Reviews

2013 Hyundai Equus Walk Around

At first glance, the Equus flashes styling cues at you from various other brands. There's a little Mercedes in the grille, some Lexus at the rear lights, perhaps a bit of Acura RL from directly behind the car. But the Equus goes on to establish its own look after you see it enough times. Hyundai calls its design language Fluidic Sculpture.

At the front, the grille design we know well from the Hyundai Genesis has been skillfully integrated with the headlight shapes, and carefully beveled front corners allow the light forms to carry around as vivid slashes into the quarter panels. The effect visually shortens the front overhang appreciably, to good effect. It is functional, too, allowing the auto-cornering HID headlights to swivel more effectively as the car turns.

The side of the car is distinguished by a contour crease that runs across the top of the front fender and then arcs through the doors before kicking up over the rear door handle to meet the rear light, lending the rear fender a muscular outline as it does. Chrome window surrounds and a bright strip below the doors adds further detail, while large, bright 19-inch wheels cram the wheel housings to emphasize a solid stance.

A fast roofline reduces the impression of size, so it is a surprise when you discover just how much interior space the design allows. Lexus has yet to field a comparable long-wheelbase model. And the sleek Hyundai roof doesn't hurt rear-seat headroom much, either. The Equus is 1.9-inches shorter and 0.6-inch wider than the 2013 Lexus LS 460 L, yet the Hyundai offers 2.2 inches more rear seat leg room. The Lexus scores higher for rear seat head room and hip room, but by less than half an inch in each measurement.

Interior

As you'd expect from an ambitious luxury-class contender, the Equus features a tidy leather and wood trimmed interior. There's nothing adventurous or experimental about the design, it's straightforwardly classic, but with some interesting arcs and curves in the dashboard wood inlays and vent register shapes to add character. An microfiber-suede headliner lends a real sense of privilege, and the seats are generous in size and support.

Contemporary instrumentation technology makes for an attractive display, and the main gauges are large and legible. A driver's information display is incorporated into the IP, providing all trip and vehicle status alerts, with accompanying audible warnings when appropriate.

Considering how much equipment the car has, the control layout is relatively uncluttered, with easily found switches and a fairly intuitive iDrive-like function controller. As is typical of the class, the Equus mounts some of the more commonly used switches on the steering wheel, further simplifying the layout.

Tall drivers will like the Equus, since it flaunts a roomy interior with large door apertures for easy access. And sybarites will enjoy the many luxury and convenience devices. We found no difficulty operating the stereo system or navigation without recourse to the manual, although a quick review of the voice-control glossary will certainly help if you plan to handle those tasks verbally.

Both models come with an extremely high level of interior equipment, including a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel with power tilt-and-telescopic adjustment, heated and cooled front seats, suede headliner, driver's seat massage, dual automatic climate control with separate adjustment and rear-seat vent control, power-reclining rear seats, power rear sunshades, auto defogging system with rain-sensing wipers, and 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat.

The Ultimate model adds a forward-view parking and cornering camera, a power decklid, reclining rear seats with powered headrests, cooled rear seats, rear seat massage and leg support, rear seat refrigerator and a rear seat entertainment system. Harman's Lexicon stereo system is among the best available in-car sound systems we've ever heard, with full 7.1 Discrete Logic Surround Sound for brilliant separation and imaging.

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