By on February 16, 2012

At $66,900 the 2012 Hyundai Equus is the most expensive Korean car I’ve ever driven.

Having driven a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe during my college years (and subsequent Hyundai products as part of my professional duties), I’ve seen first hand the progression of their products from plausible alternative to Japanese and American products to a purchase that one can be proud of. Considering that a decade ago my parents had a Kia Sedona – a lumbering hippopotamus of a car with an interior that Geely would find embarrassing – the progression of Korean cars is even more impressive.

We all know the “story” (to use a dreadful marketing term) of the Equus: It represents Hyundai’s attempt at a truly premium car outside of Korea and it comes with a free iPad. Comparisons to European luxury cars have been made by other outlets, but to paraphrase Katt Williams, “yeah, it do look like a Bentley…until a Bentley pull up.” Nevertheless, if God blessed you with a Hyundai Equus, you’re doing just fine.

For 2012, the Equus gets Hyundai’s Tau V8, displacing 5.0L and putting out 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque. Does it feel appreciably different than the 2011 model’s 4.6L Tau V8 that made 385 horsepower and 333 lb-ft? Not at all. I got the chance to drive the Genesis sedan with both the Tau 5.0 and the Lambda V6 that made 333 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque back-to-back in June of 2011 and I couldn’t even tell the difference there.

Equus owners will feel the same way about 0-60 times as hedge fund king Steven A. Cohen feels about paying $100,000 for a dead shark carcass – both figures are “inconsequential”. The Equus lets one simply waft down the road in near silence. Stepping on the accelerator to unleash all 429 horsepower would simply be vulgar and unseemly in our Equus Ultimate Edition, which came in a four-seat configuration clearly developed with the sole purpose of ferrying South Korean chaebol executives around Seoul while completely isolating them from the outside world. Like the Town Car Signature L, the front passenger seat can be moved forward and titled forward 45 degrees via controls on the passenger seat and on the rear center console itself. A power collapsible footrest for the rear seats can also be summoned, allowing for a Business Class-like experience for the rear seat passenger.

Fortune’s cruel machinations meant that I didn’t have a driving partner for the one car where I would rather be driven in, in the style of Freiherr Schmitt. Instead, I drove a freeway loop as well as along the Las Vegas strip in near silence, as the Equus filtered out everything else occurring in the outside world. The car soaks up the bumps, has plenty of power and the typical numb Korean steering and slightly spongy brakes are also present. Some have criticized the navigation and stereo system menus for being overly complex, but I had no problem operating either function, including while driving.

Where the Equus falls short is feeling like a truly “premium” car. Everything inside, from the knobs to the dash materials to the gauges, felt like an improved version of the switch gear, plastics and leather in my Santa Fe. That’s fine for a $40,000 Genesis, but on a nearly $70,000 ultra-luxury car, it’s not going to hold up. Sure, it’s not necessarily a “bad” interior, but a 2012 Audi A8 carries a $11,850 price premium and has a cabin that utterly shames the Equus in terms of visual and tactile appeal, not to mention all-wheel drive and massive snob appeal.

The peerless ride quality, middling interior quality and most of all, the understated aesthetics brings to mind the now departed Town Car. It wasn’t the flashiest, best built or most advanced luxury car on the market, but if you ever saw a black Town Car outside a fancy department store, expensive restaurant or government office, you knew that somebody important was nearby. Ford and Cadillac have put forth some poor replacements for the Town Car in an attempt to capture its livery car customers, but I think the Equus would not only excel in this field, but also offer a viable luxury option for the quietly affluent – the sort who would have eschewed the opulent European offerings for a Town Car in the first place.

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89 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2012 Hyundai Equus Ultimate...”


  • avatar
    hifi

    In my opinion, a Buick LaCrosse is much more stately looking, and does it for half the price. Or a Lincoln MKS. Or a loaded BMW 5 series or A6. A person would have to have marbles in their head to buy a $70k Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “A person would have to have marbles in their head to buy a $70k Hyundai.”

      Why? A good car is a good car.

      “Buick LaCrosse”

      Front vs. rear wheel drive, v-8 vs. v-6, many more features, etc. it’s not really in the same class.

