HIGHER GROUND

Hyundai Equus now in the run­ning with other lux­ury cars

Post-Tribune - - To Drive - BY ARV VOSS

Hyundai is now com­pet­ing on a global level with other pre­mium car­mak­ers on all lev­els: de­sign, per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­ity, ameni­ties, ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies, and the own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence as well. The com­pe­ti­tion in­cludes the BMW 7 Se­ries, Lexus LS, and MercedesBenz S-Class.

Hyundai’s 2014 Equus dis­plays a kind of un­der­stated el­e­gance with

styling cues that are on par with those of other com­pet­i­tive Asian, Bri­tish, and Ger­man lux­ury sedans. The up­dated sedan presents a show­case of taste­ful el­e­ments that blend har­mo­niously, de­liv­er­ing a pleas­ing and ap­peal­ing over­all form that sat­is­fies the senses in an emo­tional way.

Hyundai’s large four-door lux­ury cruiser comes in both a four- and five-pas­sen­ger seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion, with two dis­tinct trim lev­els — the base Sig­na­ture Equus (five-pas­sen­ger) and the Equus equipped with the Ul­ti­mate Pack­age (four-pas­sen­ger). Both mod­els are es­sen­tially long-wheel­base ve­hi­cles. Power for the Equus is de­liv­ered by a 5.0-liter 32-valve Tau V8 (up from the for

mer 4.6-liter) with gasoline di­rect in­jec­tion and a tuned in­take sys­tem that makes 429 horse­power while also gen­er­at­ing 376 pound-feet of torque. Mo­tive force is me­tered to the rear wheels via an eight-speed elec­tronic au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with man­ual shift mode and lock-up torque con­verter. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency mileage rat­ings are 15 miles per gal­lon city and 23 mpg high­way.

Sus­pen­sion com­po­nen­try con­sists of an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled air sus­pen­sion with con­tin­u­ous damp­ing con­trol, along with height ad­justable and driver-se­lectable Sport mode. Up-front is a multi-link setup with a 29-mm sta­bi­lizer bar, while the rear fea­tures a multi-link setup as well, but with an 18-mm sta­bi­lizer bar. High­lights for the 2014 Equus in­clude a new 19-inch, tur­bine-blade pol­ished sil­ver wheel de­sign, new front bumper fas­cia and grille de­sign, new side mir­rors and tail lamp graph­ics, and LED fog lamps are now stan­dard. The in­te­rior comes with a com­pletely re­designed in­stru­ment panel and cen­ter stack, a re­designed cen­ter con­sole and shift lever de­sign, re­vised steer­ing wheel con­trol lay­out with ve­hi­cle set­tings, a new ivory leather in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment and ul­tra-pre­mium gen­uine wood trim selec­tions, and re­designed rear-seat cen­ter con­sole con­trols.

My 2014 Hyundai Equus tester was an Ul­ti­mate model. It was fin­ished out­side in White Satin Pearl metal­lic, with the in­side done in Ivory with gen­uine pol­ished wood trim ac­cents. The base price was set at $61,000.

The Hyundai Equus in Ul­ti­mate trim is truly a re­mark­able lux­ury sedan, with some sporty at­tributes, too. It is vis­ually ap­peal­ing, in a way that is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe, some ob­servers noted that cer­tain of its de­sign cues re­sem­bled those of a Mercedes-Benz S550, while oth­ers likened styling el­e­ments to a Lexus LS 460L. Nei­ther is a bad thing, as the Equus comes across as stylishly el­e­gant on its own.

Equus is not only ap­peal­ing in the looks depart­ment, but also in the per­for­mance and crea­ture com­fort cat­e­gories. The 429 horse­power, 5.0-liter V8 cranks out more than enough horse­power and torque to please even the most dis­crim­i­nat­ing driv­ing en­thu­si­ast, while pro­vid­ing com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tions in a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment. The speed-sen­si­tive, elec­tro-hy­draulic power steer­ing de­liv­ers crisp han­dling, and the ride qual­ity is com­pli­ant without sac­ri­fic­ing sta­bil­ity.

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