Junkyard Find: 2012 Hyundai Equus

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

When the first Hyundai Excels appeared on American streets as 1986 models, bearing shockingly cheap price tags, did anyone imagine that someday there would be a big, ostentatious Hyundai luxury sedan with serious V8 power available here? It happened, and I found one of those machines in a car graveyard in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a few weeks back.

junkyard find 2012 hyundai equus

To give you an idea of just how amazingly cheap the first US-market Excels were, the only new cars that could undercut the 1986 Excel on MSRP were the wretched Yugo GV and the miserable Subaru STD three-door hatch with four-on-the-floor manual. Even the horrifically obsolete Chevy Chevette cost more—a lot more—than the Excel in 1986.

Even as late as 1992, when "Glengarry Glen Ross" hit theaters, everyone watching knew exactly what Alec Baldwin meant when he told Ed Harris, "You drove a Hyundai to get here tonight. I drove an $80,000 BMW. That's my name!"

Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded.

Back at home, Hyundai had been selling credible luxury machinery (admittedly, often based on Mitsubishi hardware) for quite some time.

The Hyundai Genesis showed up here as a 2009 model and sold quite well. The second-generation Equus debuted in South Korea as a 2010 model, so it seemed like a good idea to ship it across the Pacific.

The Equus first appeared in North America as a 2011 model, and the MSRP for the cheapest version was $58,900 (about $81,136 in 2023 dollars).

I reviewed the 2014 Equus Ultimate and thought it was damn near as nice as the Lexus LS 460. It was more than ten grand cheaper, too (though almost certainly not built as well).

Not many were sold, though. Starting in the 2017 model year, the successor to the Equus became the Genesis G90.

A luxury car this new, no matter how obscure, generally won't show up in a yard like this unless it crashed hard. That doesn't seem to have been the case here, though, since the airbags aren't deployed and junkyard shoppers have purchased most of the front body parts.

We may never know why an 11-year-old Equus met such a fate.

True. Prestige. Equus.

What kind of…?

[Images: The Author]

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2 of 34 comments
  • Ribbedroof Ribbedroof on Jun 03, 2023

    In Oklahoma, no less!

  • Zerofoo Zerofoo on Jun 03, 2023

    "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."

    Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.

  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines. https://www.drive.com.au/reviews/2023-ineos-grenadier-review/
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.