      • 0 avatar
        rockit

        The Buick LaCrosse was a good suggestion for an alternative since the 2005-2009 version looks just like the Equus from the side.

        The Equus is simply goofy looking and over priced. People drive $70,000+ cars to make a statement (design and/or cachet), and for interior ambiance…unfortunately the Equus has neither.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Re: marbles in the head to buy a $70k Hyundai

      They said the same thing about the Phaeton, which turned out to be a flop in the US. Would be interesting to compare the sales numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        True, but the Equus is, I assume, part of Hyundia’s long term plan to become a full line automaker. VAG, with everything from Skoda to Bugatti, was already a full line auto maker thus the Pheaton was a flop.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “Vehicles that expensive are for brand recognition…. just because your a fan boy that doesn’t change things.

        The Hyundai Equus is a goofy looking car with a funny name, and overall doesn’t deliver.”

        - Uhm, what brand recognition did the Lexus have when Toyota launched the brand? Or Infiniti or Acura for that matter when they launched?

        The sales success of the LS400 was due to its ridiculously low original MSRP (aside from being a very nice vehicle).

        And the Equus totally delivers as a luxo-cruiser as evidenced by the reviews and comparisons (Car & Driver noted that the Equus had the better powertrain than the LS460 and even had a bit of a sportier drive to it even tho the Equus is a luxo-barge – being as big as the LWB LS460).

        As for the interior, it’s pretty nice except for the dash which needs a more modern design and higher grade materials on the center stack.

        Besides, the Equus wasn’t developed for the Korean market and wasn’t originally intended to be sold in the US; the next Equus (due out in 2014) should see a leap forward equal to, if not better than that btwn the old and new Azera.

      • 0 avatar
        ppxhbqt

        The Equus has now outsold the Phaeton plus all Maybachs combined for the latter two’s entire time on the market in the US.

    • 0 avatar

      Lincoln MKS is a RIPOFF. The V6 is too expensive and the Ecoboost V6 is too expensive. People buying this kind of car WANT a V8. Fuel saving technology is cool, but, people spending $55,000 aren’t worried about fuel costs. I’d take a FORD SHO instead. Then again, the Chrysler SRT8 2012 is a better buy than the MKS and RSPEC Genesis.

      A $70,000 Hyundai – in this case – is a better buy than a $100,000 German car, although, you get more brand name recognition driving the German car. Hyundai’s service is impeccable, but, their quality is lower than Cadillac, Ford, and Lexus to name a few.

      These new car designs mostly look alike, or are so conservative, they don’t really garner the attention they used to.

      I love Hyundai’s new cars. The Sonata, Genesis, Azera and even the Elantra are cool looking and offer enough tech to help “people who don’t care about cars” a vehicle that will please.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        People who buy this kind of car aren’t interested in the engine. Only the status of the engine.
        Besides it is simply not true that buyers of expensive cars don’t car about fuel cost otherwise Mercedes, Audi and BMW wouldn’t have build expensive diesel cars.

      • 0 avatar
        rockit

        Vehicles that expensive are for brand recognition…. just because your a fan boy that doesn’t change things.

        The Hyundai Equus is a goofy looking car with a funny name, and overall doesn’t deliver.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        My friend and I went straight from test driving the $48K 5.0 R-spec to the Audi dealer, where he leased a $57K Audi A6 with a 3 liter supercharged V6 that was more responsive and felt considerably more powerful than the V8 in the Hyundai. Depending on which magazines you believe, the Audi is faster or at least as fast anyway. Everything you see or touch is nicer in the Audi, and the difference gets more dramatic when you start playing with the infotainment system, open the trunk, or sit in the back seat. In the Audi, I could sit comfortably without my head hitting the headliner, not so in the Genesis.

        Leasing the Audi instead of the Hyundai costs a few thousand more over 3 years and 45K miles, but you’ll never wonder where the extra money went. One difference in the Hyundai’s favor was manufacturer financing. The Hyundai dealer bragged that he could get anybody tier one financing, mentioning that he’d done it for a kid whose co-signer was out of state and had a low-600s credit rating. The Audi dealer pulled a special ‘car financing’ CR on my friend, who makes in the hundreds of thousands a year, and said that his ‘regular’ CR didn’t matter to justify a few extra bucks a month. Considering the number of people being pushed out the bottom of the new car buying world by bad credit, I can see where Hyundai’s new volume is coming from.

