2014 Hyundai Equus
Engine: 5.0L, Tau V8
Power: 429hp Premium/421 Reg.
Torque: 376 lb.-ft. Premium/365 Reg.
Wheelbase: 109.9 in.
Fuel Economy: 15/23/18
Starting MSRP: $61,000
Sitting in highway traffic so slow that you can actually see a bridge's progress sucks. But if you're going to do it, you might as well do so in one of these. The Hyundai Equus makes moments like these tolerable. Inside the full-size luxury sedan you're sheltered away from that awful world full of construction and inevitable anger.
Even Hyundai's own media relations team will admit that luxury isn't the first thing that comes to peoples mind when they think about the brand. But that doesn't matter. Hyundai has gotten past initial perceptions with the Equus, carving out a seven percent market share in its class—much higher than Hyundai's 4.7 percent total market share in the U.S.
Competing against the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS, and Audi A8 is no easy task. Those cars are already well-established luxury perfection. But the 2014 Equus has earned its place by providing a lot of the same comfort while being much more affordable. Starting at $61,000, it comes in much cheaper than it's competitors. The 7 Series starts at $74,000. The S Class at $92,000.
When you hop in the Equus there's no reason to reach for your pockets. Simply keep the proximity smart key in your wallet—it's shaped like a credit card—press start, and you're good to go. If you power up in the upgraded Ultimate version you'll see the essential information right there in the windshield via the heads-up display. You have the speed, directions, and even the blind spot detection system, which prevents you from gliding into another car. The system comes standard, though you'll see the indicators on the mirrors in the base (Signature) version.
Big, heavy cars like these are meant for comfort more than performance. That's why the backseat is more spacious than Ryan Lochte's empty skull. You'd almost rather take a seat in the rear than actually get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, those seats might be occupied by friends, kids, and your wife, who is more interested in watching a movie back there than talking to you. You can still have your fun in the captain's seat, though. The Equus handles surprisingly well and comes with three driving modes: normal, sport, and snow.
Normal enhances comfort and sport is for when you're ready to turn up. Switch it on and the dash turns from a calm blue to a menacing red. Turns become tighter. The gas pedal is more responsive and fun, truly unleashing the 5.0L V8 engine's 429 horses through the rear wheels. Once we tried it out, we never switched back.
Some other highlights include standard LED head light; a redesigned bumper, grille, and instrument panel; and larger displays.
As for the downside, it's not quite as sexy as its competition. It's nice, no doubt, and Hyundai has done a dramatically great job in making its lineup much more handsome, but the Equus doesn't exactly snap heads. Also, it's important to note that the interface is still button-operated. Although there are a ton of terrible touchscreens out there, some people would expect the technology you'd find on nearly every other electronic device these days in their car.
Overall, we can't complain. The 2014 Hyundai is posh (no spice) without being overly pricey. If your range is around 60 stacks, and you want to cruise in comfort, this is your ride.