I’d asked the folks at Hyundai if I could please drive the Equus. I’d heard rumors of a fully reclining passenger seat complete with massages, reclining rear seats, a spacious cabin, wood trim and heated steering wheels. I about kicked my heels up when the car arrived and there were no disappointments. I spent a week in the Signature package
Here’s the thing about loving the Equus. Until yesterday (days after the Equus had left my house) I hadn’t read any reviews of it from the automotive magazines. I seldom do because I want to have my own experience, and in this instance that was unquestionably the right decision.
I enjoy the Hyundai brand. My last car was a Japanese car and I was content with the handling. Although Hyundai is a Korean brand it compares most easily with the Japanese car companies Honda, Mazda Toyota and Nissan. Much like their Japanese counterparts Hyundais have a loose suspension and driving them won’t feel like a Mercedes or BMW so if you hop into a $61,000 Equus and expect it to feel like a $61,000 Mercedes Benz then your world will be full of sadness.
With that being said, if you hop into a $61,000 Equus and expect it to feel like a Hyundai you’re going to be having a party in a pretty swanky cabin. Let me explain why.
There is wood all over the Equus. The dashboard and steering wheel are richly appointed (as they should be at this price point) and all four doors feature wood trim. In addition to the expected the Equus delivers on the unexpected. The rear seat armrest opens up to reveal climate control and entertainment control for the rear seat passengers, naturally there’s wood inlay there too. There’s a warmth to the wood that reminds you that you are now driving a luxury vehicle.
The Equus blows away the competition with heating and cooling (forgive the pun). Front seats are heated and cooled, the steering wheel is heated, the rear seats are heated and most impressively there are three air vents in the back seat that operate independently of the front. In fact, the Equus has three zone climate control with one for the driver, one for the passenger and another for the rear seat. We had the vehicle for a couple of 90 degree days and for the first time ever (in a sedan) my kids were able to cool the rear seats without freezing me out. The only oddity is that the steering wheel is only heated at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock where there’s leather and your hands should not be resting – 9 and 3 is fine for me.
There are details in the Eqqus that I’d not previously seen in any vehicle under $100,000. The driver’s seat cushion extends. Since this vehicle is large (quite a bit larger than a 7 series BMW or an S Class) my long legged friends will appreciate not feeling like they’re in a seat that’s quite simply too small for them. Conversely the car also fits someone like me who is neither tall nor short and doesn’t want to feel like Goldilocks sitting in Papa Bear’s chair.
The car is long enough to be used for car service and I think that with that in mind you’re able to control the front passenger seat from the driver’s seat. If, like me, you have a car full of kids in the back this is a fantastic feature.
The rear seats also recline. Since my chauffeur had the week off I had to rely on the kids and they assure me that this is wonderful.
When the Equus arrived my friends started coming over and I popped by Marsha and Curt to give Curt a little test drive. Fortunately for me I have friends in social media and they immediately said, “Oh my god the trunk is huge.” And hopped in.
And for added perspective here’s the trunk with some groceries. The flash from my camera doesn’t light up enough to show you the depth of the trunk. Moms like me who never want to own an SUV again can easily take a road trip with a family of four and not worry one bit about packing light. Packing light is for suckers.
The Equus is a sturdy car and like any luxury vehicle you’re encapsulated in quiet but unlike the others there’s a 17 speaker sound system. When I checked the window sticker I thought it was overkill, when I listened to my music I thought it was brilliant. The romance for me was in the details. I love that when you lock the Equus the mirrors fold up. I’m never really sure if my car is locked and I certainly never take the time (okay a few seconds really) to fold my mirrors in, but this little luxury delighted me. When you approach the car holding your fob the side view mirrors return to their driving position. Joy.
Much like the car I currently drive the Equus has a sunshade for the rear window. Unlike any other vehicle I’ve driven that sunshade automatically lowers when you put the car in reverse and then raises again when you’re in drive. At first I loved it and thought it was a luxury feature and then when I switched back to my own car I saw how it’s a safety feature and was more than a little bugged that every car doesn’t have this.
As I’ve stated a million times before I love the Hyundai driver’s interface. It’s easy and intuitive and it streams my apps nicely. I much prefer Sirus radio on my phone to Sirius radio in a car because I can pause and rewind. Streaming through the Hyundai bluetooth system was flawless though I wasn’t able to accomplish the same with the USB connection.
Let’s talk performance. As I’d stated before the Equus drives more like a Japanese car than like a German or American vehicle. So with that in mind it performed well. With 429 horsepower in a V8 engine it’s certainly got plenty of power. The paddle shifting is fun but nothing is ever as fun as a manual transmission (how else could you get me to love a 100 hp Mazda 2?). The Equus corners like a champ and brakes on a dime. I raced every 17-year-old boy I could off the red light and it’s fast but there’s something about it that will never feel fast. Maybe it’s because the steering and suspension aren’t tight? Maybe it’s because the cabin is quiet or perhaps because the muffler actually works? It just doesn’t feel like a fast car and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.
The Equus is sensible and luxurious and we also noticed that people were really nice to us when we drove it. It’s missing some of the douche factor I suppose. That can only be a good thing.