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2014 Hyundai Equus delivers luxury for less

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2014 Hyundai Equus

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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.

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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.

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