2014 Hyundai Equus: Up Close

Hyundai's foray into the premium luxury market with the Genesis was a bigger success than most people expected. The next experiment was the Equus, which has just received an update for the 2014 model year. Unless you're a hardcore Korean luxury-car fan, however, you'll be hard-pressed to spot the cars' differences from the outside.

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The car's shape was and continues to be conservative, with a long flowing form that mimics rivals Lexus and BMW more than a little bit. New headlights, grille and taillight graphics are quite nice, but don't appear appreciably different.

Inside, a new center console and instrument panel is indeed more premium feeling than the previous model, with nicer materials and graphics. But the best place to enjoy the Equus is from the rear, as this is truly a premium Korean limousine, not a driver's car. Rear seat legroom is vast; the seats are supportive and comfortable, and new dual screens in the front head restraints allow for each rear passenger to enjoy their own multimedia display.

Hyundai debated whether to make the Equus part of a new premium brand — in the way that Toyota crafted Lexus, Honda made Acura and Nissan birthed Infiniti — but thinks there's enough play in the Hyundai brand name to allow for an expensive, premium sedan. The car speaks for itself — it feels expensive and appropriately priced. Given that Hyundai isn't concerned about pushing huge volumes of the car and simply enjoys selling however many it does, its presence as a halo vehicle for the brand is effective.

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