      • 0 avatar

        CJinSD

        That whole “credit” issue is another part of the story. Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, etc are backed by stronger banks than American automakers. It’s easier to get one of those cars than it is to buy a Ford.

        Hyundai would LOVE to sell me the RSPEC, but, I’d rather spend another $7000 and get into a 2012 300 SRT8 than tool around in a Hyundai Genesis.

        I made a direct comparison video between the two cars. In just about every enthusiast segment, the 300 wins.

    • 0 avatar
      bkmurph

      In my opinion, the Equus is much more stately looking than the LaCrosse, MKS, 5er, or A6. Different strokes…

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    When I think of Hyundai/Kia these days, I only think of style and stats. I do not think of them as well-designed vehicles with first-class interiors. They are pushing the envelope with style (Veloster, Sonata, Soul, Optima) and putting out ridiculous turbo-4s and the impressive-on-paper Tau V8. In other words, “We can fool everyone into thinking we are a premium product by simply cranking out powerful cars with unique style.”

  • avatar
    jmo

    “a viable luxury option for the quietly affluent”

    I could see this being a hit with college presidents, non-profit hospital CEOs, and other folks who make really good money, want a big comfortable and subtly impressive car, but need to keep it somewhat on the down low.

    • 0 avatar

      The Genesis is really popular at one of the big country clubs in town. I could see those customers moving up – they can certainly afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        Chiburb

        That’s exactly what I did when my ’09 Gen lease was up, though I went with the Signature instead of the Ultimate. Between the positive equity(!) on the Genesis, and invoice pricing on the Horse, the difference between a new Gen and the Equus was about $10K. That seemed a fair spread between the two for the upgrade to air suspension and other lux items like the massager, Alcantara lining, etc.
        For the record, I couldn’t have cared less about the LS,S,8, or 7. Never cross shopped them, just had no interest. So to drive a car that is 70% of what they are at 40-50% of their price (Signature, not Ultimate) after various of their options, makes me happy.
        I know the haters gonna hate, but every day I drive it I’m doing so smiling.
        Btw, no iPad with the 2012. Otherwise, fair enough review with one quibble:
        No mention of the 17 speaker Lexicon 7.1 surround system. Play a DVD-A or other surround source and you’re driving a concert hall on wheels, literally. Had the same system in the Gen (Tech pkg.).

      • 0 avatar

        Good to hear you got the Signature. The Ultimate makes no sense if you’re driving the car yourself, as it adds the fancy right rear seat. And if you’re being driven, you’d better be fairly short, as there’s not enough room in back for people over 5-7 or so to use the fancy seat, either. There would be in the extended wheelbase version, but that one’s not offered here.

        At $59,650, the Signature is also priced far below any comparable German car. Similarly equip an A8 (which adds over $10,000 in options) and the sticker ends up around $90,000. Even in Signature trim the Equus comes with much more standard.

        I don’t have either 2012 in TrueDelta’s database yet, but the 2011 Equus was only $750 less.

        http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

  • avatar
    tonyola

    It’s hard to make a case for the Equus when a loaded Lexus LS460 doesn’t cost much more. The Equus might have more claimed horsepower but the LS has the name, the silkiness and refinement, the designed-in luxury, and the impeccable build quality.

    • 0 avatar

      The biggest problem is the NAME on this car and the BRAND.

      If Mercedes slapped it’s tris-star; or BMW slapped it’s kidney grill and emblem on this car, and called it a “MORE AFFORDABLE SCLASS” or “MORE AFFORDABLE 7″, sales of the Equus would EXPLODE.

      Same goes for the Genesis.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Hyundai is playing the long game.

        They could have created a separate Genesis marque and dealer network, the way Toyota created Lexus, and it would have had more immediate sales results. Instead, they’re making expensive Hyundais, and by doing this plan to move Hyundai as a whole up a few notches in the public conciousness, even at the expense of selling a few fewer Equuses and Genesis sedans.

