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Driving impressions: Hyundai Equus luxury sedan

Consumer Reports News: September 07, 2010 12:09 AM

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Last year, when Hyundai moved upscale with its Genesis luxury sedan, the question was: would anyone pay about $38,000 for a South Korean car? The answer was “yes.”

This fall, Hyundai is upping the ante again, with its $50,000+ full-sized Equus ultra-luxury sedan. Whereas the Genesis was designed to compete with cars such as the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class (as well as less expensive competitors such as the Acura TL and RL and Lexus ES and GS), for roughly $15,000 less, the Equus is designed to compete with those companies’ flagship luxury cars, the BMW 7-series, Mercedes-Benz S-class, and Lexus LS. And just as the Genesis significantly undercuts its competitors on price, the Equus will cost tens of thousands of dollars less.

To get an early take on this new sedan, we borrowed a press car from Hyundai that we could put through its paces at our Auto Test Center. Our initial impressions are that the Equus feels very luxurious, with a comfortable ride and a mostly hushed interior. Cabin furnishings are top-notch. The 4.6-liter V8 and six-speed automatic are very impressive. But the Equus isn’t as engaging to drive as its sportier counterparts. In that regard, the Equus’ overall character reminds us more of the Lexus LS 460. And that’s not bad company to keep, considering the LS 460 has the highest overall test score in our current ratings. But the Equus lacks the Lexus’s eerily quiet cabin and ultimate ride comfort.

We’ll have to wait until the Equus goes on sale this fall before we can buy one to put through our full battery of tests. In the meantime, check out the video for our early impressions.

Eric Evarts

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