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2011 Hyundai Equus Review

2011 Hyundai Equus (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Hyundai Equus

SEE ALSO: Hyundai Buyers Guide
SEE ALSO: 2011 Hyundai Equus Preview
SEE ALSO: E-Carmony: Will the 2011 Hyundai Equus Match Your Needs?



by Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor
Detroit Bureau
The Auto Channel

Genesis was the start of Hyundai’s cautiously ambitious entry into the already crowded category of nearly/almost/wannabe entry level luxury vehicles. It was an instant success with car journalists and reviewers naming it the COTY – car of the year – award winner in 2009. More importantly, consumers bought ‘em which made Hyundai dealers happy.

If dealers were happy with the Genesis, many of them, 250 from the total dealer organization, will be ecstatic, euphoric and enthusiastic with the new true luxury car, the 2011 Hyundai Equus, when reaches their sales floors on November 1, 2010. When this event happens it just might make Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes dealers more than a little twitchy.

The Equus is formidable challenge to European, Asian and U.S luxury brands based on price, value, engineering, fit and finish, engine, powertrain, techno tchotchkes, quietness, responsiveness, handling, comfort, ride, infotainment, safety … okay every hallmark needed to establish new automotive benchmarks of luxury say one, semi-quibble: styling. It’s nicely derivative rather than distinctive.

Here’s an overview of the many features, amenities and attributes of the new Equus:

2011 Hyundai Equus Basics

Only two models are being offered: the Equus Signature and the Equus Ultimate, the longer wheel base model. Both are rear wheel drive and feature Hyundai’s Tau 4.6 liter,V8 engine that generates 385 HP and 333 lb of torque with 16/24 mpg for 19 combined fuel mileage data. There’s a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with manual sports mode.

Signature Model Standard Exterior Features – items in this list are standard on both Equus models compared to one or more competitors who have identified them as optional, cost more add-ons:

  • Air suspension
  • 19” wheels
  • Collision warning system
  • 9 air bags
  • Rear seat sight impact air bags
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Smart cruise control
  • HID headlights
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear back-up camera

Signature Model Standard Interior Features – as one can imagine, the interior fit and finish of all luxury vehicles have demanding standards for leather, metal, wood, fibers, materials and carpeting. A quiet interior is an important hallmark of every luxury car. Hyundai too has followed these benchmarks with some subtle details that set a mood of quiet harmony while being visually pleasing. Additionally there are features common to most luxury cars -- navigation systems, individual HVAC, mood lighting, Blue Tooth and ergonomic controls -- some standard but most are optional. The Equus difference is in the following standard features in addition to the lengthy list at the end of this column.

  • Suede headliner
  • Heated and cooled front seats
  • Premium brand name audio and speakers
  • Power rear side-window sunshades
  • Driver seat massage
  • Power reclining 60/40 rear seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Power rear sunshade

The Hyundai Equus Ultimate model adds or replaces some standard features of the Signature model with:

  • 50/50 Split reclining rear seats with reclining function
  • Passenger side rear seats leg support
  • Cooled rear seats
  • Rear entertainment system with 8” monitor
  • Rear center console rear seat thermostatically controlled refrigerator
  • Power up and down head restraints
  • Forward view cornering camera
  • Power trunk lid (surprisingly this is not a standard feature of the Signature model)
  • Driving the new Equus – Smooth. Quiet. Nice, very nice. Those few words are a short version of the description of driving experience I had after several hours behind the wheel of the Equus in the hills, plains and ocean sides of Northern California from two lanes, to super highways to expressways to driveways.

    This is a big vehicle, but it is very responsive with agile handling on the twisting roads at a variety of speeds including some relatively high. It is very, very quiet and certainly comfortable. This is a luxury sedan not a sports sedan thus the ride was comfortable and accommodating, a benefit I believe most people who will buy this car will desire. It is not an intimidating, hard to drive luxury sports sedan. You drive this car, it doesn’t drive you.

    The amenities of audio infotainment, reclining seats, luxurious materials and soothing surfaces add to the pleasure whether driving or riding.

    Unique Attributes Adding to the Equus Ownership Experience – the Equus has built in exclusivity for both customers and Hyundai dealers. Only 2,000 will be available for sale in the U.S. the first year and only from a select group of 250 dealers. “These dealers have been carefully selected to provide the very best purchase and ownership experience,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor USA.

    The transference from prospect to purchaser is uniquely seamless, the customer does not have to visit a Hyundai dealer to look at the new Equus or take the obligatory test drive. And let’s face it, that’s something many people would rather avoid. Equus dealers will bring the vehicle to the home or office of the prospect, no need to go the bricks and mortar ever! All details of purchase or lease can be handled off site with a trained dealer representative. Very nice, but there’s more.

    Service and maintenance, the time consuming chores of calling, scheduling, driving to, waiting, driven home, going back for pick-up at a dealer’s are virtually eliminated with communications technology. All a new owner has to do is touch the appropriate icon on the new iPad (yeah, that iPad) that comes with their Equus containing a couple apps: the owners’ manual, a sensational idea that saves countless trees and mindless searching, and a App link to their dealers Equus Valet Service to order and schedule service and pick-up of the person’s car.

    Dealers will provide a loaner of another Equus or Genesis at no charge. This service is an owners’ benefit lasting 5 years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first. The powertrain has Hyundai’s 10 year 100,000 mile guarantee.

    Really Cool Owners Manual – that is not a misprint. Just imagine those hundreds of pages of techy talk, drawings and engineering detail now on an interactive device. The owner’s manual of new Equus is an Apple iPad. And that is very, very cool

    And Finally the Bottom Line -- the price of the Signature model will be in the $55,000 neighborhood which is $20 to $30 thousand less than competitive models. The Ultimate will be a few thou more. Due in dealer’s about November 1, 2010.