        It seems to be working.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      A loaded LS 460 is 83,700 – that’s almost $14,000 more than the Equus. I’d say your statement that “a loaded Lexus LS460 doesn’t cost much more.” isn’t totally accurate.

      • 0 avatar

        People routinely tilt price comparisons to distort the results in the direction they desire. The best way to do this: compare one car that is truly loaded with another that is not. Rounding (and then some) can also come into play.

        With the Equus, any real price comparison should use the Signature, not the Ultimate, as no regular wheelbase competitor offers a seat like that in the Ultimate. (For good reason, it’s nearly useless without the additional rear legroom provided by a longer wheelbase.)

        Bottom line: in a thorough, balanced price comparison the Lexus LS is over $20,000 more:

        http://truedelta.com/comparisons301/Equus-vs-LS-price-comparison.php

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        Failed attempts at pedantry by you people. The base price of an LS460 is $67,630. Add in the following as a package:

        HDD Navigation System
        NavTraffic™
        Lexus Enform®
        Voice command
        NavWeather™
        Sports and Stocks
        Mark Levinson Surround Sound Audio System
        Advanced Parking Guidance System
        Wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel
        Climate-comfort front seats with heat/cool knob
        Heated rear seats
        Intuitive Parking Assist
        Power rear sunshades
        Power door closers
        Power rear trunk open/close
        Headlamp washers
        19-in five-spoke alloy wheels

        That brings the price to $75,300 including delivery, etc. or about 12.5% more than the Equus. The Lexus is now pretty well “loaded” (I did not say that every possible option was included, did I?) and I’d put that within the “not much more” range. I did not include the pricey Sport package on the Lexus like Karesh did because the Equus makes no pretense at sport.

      • 0 avatar

        Good point on the Sport Package. I hadn’t noticed that the configurator had included it. There’s some justification: the Sport Package is the only way to get air suspension like that standard on the Equus in a RWB Lexus. The Equus also has 19″ wheels standard.

        But I can see how it would make sense to also configure the car without it. The Equus will still be far less as long as you’re comparing the Signature and not the pointless Ultimate. Specifically, about $18,000 less before adjusting for remaining feature differences and about $22,000 less afterwards.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Also the Equus is larger than the regular LS460 and is similar in size to the LS460L; and despite the Equus making no pretense towards sport, C&D did find it a bit more sporty tahn the LS460L in their comparison review.

  • avatar

    “Where the Equus falls short is feeling like a truly “premium” car. Everything inside, from the knobs to the dash materials to the gauges, felt like an improved version of the switch gear, plastics and leather in my Santa Fe. That’s fine for a $40,000 Genesis, but on a nearly $70,000 ultra-luxury car, it’s not going to hold up. ”

    This sentence completely sums it up.

    The Equus doesn’t feel much more luxurious than the Genesis (Which I consider to be Hyundai’s best car ever). Sure it offers Heated/cooled and massaging seats, but, compared to my S550, it’s a cheaper kind of feel. The motors that vibrate your back feel like a WALMART SHIATSU TOY. The cooling and heating elements are ok though.

    This car is a clone of the LS460. I see no reason for the rear seat recliner, except to get people talking about it. When you recline, your feet will get pinched underneath the front seat (if you are tall). Only kids can get full use out of it. If there is someone sitting in front of you, you can’t fold down the front seat to lay your feet on it. That’s part of the reason luxury cars don’t have reclining seats – except the Maybach which is almost the length of two cars.

    The new 5.0L which I drove in the Genesis RSPEC is powerful, but, the Equus MUST have All Wheel Drive to make it truly a competitor with the S550 4-MATIC and the A8.

    It handles sloppily and the wheel is devoid of most road feedback.

    I think the most impressive thing is how Hyundai treats its Equus buyers with the concierge service. You can have them come to any location, pick up the car for service and they’ll leave you an Equus or Genesis in it’s place. That’s something not even Rolls Royce or MErcedes Benz/BMW/Audi do.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “You can have them come to any location, pick up the car for service and they’ll leave you an Equus or Genesis in it’s place. That’s something not even Rolls Royce or MErcedes Benz/BMW/Audi do.”

