

    Was that observed on the trip computer or the gas pump?

  • avatar
    bd2

    MK -

    It’s interesting that you think the LS460 has better steering and handling when a no. of other reviews think the opposite.

    Aside from the rather conservative exterior styling, the biggest drawback to the Equus is the design of the dash/center stack (the Sonata has a better styled instrument cluster and center stack).

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Saw the Equus in person at an apparently “invitation only” event at my local Hyundai dealership. The car definitely has an upscale look and quality to it, even if it breaks no new grounds in design. One has to remember that Hyundai plans to sell this car in limited numbers (9000 annually if I remember correctly) and they’re marketing it to customer who don’t really care about buying into badges. I think it’s a bold step for them to introduce such a car to the North American market and it should do well.
    I spoke with the Equus “expert” on hand about the car’s apparent lack of legroom in the back (especially regarding the Ultimate’s footrest) and he admitted it was a booboo (his words, not mine) on their part for North American specifically. The Ultimate’s rear quarters for primarily designed for the Korean in mind (shorter, thinner) and not fitted for the American body.

    • 0 avatar
      dj

      Thanks, SupaMan – I’m curious, do you remember your Equus “experts” name and/or where the dealership event took place. (Name of dealer).

      I’m involved with the dealership training for Equus and would really like to enhance our training accuracy in this area.

      Thanks so much for your help.

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    These are a dime a dozen in Korea, but most (that I saw) were the short wheelbase and chauffeur driven. Not sure what the difference is between this model and the Korean version because most Koreans are not short. I’m 5’7″ and felt average in height to the locals.

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    Hey do you guys remember the Toyota Cressida, Mitsubishi Diamante, and Mazda 929? No? Neither does anybody else. Like the Equus, those were all good cars(The Cressida in particular) but I have a feeling Hyundai Should have launched the Genesis/Equus under a different brand. People will not pay big money for economy brands(regardless if they are or are not), as Nissan,Toyota, and Honda found out. And the ones that did not do it saw their upscale cars vanish. The Maxima survived somehow(Good for it).

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      My buddy had a hand-me-down 1990-ish Cressida in the late 90′s.  Seemed like a nice car to me, especially for a university student.  That’s the only car of the three that I can remember ever even seeing, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever noticed another one on the road.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamite

    Any price advantage will be washed out based on resale value, which will be abysmal
    The engine has no torque, and you have to have people come to the house for any issues, including buying the thing
    Hyundai should go down to the store, buy some guts, and actually make a luxury marque, if they want to sell these.
    BD
     

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    Tepid Genesis sales?  I thought that the car was selling well, according to reports.  And I’ve certainly seen plenty on the road in about the past year or so…

  • avatar

    If you are familiar with the play (or movie) by the same name, you will know why Equus is a bad name for a $60k car.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equus_%28play%29
     

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    I had a feeling that perhaps Hyundai reached too far this time.  I think it would have been better to wait until the larger engine was ready.  But I don’t know if that would have helped either, because it sounds like the car is lacking in key areas crucial to a luxury car’s success.  And from what I understand, only four exterior colors are available?  That sounds so low-rent.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Maybe they made the back seatroom so meagre to avoid seeing their flagship pressed into livery service.

  • avatar

    The car is definitely a value. But people buying these cars aren’t looking for value. They are badgewhoring.  http://www.epinions.com/content_536572628612

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    ALL silver painted plastic trim pieces in ALL car interiors must die, ASAP.

    The sooner, the better.


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