2014 Hyundai Equus at the 2013 New York Auto Show

  • Competes with: Lexus LS, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series
  • Looks like: The current Equus, almost exactly
  • Drivetrain: 5.0-liter V-8 producing 429 hp and 376 lbs.-ft. of torque, eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: To be announced

Hyundai's flagship sedan gets its first big refresh for the North American market this year, with the new 2014 model unveiled at the New York International Auto Show this week. The changes are moderate and are a refinement of the current sedan, which has been an experiment for Hyundai in the premium luxury sedan segment.

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Its exterior styling doesn't look all that different — only the front bumper, grille, lights and mirrors have been revised. Inside, the changes go a little deeper, with a new instrument panel, gauge cluster, center console, steering wheel and wood trim choices. A 9.2-inch touch-screen is standard in the center console and there's another one in the gauge cluster.

The Ultimate Package upgrades that cluster screen to a new 12.3-inch unit and adds two 9.2-inch screens to the front seatbacks for rear seat passenger controls and entertainment. The Ultimate Package also adds a steering wheel with haptic feedback controls that can adjust vehicle functions, not just entertainment systems, as well as a power door closure assist function. Both rear seats also have an optional lumbar support.

Unchanged is the Equus' powertrain, a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with power routed to the rear wheels. It's good for a healthy 429 horsepower and 376 pounds-feet of torque, and should move the Equus smartly when combined with the newly revised air suspension tuning that should provide more differentiation between the feel of Normal and Sport modes.

But Equus is not about sporty driving — this is an executive's car, used primarily for chauffeuring South Korean board members around in its home country, and frankly, the best seat to be in is the limo-like rear.

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