      And the 10 year warranty. I know a certain segment of the luxury car market that may by an E-class or 7 series and drive it for 10 or 15 years then trade it in for a new one. Having been burned by one too many 4 figure repair bills, they might see the appeal of the Hyundai.

      • 0 avatar

        TAKE IT FROM ME…if you don’t buy new/ lease a German car, they are THE WORST.

        I am fortunate in that my S550 has had NO problems since 2008. But, I have neighbors with Mercedes and BMW’s that tell me horror stories.

        This time around, I’m not sure if I’m gonna get the 2013 S550 cause the new cars on the market (300 SRT8) comes with everything I’d want at less than half the price. I just have to have a second car for the misses to drive.

        I’m a sucker for cooled, heated/massage chairs.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Hey bigtruckseries/Flashpoint, we know you have an S550. It’s a waste of bandwidth to repeat known information so many times.

      • 0 avatar

        WSN

        Just making a comparison. And dispelling notions that German cars are warranty/maintenance nightmares.

      • 0 avatar
        santosonly

        Talking about the money/cost of ownership factor, though BMW has a “maintenance free” deal, it covers everything but wheels and tires. Meanwhile, their cars have low quality / very expensive run flat tires that after just 40,000 miles cost Car and Driver over $4,000.00 to replace because of bulges. They’ve cost me $1,000.00 just after 14,000 miles. And I do not drive my $72,000.00 550 agressively. Hmmm $320.00 in oil changes or $4,000.00 in tires. You do the math. What’s also interesting is, when they are paying for the oil changes the oil indicator was set to have the 1st oil change to occur after 15,000 miles! What’s up with that? When I am paying for the oil change, I am told to change it much more frequently than that. I am sure after the 1st 4 years, oil change frequency “recommendations” will increase.

        I’ve owned a Hyundai Genesis and a BMW and, say what you want about the flying H, I am going back to Hyundai. Much better quality and much a better value. I don’t have to spend an extra $20,000 to prove my self worth to others.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Harumpf…most expensive rental car.

    Give me an Impala, a Buick or Caddy any day of the week. Maybe even a Ford or a Chrysler, but never one of these…things.

    Sorry, but I’m feelin’ it today.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    I guess I’m confused about the point of their Genesis brand, because I don’t know why is this car part of the Hyundai lineup and not the top of the line in the Genesis brand?

  • avatar
    JCraig

    At this point it seems clear that Hyundai needs to launch a seperate luxury brand. I spent some time in an Equus at a local air show and didn’t see the premium over the Genesis. Not nearly as big on the inside as I was expecting, and as you point out the interior doesn’t feel that special. Kind of felt more like a Lexus ES350 level of refinement and materials. I will look forward to the next generation, as this one wasn’t really meant for the US market when it was developed.

  • avatar
    forditude

    Maybe Karesh or Dykes can let you borrow their digital camera. Navigator – no pics, Regal – no pics, Equus – no pics. Why do you NEVER take pics of the damn car?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “I had no problem operating either function, including while driving.”

    You trying to give LaHood a LaHeartattack? : )

    Seriously though, there was a HUGE crowd gathered around the Equus at the Philly Auto Show, and a sizable line to try out the chaebol throne.

    I remember a not overly-tall Autoblog reviewer stating that even when the front passenger seat was all the way forward, the tips of one’s shoes put unsightly scuff marks on the seatback.

    I only got to sit in the driver’s seat for a minute or so, but that was after spending equal time in an S-Class, 7-Series, A8, and LS (the Panameras were locked, even though they weren’t last year). All of those could boast superior overall interiors, more appealing to sight, smell, and touch.

