Friday, April 11, 2014

Just call the 2014 Equus 'Hyundai to the Max'

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the March 2014 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California Not that long ago, I would have said it was impossible for Hyundai to build a car that was anything close to the 2014 Equus sedan.

I can now say without shame that the recently tested 2014 Equus Ultimate is every bit the player you would find wearing the badges of Acura, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz.  Incredible, but true.

For the record, it’s priced like one of those luxo-laden autos.  My ride had a bottom line of $68,920.  And I can tell you with a straight, cold-sober face that the lofty price is absolutely justified.

Standard features?  I’m talking about electronic active front head restraints, a digital heads-up readout that shows vehicle speed and the presence of cars rolling close to your left and right rear bumpers, a smart cruise control system with auto stop/start technology, LED turn signal indicators, a parking-assistance system linked to a rearview camera, premium leather surfaces throughout the cockpit, a heated steering wheel with leather-and-wood trim and a primo navigation system, including cemeteries marked by a tombstone icon.  Love that last part.

Keep in mind that this is the VERY short list of the goodies.  It’s a remarkable package for a South Korean automaker formerly known as an exporter of automobiles that were little better than shell-covered roller skates.

The exterior look is classy-sporty, with the sporty side getting a major bump from are-you-kidding-me 19-inch, turbine-blade polished silver wheels.  My tester drew crowds when parked.  It was that alluring.

On the fly, a 5-liter, the 429-horsepower V-8 dished out power and performance in ever-pleasing doses under the command of my right foot.  Power was not necessarily rip-roaring but smoothly spread out like spilled honey.  Most four-wheel pretenders simply fell off when I asked the Equus for full power during freeway commutes.

And yet, cockpit noise was minimal.  In-car conversations that can be heard among five people with plenty of room to spread out.  Simple pleasures there, but kind of hard to find in full-size sedans today.  Kudos to Hyundai engineers.

Fuel mileage was, uh, not so great at an advertised 15 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.  The Hyundai warranties, per usual, are excellent.

Remember that this 2014 Equus is an upgrade of a previous-generation car, but upgrade doesn’t really cover it.  Quantum leap is more appropriate.

Would I buy an Equus against comparative hardware made by Lexus, Acura, Infiniti or Mercedes-Benz?  I’m not sure I can answer that, but the fact that the Equus is even in that discussion speaks volumes.

The Equus is what I’d call “Hyundai to the Max,” and yeah, the max is pretty magnificent.

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