The Hyundai Equus is a car that makes me think of 1989. Not in the sense that it makes me want to listen to Like A Prayer or anything like that, but '89 was the year that the Lexus LS hit American shores, and the Equus is just begging to be compared to it. This is not an entirely bad thing. It was not so long ago that nothing made by Hyundai deserved to have been mentioned in the same sentence as Lexus, so think of this as progress.
Hyundai is trying to take a share of the LS's market, and they are planning to do this by making a product as similar to the LS as possible; after all, it is supposed to appeal to the same customers. This is exactly the strategy Lexus used in '89, by making the LS as much like the BMW and Mercedes products it was competing with as possible, and Lexus was able to grab enough customers to start building a name for themselves. The 2016 Equus is, therefore, very much like the LS, just not quite as good, and the exterior certainly has a knockoff look to it.
The overall styling is basically LS, but with some tweaks to the proportions and the addition of entirely too much chrome. The chrome problem is worst on the wheels, which have a Pep Boys slap-on wheel cover look to them. It would still manage to be a good-looking car if you had never heard of the Lexus, but in a world where the LS exists, the Equus will continue to suffer from the comparison.
In terms of dimensions, the Hyundai Equus sedan measures 203.1 inches in length and is 74.4 inches wide without the mirrors. It stands 58.7 inches tall, stretched over a 119.9-inch wheelbase. Comparing two sibling sedans, Equus vs Genesis, it's the Equus that is the larger of the two (be sure to read our review of the Genesis, too).
When stepping inside, the interior of the Hyundai Equus also bears a strong resemblance to that of the LS, but here it is better executed. It offers an interior that is both spacious and comfortable and is largely up to the standards of the segment. Naturally improving in luxury levels as you move up the trim levels, it's the Ultimate trim that gives you two executive-style rear seats with a center console, rather than the three-seat bench found in the base model. This option is definitely recommended, as the fully-loaded Ultimate still comes in at about $5,000 less than an LS, and quite a bit less than one of the German rivals.
Loaded with standard specs, such as three-zone climate control, leather seats with power adjustment and heating/cooling, lane-departure warning with blind-spot detection, smart cruise control, and a premium 17-speaker Lexicon sound system, the Equus also boasts a consignment of nine airbags for your safety.
Although luxury is the priority of the class, there still needs to be room for practicality, too, and in this regard, the Equus offers 16.7 cubic feet of trunk space for your golf bags or weekly shopping.
The Hyundai Equus has a 429-horsepower 5.0-liter direct-injection V8 engine which offers rapid acceleration and loads of grunt on the open road. Although European rivals may offer more robust options, the 2016 Hyundai Equus doesn't suffer from a lack of power and is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Equus does suffer from a lack of feeling, however; numb steering, numb brakes, and soft suspension make for a very disconnected feeling while driving.
The soft suspension translated to a comfortable ride, but it does seem that in general, comfort was a much higher priority for the manufacturer than the actual driving experience. Still, it does the prerequisite 0-60 mph sprint in just under five seconds, and it's near-430-hp motor earns EPA ratings of 15/23/18 mpg on city/highway/combined cycles.
While it has a few things going for it that the competition can't touch, for cars like the Equus, price is certainly one of the most important. Compared to German competitors, the Hyundai Equus' price is much more palatable. The other plus point is that when your Equus needs a service, it can be scheduled right from the iPad that comes with the Equus and also doubles as an owner's manual.
Hyundai will then pick up the car from your home or office and leave a loaner in its place. When the service is completed, they will swap the cars back. Nobody else in this segment offers anything like that. And, while the NHTSA has not evaluated it yet, the IIHS subjected the Hyundai Equus to review and awarded it top scores for four crash tests.
Speaking of cost, the Hyundai Equus goes on sale for a starting MSRP of $61,500 for the base model while the Ultimate trim sedan will cost you $68,750. Overall, the Hyundai Equus isn't a bad car, and the advantages it offers does make it worth looking at. Pros include a long list of
Still, it has some evolving to do before it can truly be called a contender in the US market, and, sadly, it seems it's too late. The Equus will be replaced in the USA as of 2017.