    The value proposition seems irrelevant at these heights: the stated $8K premium an A8 commands over the Equus seems a paltry sum for anyone who can easily afford either. The many options for cars in this class quickly add up to that.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “the stated $8K premium an A8 commands over the Equus seems a paltry sum for anyone who can easily afford either. ”

      That would be comparing a base A8 to a fully loaded Hyundai. Comparing apples to apples Edmunds says the A8 would be $96,125.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Tis a sad day, boys. The Koreans have built the kind of car we used to be PROUD to build and drive in this country. I would buy a Genesis over a German uber-sedan any day of the week. And Hyundai CPO models still get hit with the depreciation stick.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I disagree, Dan. This thing? It’ll make me happy when I hear of all the poor suckers who buy this garbage complaining when something goes wrong, of them crying in their beer trying to make good on warranty claims!

      Did I say I was feelin’ it, today? You betcha!

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        You’re just cross because Kia has teased with a sedan based on this platform and pillar-less hardtop look… (mussing Zachman’s hair and running away.)

      • 0 avatar
        Contrarian

        Crying in my beer? Being burned once too many times, I didn’t even consider looking at Gubmint Motors junk last month when I went to the Hyundai dealer and bought a new Sonata. I gave Ford a chance, but the Fusion seemed still a generation behind (although I didn’t look at the new model). Your loyalty is commendable. But perhaps misplaced. Cuz they sure don’t give a damn about us.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        I think Dan’s point is that Detroit is so busy chasing Germans around the Nurburgring that they’ve abandoned the big, beautiful land yachts they used to be so good at. And since they haven’t quite caught said Germans yet, this muddles their identities.

        The Cadillac XTS is the brand’s least ambitious product, and the Town Car was allowed to die completely. The Equus is the kind of car that those Detroiters should be today, and it would probably be better-styled coming from them, too.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “I disagree, Dan. This thing? It’ll make me happy when I hear of all the poor suckers who buy this garbage complaining when something goes wrong, of them crying in their beer trying to make good on warranty claims!”

        - Uhm, the Genesis sedan was the TOP rated mid-size premium sedan for dependability in JD Power’s latest rankings, and this is for the FIRST year model (2009) for the Genesis.

        Also, Hyundai also scores highly on JD Power’s CSI rankings (which measure customer satisfaction with service and repair work).

        Sorry – no dice!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: If you ever saw a black Town Car outside a fancy department store, expensive restaurant or government office, you knew that somebody important was nearby.

    This is truly a thing of the past. Not only have most cars shrunk in size but some brilliant stylist came up with the idea of understated elegance to the point where everything looks like a plain de-chromed bloated BMW or Lexus with squinty windows and rubberband tires complete with massive over sized grilles and stubby overhangs. Lineup a Lincoln MKS, Cadillac XTS, Lexus GS, Hyundai Azera/Equus, Infinity, Audi A6, BMW 5 series etc from the side view and see how many consumers can even tell them apart.
    When I first saw this car test I thought it was a 32K Azera not a 70K luxury car.

  • avatar
    missinginvlissingen

    “… the Equus would not only EXCEL in this field, but also…”

    I think Hyundai’s marketing people would beg you not to use that word when reviewing their cars.

  • avatar
    tikki50

    nothing says “I made it to the top” like driving a Hyundai. LOL. It may be a great idea and I support Hyundai for doing it, but they really should have created a net new luxury brand that was way upscale. to me Hyundai is tainted like GM and nothing is going to sway that judgement easily. I find it funny that car companies just expect the consumer to forget the past. So what you blew 30K on our last POS, buy this new 50K model instead, LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “ar companies just expect the consumer to forget the past. ”

      They forgot the sputtering wheezing Toyopet Crown:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Crown#First_.28RS_Model-S30_Model:_1955_to_1962.29

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Toyota didn’t sell half a million of those though. It’s easier to forget a terrible car when nobody you knew owned one and they weren’t littering break down lanes and being abandoned in parking lots.

    • 0 avatar
      Chiburb

      Not all of us are trying to make statements with our cars. Some of us just appreciate ‘affordable luxury’ or ‘luxury without pretention’.
      And the last 30K ($39K actually) I spent at Hyundai was for an ’09 4.6 Genesis. Just the opposite of a POS: best car I ever owned until the Equus. 5 Star review at TTAC if I recall correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “Not all of us are trying to make statements with our cars.”

        That isn’t totally accurate, you’re just trying to make the statement that you “appreciate ‘affordable luxury’ or ‘luxury without pretention’.”

