New Car Reviews

2012 Hyundai Equus

Model Strengths:

Spacious interior; comfortable ride; strong V8 performance; lavish trims and details; strong safety record; Equus Ultimate offers prestige luxury for tens of thousands less than others in its class

Model Overview

The 2012 Hyundai Equus is a large, comfort-oriented rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan, offered in two main models: Equus Signature and Equus Ultimate. Both of these models come with a new 5.0L V8 engine, as well as a long list of luxury and safety features that closely matches what's offered in other top luxury sedans. The 429-horsepower V8 'Tau' engine in the Equus is new this year; it incorporates high-pressure direct injection, dual continuously variable valve timing and tuned induction for a remarkable combination of power and efficiency. A new 8-speed automatic is mated to the V8 and allows manual control and a very wide span of ratios. Although the Equus is clearly geared somewhat more toward comfort than performance, its powerful engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, stiff structure and user-selectable suspension allow some latitude for enthusiastic driving. The combination of a 5-link rear suspension geometry and continuous damping control (CDC) help keep the wheels firmly in contact with the road surface, without bringing too much harshness into the cabin and the air suspension system includes a selectable sport setting if you want a stiffer feel for curvy roads. The big 4-wheel disc brakes as well as electro-hydraulic power steering and a reasonably tight turning circle help give the Equus a tidy, manageable feel on the road. The Equus comes with a total of nine airbags, including roof-mounted side-curtain bags that cover those in front and in back, plus a driver's side knee airbag. It's also loaded with some of the top safety technology, including a lane departure warning system, smart cruise control and parking cameras--some of which might help you avoid an accident altogether. With soft leather, real wood trim, leather-wrapped, French-stitched seats and even a suede-like Alcantara headliner--plus a very quiet, isolated cabin--the Equus is every bit a luxury car. Front seats are soft and wide yet supportive, and they're heated and cooled, with a massage function for the driver's seat. 'Base' Equus Signature models include nearly all the bells and whistles, including the air suspension, front and rear parking assist, smart cruise control, HID headlamps, adaptive front lighting and a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel. A Lexicon Logic 7 surround-sound system is also included that features 17 speakers, 13 channels and 608 watts of power. The system includes HD Radio, XM satellite radio and full iPod integration. Equus Ultimate models step up to a rear-seat entertainment system, a power trunklid, a forward-view parking and cornering camera system, plus several more features that might motivate you to--a refrigerator, cooled rear seats, reclining rear seats, power rear headrests, rear-seat massage and adjustable leg support.

Model Changes

There's very significant news for Hyundai's flagship large luxury sedan, the Equus. For 2012, the model gets a new powertrain--including a more powerful 5.0L V8 engine and new 8-speed automatic transmission. The Equus also now comes with a new side-window satin-chrome finish, and the top-luxury Equus Ultimate now includes power rear side-window sunshades.

Model Value

The Equus is Hyundai's luxury flagship, aimed directly at top models from other luxury brands--including the Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ--but costing thousands less. The new V8 in the Equus, at 429 horsepower, is Hyundai's most powerful engine ever--and more powerful than the engines in the Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S550. And the new 8-speed automatic transmission enhances the Equus' performance while still managing to return an EPA-estimated 24 mpg highway. There are yet other reasons why the Equus stands out from the luxury pack, and they're not all value-related. According to Hyundai, the Equus has more leg, head, and shoulder room, both in front and in back, than the Lexus LS 460. It's also a standout for safety features, and an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
* EPA mileage estimates and EPA fuel economy methods based on models beginning with the indicated model year. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before the indicated model year. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.