Since Hyundai has developed its reputation around building high-value cars at affordable prices, it's hard to imagine how successful this relatively small Korean automaker might be at building a luxury car. Regardless of how good it is, the Equus faces stiff competition from lower priced luxury sedans like the 2014 Cadillac XTS and Hyundai's own 2014 Genesis sedan.
The Equus has been refreshed for 2014 with new materials, new active safety features and even more high-end luxury features. A new grill design and front bumper facia, as well as standard LED front fog lamps and new turbine blade wheels give the 2014 Equus a sharp new look.
The 2014 Hyundai Equus is a rear-wheel drive, full-size luxury sedan available in two trim levels, Signature and Ultimate, both of which seat five. Standard equipment on the Equus Signature includes 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, adaptive Bi-xenon headlights, LED fog and running lights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, land departure, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems, automatic wipers, a windshield wiper deicer, a power-closing trunk, a sunroof and keyless ignition and entry.
The cabin has tri-zone automatic climate control, rear seat climate controls, heated and ventilated power front seats, 12-way driver and 10-way passenger seat memory, heated power-reclining rear seats, leather upholstery, heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power rear sunshade and auto-dimming mirror.
For infotainment, there's Hyundai's BlueLink telematics system, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system with a 9.2-inch display and real time traffic information, a 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with discrete surround-sound capability, satellite radio, HD radio, a six-CD/DVD changer, an auxillary audio jack, and an iPOD/USB audio interface.
The Equus Ultimate adds power-actuated soft-close doors, a power trunk lid, forward-facing and surround-view cameras, power-operated rear-seat sunshades, power lumbar adjustment for the outboard rear seats, rear seat head restraint adjustment, ventilated rear seats, rear vanity mirrors and a dual screen DVD entertainment system. Most infotainment system functions are controlled with a rotary knob on the center console.
The Ultimate model gets a full LCD instrument panel with a speedometer and tachometer that look like traditional analog dials, but they are really digital. AThe Ultimate's standard Head-up display not only projects basic information, such as speed onto the windshield, but also turn-by-turn instructions from the navigation system.
The quality, fit and finish of the interior materials is first class, but it takes a lot to exceed the so-called "Audi standard" and Hyundai isn't quite there yet. The Ultimate now seats three instead of two and there's a dual-careen rear entertainment system and lumbar adjustment for the outboard seats. Perhaps that's to make up for discontinuing the message feature. Trunk capacity is a generous 16.7 cubic feet.
The air suspension has been modified a bit for 2004. The ride is now a little softer in the Comfort mode and stiffer in Sport mode. The 2014 Equus is still biased a little toward the luxury side of the balance between ride and handling.
The powertrain carries over with its 429 horsepower 'Tau' V-8 and 8-speed automatic transmission that you can shift manually when desired. The V-8 has all of the latest technologies such as direct injection, dual continuously variable valve timing and tuned variable induction. That combination can hustle this sedan to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg city and 23 highway.
The Hyundai Equus has all of the comfort, features and performance you'd expect from a luxury sedan, but without the luxury price tag or badge. For some, the Equus is a great value proposition, but others may not be able to deal with the non-luxury badge.