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        jmo,

        There really are people that don’t care about making a statement with their cars. I can see how it might be troubling to consider that others are so much more secure, but it is true.

      • 0 avatar
        Chiburb

        Actually, jmo, those were examples of statements that I would make if I were trying to make one.
        Like I said earlier, never aspired to the others,just enjoying my ride.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “There really are people that don’t care about making a statement with their cars.”

        Not caring is a statement.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        Not caring does not necessarily mean that you care whether other people *know* you don’t care. I care about this distinction being recognised.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      A Genesis sub-brand is the best way for Hyundai to go.

      Remember, Lexus and Infiniti had to bring over JDM FWD models (ES, G20 for Infiniti) in order to have lower-priced, volume sellers.

      A new brand with a separate dealer network would bump up the price of the Genesis and Equus by thousands and we all know how well the GS and M have been selling at their pricepoints (Infiniti already abandoned the Q, Toyoda wanted to cancel the GS and the LS sells b/c it is a value compared to the Germans, esp. the S Class).

      Besides, the flagship of the Toyota fleet is the Toyota Century and not the Lexus LS460.

  • avatar
    ajla

    What Hyundai should do is take the Santa Fe, Elantra, and Sonata, change their sheetmetal, add some sound deadening, give it a fancy-looking IP…

    and voila! you’ve got yourself a luxury brand!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Would you call those Mercurys or Oldsmobiles? :P

    • 0 avatar
      ruger11mcrdpi

      Actually it probably is about time they did that. They have made amazing strides the last 10 years in their cars… I mean anyone that has driven a 2011 or so Hyundai and a 2000ish Hyundai would probably agree. But their top end line could probably take off better if it wasn’t tied to the lower end stuff. I’d add in that the pieces that they part-share probably shouldn’t be stuff like the steering wheel or primarily touched items (controls).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      “What Hyundai should do is take the Santa Fe, Elantra, and Sonata, change their sheetmetal, add some sound deadening, give it a fancy-looking IP…

      and voila! you’ve got yourself a luxury brand!”

      - Wouldn’t that be Acura, or half of Lexus?

  • avatar
    redliner

    This will make a wonderful used car buy. The “bland” style will age well, and the lack of super complicated electronics coupled with Hyundai’s warranty and service should make it a decent mile muncher. 40k CPO and that’s one heck of a deal on an air sprung V8 sedan.

    I was able to find certified used models for sale with around 10k miles for $45k. Depreciation can be your friend.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I know violent acceleration isn’t the point of these cars, but how can you not tell the difference between the Tau 5.0 and Lambda V6? It’s a difference of almost 100 hp and 86 lb-ft of torque – not exactly insignificant.

    Maybe the Tau 5.0′s stats are a bit optimistic? Dramatically different gearing? What gives?

    • 0 avatar
      Chiburb

      The real difference isn’t off the line, it’s on the highway when acclerating from 65+. You can feel the 6 doing so, but you don’t know you’ve hit 90MPH in the 8 until you glance at the speedometer.
      (I have the 4.6 that was in the Genesis. I suspect there isn’t much difference between that and the 5.0)

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    If the goal of adding the Equus to the line up was a marketing exercise in trying to move the brand upmarket, it’s succeeded. However, it still would have ranked LAST in US market share in 2011 for the full size segment.

    Equus sold 3193* units in 2011, versus S-Class (12,258), 7-series (11,299), LS-series (9568), A8 (5700), and XJ (5235). Even if you didn’t think they belonged in this class, the MKS (12,217) and Panamera (6879) still outsold it.

    Ironically, the Panamera is a “spectacular success” for Porsche, and MKS is lambasted as everything wrong with Lincoln.

    *: numbers straight out of goodcarbadcar.net

    • 0 avatar
      Chiburb

      Not bad for the first MY, right? And I suspect they’re thrilled at sales 1/3 of the LS and 56% of the A8.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        And remember this is w/o available AWD which make up 40-50% of sales of RWD luxury sedans.

