The Edmond Sun

Community News Network

January 13, 2014

Cargazing: Hyundai's full-size luxury car competes with world's best

Ten years ago, if you told me Hyundai would be selling a full-size luxury car to compete with the Mercedes S-Class, I’d call you crazy.

For one thing, Hyundai didn’t build anything even remotely Mercedes-like in 2004. The Korean company struggled to match Ford and Chevy products back then, much less a legendary, super-expensive German luxury car.

For another, I would have expected Hyundai to learn from one of the biggest flops in recent automotive history, the Volkswagen Phaeton. It was a similar S-Class fighter from a mass-market brand, and it resulted in embarrassingly low sales numbers in the United States — even though it’s one of the best luxury cars ever produced, in my opinion.

Despite the long odds, I find myself spending time this week in the 2014 Hyundai Equus, a spectacularly engineered luxury car that draws comparisons not only to the S-Class, but also the BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ.

And unlike the disastrous Phaeton experiment, the Equus seems to be more of a sales success. 

Hyundai says the Equus is the top-shopped premium luxury sedan in the nation, well ahead of its exclusive competitors. Its $61,000 base price — thousands less than the competition — is surely a reason for that, but so is its long list of features that make you feel pampered like an 18th century French king.

I’m sure Versailles was a nice place to spend time. Don’t get me wrong. But it didn’t come with power-closing doors, a power trunk lid, adjustable air suspension, three-zone climate control, heads-up display, heated and cooled front and back seats and window shades that deploy at the touch of a button.

In other words, an Equus makes you feel like Louis XIV, with an entire opulent world right at your fingertips.

With the $7,000 Ultimate Package on my test car, even the back seat seems fit for a king. It includes two digital screens in the front headrests and a suite of buttons and knobs in the center armrest that let you control the navigation and entertainment systems while your driver wafts you from place to place. 

Everything about this car seems top-notch, from the soft materials and gorgeous stitching that make you feel like somebody special when you sit in the cabin, to the wild, thrilling sense of speed when you step on the gas pedal.

Power comes from a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 429 horsepower, enough to make this big, heavy car feel nimble when necessary.

And even better than that, the engine sounds spectacular. It’s the kind of car that warms your soul when you stomp on the gas pedal and hear that deep, rich exhaust note from the V8.

I see only two downsides to it. One, you can’t get it with all-wheel drive, so people who need or want that extra traction will have to look elsewhere. And two, I wish it were slightly quieter on the highway. It’s very quiet and smooth, but it doesn’t leave me in silent awe at 80 mph like the S-Class does. 

That said, the Equus is still one of the best, most opulent luxury cars I’ve ever driven — and that includes cars from Jaguar, Lexus and Mercedes that carried sticker prices well over $100,000.

The fact that Hyundai is playing at that level isn’t just remarkable. It’s almost miraculous.

Derek Price is an independent automotive columnist. Reach him at carcolumn@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Francis Tuttle Bruce Gray Center hosts blood drive

    Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) and the CADD Club at Francis Tuttle’s Bruce Gray Center are teaming up to save the lives of those in local hospitals. A blood drive will be held at the center on from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Anyone who is healthy and 16 years or older is urged to attend and donate.
    Donors with OBI provide every drop of blood needed by patients in all metro hospitals and some 140 other medical facilities across the state. One in every seven people entering a hospital will need blood. There is no substitute for human blood, and it has a limited time for use. That is why near 600 donors are needed each day, according to OBI.
    Appointments to donate are not required but can be made by calling 877-340-8777 or visiting obi.org.

    April 5, 2014

  • watching-tv.jpg Cutting the cord on cable TV, and not missing it a bit

    Three years ago, Royse City Herald Banner reporter Chris McGathey and his family decided to ditch pay TV in favor of Netflix, Hulu Plus and other cheaper web-based services. It's a decision they haven't regretted.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo