2014 Hyundai Equus First Drive
Is This the Modern-Day Lincoln Town Car?
Not only does the full-size 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate offer many of the amenities expected in a flagship, but it does so for the price of a premium midsize sedan. But while Hyundai’s execution is solid, the Equus isn’t quite up to the standards of the Lexus LS460 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, two models with which Hyundai frequently compares the Equus. While we questioned the concept of a “value flagship” in our 2012 Hyundai Equus Ultimate First Test, the rear-drive Hyundai Equus could be considered an aspirational model for Cadillac XTS Vsport and Lincoln MKS EcoBoost owners. During a week spent with a 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate, I began to view Hyundai’s flagship model as a modern-day Lincoln Town Car.
While Panther platform purists may cry “Blasphemy!” and point out that the 12.3- to 18.3-inch shorter Equus Ultimate doesn’t have body-on-frame construction, the Equus’ 119.9-inch wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than the standard wheelbase Town Car. And like the Town Car, the Equus’ conservative styling is less polarizing than the XTS and MKS. With its roomy interior, rear-drive chassis, V-8 power, and value pricing, the Equus is the only modern car to channel the Town Car. It even offers many features never available on the Town Car.
The $68,920 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate has been updated inside and out for 2014. Exterior changes include a revised front fascia and grille, lighting elements, side mirrors, and new 19-inch alloy “Turbine” wheels. Inside, the refreshed instrument panel features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display and a 9.2-inch center stack infotainment screen. Equus Ultimate models feature a head-up display that shows navigation and blind-spot monitoring information. Higher-quality materials are used on the revamped center stack and console. Switchgear graphics have also been revised.
In back, the previous single screen is replaced by dual 9.2-inch monitors in the upper back of the front seats. Rear seat passengers can control the infotainment system, look up restaurants, and even enter destinations. All 2014 Equus models get a three-zone climate control system (driver, front passenger, rear passengers) standard. Ultimate models now feature five-passenger seating instead of four. Our tester was equipped with cruise control with a 0-mph stop-and-start function, front-, rear-, and multi-view cameras, a proximity key that turns on interior and exterior lights and unfolds the side mirrors, automatic closing doors, and power lumbar support for rear outboard passengers.
On the performance side, the front suspension gets new bushings, while the Normal and Sport modes have been revised for improved ride and handling, respectively. A Snow mode for inclement climates is new. The 429-hp 5.0-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission are unchanged.
Thanks to an insulated cabin and smooth powertrain, the 203.1-inch long Equus gets up to speed quietly and effortlessly – justifying the head-up display that helps keep judicial tabs on speed. While the Equus doesn’t feel faster in Sport mode, initial throttle tip-in is more aggressive, and the transmission holds gears longer and shifts more firmly, though never jarringly. Stomping on the throttle will chirp the wide 275/40/19 rear tires (245/45/19 front). Lots of nose dive under heavy braking makes the Equus feel less confident on the street. In Normal or Sport mode, the Equus rides smoothly and handles well at street-legal speeds.
Read about the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan HERE
Read about the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis luxury sedan HERE
In our last test, a mechanically identical 2012 Hyundai Equus Ultimate reached 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and finished the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds at 102.7 mph. Stopping from 60 mph took 124 feet. That model also posted 0.83 g average around the skidpad and lapped our figure eight in 27.1 seconds at 0.66 g average.
While the interior materials aren’t up to the standard set by the LS460 or the new 2014 S-Class, there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces befitting the price point. The Equus is comfortable in everyday driving, with front seats that offer good side bolstering. The driver’s seat features power 12-way adjustment with lumbar, while the front passenger seat gets a 10-way power adjustment. Outboard rear seats feature four-way power adjustment including lumbar. Like in the S-Class, most of the Equus’ front and rear seat switches are conveniently located high on the doors.
Where the Equus Ultimate previously offered seating for four and a massage function for the driver’s seat and right rear seat, the 2014 model offers seating for five and no massaging seats. Controls for the infotainment system, rear climate control, and rear seat adjustments are located on the fold-down center armrest. A “Relax” button moves and tilts the front passenger seat forward before reclining the right rear seat, while the “Return” button returns both seats to their previous position. There is enough legroom to recline the rear seat with the front seats in use. Now that both rear seats recline, the available power footrest option is no more. The new rear bench seat is split 60/40 with the center seat recline function part of the right rear seat control.
The Hyundai Equus only exhibited one glitch during our week behind the wheel: a few times the blind-spot monitoring system would warn of a car on the left side when there wasn’t one. While the issue happened in more than one location, it happened in one particular spot indefinitely.
Like the Town Car, the Equus offers full-size space and many luxury touches and features you’d expect in a flagship sedan. And just like the Town Car, the Equus doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the LS460 or full-size German offerings. While the value-priced Equus can be compared to a modern Town Car, it offers something the big Lincoln never did: a 429-hp, 5.0-liter DOHC V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. Picking up where the Lincoln Town Car left off, the 2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate offers more than the biggest Panther ever did. Now Hyundai just needs to convince more people of the virtues of a bargain-priced flagship sedan.
|2014 Hyundai Equus Ultimate|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$68,920|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door, sedan|
|ENGINE||5.0L/429-hp/376-lb-ft DOHC 32-valve V-8|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||203.1 x 74.4 x 58.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.5 sec (MT est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||15/23 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY||225/147 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.09 lb/mile (est)|