        In Canada, the Equus does even better against the LS – 116 compared to 156 for the LS.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      Just by putting the car on that same list Hyundai has won. As mentioned before, just by talking about Hyundais and Mercedes in the same terms brings the whole brand up. They now sell every car virtually before it’s even built, and with the lowest incentives out there.

  • avatar
    bd2

    “It represents Hyundai’s attempt at a truly premium car outside of Korea and it comes with a free iPad.”

    - The Equus was never originally intended to be sold outside Korea aside from a few markets in the Middle East and hence was engineered to ferry around Korean CEOs in the back seat.

    The next generation Equus will be geared more towards a world market and will get a significantly upgraded interior (based on the spy shots, the Kia K9 beats the Equus in this dept. and Hyundai isn’t going to let Kia get the upperhand for too long).

    The next Equus is due in 2014 (the new Genesis sedan is due next year) and will only have slight changes to the powertrain with msost of the changes coming in new sheetmetal and an upgraded interior.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    The Tau was one of Ward’s 10 best engines for at least 3 straight years, and well deserved. I drove both the V8 and the V8 Genesis before buying the V8.There is a very noticeable difference in acceleration between the two. Of course, that was in 2009, before the V6 went GDI.

    With the 4.6 Tau,I have to be vigilant when merging on a 65 mph freeway or else, I will find myself doing 80 or more. No noise, no fuss, it just goes.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    The obvious market for this whip are recently awakened patients who have been in a coma for the past 20 years. I can think of a million ways better to spend $67,000 and that’s one limited market.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Where’s Michael with his apples-to-apples cost-comparo of this vs. the A8? Because, golly, you can option an A8 to over $157,000, whereas the Equus maxes out at $67k. Kinda different leagues, no?

    Actually – even a loaded A6 is more expensive than the Equus. And as others have said – then there’s the warranty. For someone who wants to float around in isolated luxury for 5-10 years, this ain’t a bad option.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Would I buy a Genesis for 40 grand? Yes.

    Would I buy a Equus for 70 grand? Hell no.

    70k is a LOT for a Hyundai that doesn’t offer luxury car service at their dealerships.

    I’m waiting for the Genesis redesign, the farm truck Sierra and the dusty Impreza are looking for a luxo addition and I can’t imagine spending 40-50k for a 4 cylinder 5 series… or driving one down a 3 mile dirt road.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Frankly, I don’t see why anyone would buy the Equus Ultimate with the “throne” in the rear unless they are going to be chauffeured around in it.

      The $59K Equus Signature is the one that pretty much most buyers have opted for (plus, I don’t know why everyone keeps referring to the Ultimate as a $70K car when its MSRP doesn’t even break the $66K mark).

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    This car is akin to the Six Dollar Burger at Carl’s Jr.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The Equus reminds me a lot of the Infiniti Q45. Not the original grill-less car mind you, the confused second generation “Q41″. The second gen Q ship had similar anonymous styling, VERY similar levels of “outdated when it was new” switchgear and materials, and was also the value player in the class for when you wanted something bigger than the RL with a V8 and RWD, but could care less about the badge since in the ’90s the Infiniti badge was pretty much completely worthless.

    The Q was cheap, but it felt cheap, and so does this car. Depreciation on Qs was always epic, and I suspect the same holds true here. Anybody who thinks they are getting a bargain because they bought one at $60K vs. an LS or A8 for $15 or even $20K more might not feel so smug when they start eating a lot of that difference at the other end.

    It’s not a terrible first effort in much the same way that the Genesis wasn’t a terrible first effort, but that’s all they are. Neither is particularly compelling, though they are both better than the Acura RL by about a mile. Honda has been trying to do this since ’96, and they still haven’t got a clue.

    Based on the level of improvement in Hyundais other cars lately, I suspect that the next gen Genesis and Equus will be much more interesting, if not quite the equal of the GS, M, or LS, while the next RL will be another V6 powered dud with two thirds of its weight over the front axle.

    • 0 avatar
      ruger11mcrdpi

      I totally agree. If anything this car is a warning shot… the next one will be great. Right now, it’s a solid CPO option for cheap in two years. The Genesis is awesome for it’s price, and Hyundai is working its way up the ladder just like Lexus did, etc.


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