Test Drive: 2011 Hyundai Equus Review

I had the privilege this week of being the first automotive journalist in Texas to get the new 2011 Hyundai Equus, the NEW flagship from Korea’s #1 automaker.  A few years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of an almost $60,000 Hyundai, but the Genesis taught me never to doubt this car company.

Let’s get the money part out of the way first.  This car is under-priced at $58,000.  Yes, I actually wrote that, the car is a bargain compared to other similar cars out there of similar size and features.  Clearly, Hyundai intended to take on the Lexus LS460 with the Equus, and the end result is a comparable car for $15000 less.  I won’t take anything away from the Lexus, it’s an incredible large sedan, but Equus is right there with it.

Under the hood is a very capable 4.6 liter V8 with 385-horses that will run just fine on regular fuel.  The engine is a dual overhead cam configuration with 32-valves, and 333 lb-ft of torque.  Acceleration is incredibly smooth and quiet.  They bolted that engine to a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted as a manual, although that seems odd to me in a super luxury car like this.

Make no mistake about it, this car is big.  Actually big doesn’t do it justice, it’s HUGE.  It is almost 17 feet long, just a couple of inches shorter than the Lexus LS.  Equus weighs in at 4555 pounds.  The exterior paint is stunning in the sunlight, with a heavy dose of metal flake.  It comes with 19” tires and chrome alloy wheels, which look super.  From behind, large, chrome-tipped exhaust pipes are molding into the rear bumper.  This car looks aggressive.

Inside, the car screams pure luxury. The leather seats are as pretty as I’ve ever seen and ultra-soft.  You can pitch a tent in the back seat it has so much room.  In fact, legroom for the back passengers is almost 3 ½ feet, and looks and feels larger.  It is cavernous for rear seat passengers.  In fact, this car could easily be used as a limo, it’s that nice.  The rear seats are heated and cooled in the upgraded Ultimate package, the seats massage you, and there is an electric refrigerator between the rear seats.

I don’t even know where to start with the list of standard equipment.  It would be impossible to list it all, so imagine everything you can think of in a car, then add:

Xenon headlights that turn with the steering wheel, rearview camera, automatic windshield defogger, 12-way power driver’s seat, and 10-way passenger front seat.

Of course it has a power sunroof, Bluetooth capability, steering wheel controls, power tilt and telescoping wheel, adaptive cruise control, and the lane departure warning system.  There are power rear AND side rear passenger sunshades.  Equus has a remote start button, electronic stability control and seven airbags plus side curtain air bags.  It will even parallel park itself.

There is an 8” monitor in the dash that is the central control for everything electronic including the terrific navigation system.  The Lexicon stereo system comes with 17 interior speakers that max out at 608 watts.  Needless to say, it sounds amazing.

Trust me, I have left out a ton of things that come on this car, but space just will not allow me to continue listing.  More amazing, I am in the standard model this week, not the upgraded Ultimate package, which has even more.  Need trunk space?  This is the car for you, it looks like it would hold an Elantra.

Driving the car, it handles well for its size.  With an adaptive air suspension system, you don’t drive down the road, you float down the road, not feeling any bumps in the road.  I have no idea how Hyundai managed it, but you hear nothing when in this car.  The quietness is amazing.

Perhaps most impressive about this car is the fact that you will never visit a Hyundai service department.  Besides free maintenance for 5 years or 60,000 miles, your dealer will pick up and deliver your Equus to your home or office every time it needs any work or maintenance.  Equus owners get their own Customer Connect Center to arrange service, and you get an app for your smartphone.  If that isn’t enough, Equus comes with an Apple iPad which you can use as you please and also serves as your owner’s manual.  The car comes with Hyundai’s 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty like all Hyundai models.

Not every Hyundai dealer can sell the Equus, rigid standards have to be met.  If you want more info on the car or to see some great pictures, click on this link-they will even arrange to bring an Equus to you for a test drive:  http://www.hyundaiusa.com/equus

If you love large, luxurious cars, the Equus has to be on your consideration list.  You can spend more money on another brand, but I am not sure why you would.

  • What I liked most:  Everything.  Mostly the price for what you get.
  • What I would change if I could: If anything, a more powerful engine.
  • MSRP as tested: $58,900
  • Fuel Economy: 16 city/24 highway.  It will do slightly better.
  • Equus in a few words: Hyundai outdid itself on this one.
  1. Debbie Cates 5 years ago

    You recommended a windshield shade on your show that sold for about $100. I have looked through this website and can’t find it. Can you please send me their web address? Thanks

    • Jerry 5 years ago

      Hi Debbie – Here is the information:
      Auto Heat Shield is a custom-fitted sun shield specifically for your vehicle. It will reduce interior heat by up to 40%. I own two of them and they are incredible. Car Pro Show listeners get 10% off by using the promo code JERRY. Take a look at their website, http://www.autoheatshield.com.

      Thanks for being a listener!

      Jerry Reynolds
      Car Pro Radio Network
      Owner, KPIR 1420 AM Granbury, TX

      Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host
      Automotive Expert
      Newspaper Columnist

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