2014 Hyundai Equus

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Key Specs

of the 2014 Hyundai Equus. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    18 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    429-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Rear-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    8-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • V-8 power
  • Backseat room
  • Luxury value
  • Dashboard design, materials

The Bad

  • Fuel economy
  • Some accelerator lag
  • Handling
  • Several 2013 features deleted
  • Limited seat travel for taller drivers

Notable Features of the 2014 Hyundai Equus

  • Minor styling updates
  • Redesigned dashboard
  • Updated suspension
  • 429-hp V-8, eight-speed auto
  • Rear-wheel drive

2014 Hyundai Equus Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Updated for 2014, the Hyundai Equus gives luxury flagships a run for their money — and at a handsome discount — but its brand remains a mammoth obstacle to its consumer appeal.

Hyundai officials point to the enormous cost of launching a separate premium brand as a reason for not doing it, but it's still a move the automaker could make at some point. If it were to happen today, it would have just two cars: the Equus and the smaller Genesis, both rear-drive luxury sedans. Hyundai keeping them under its own umbrella is a decision with a big downside for the Equus, whose near-$70,000 Ultimate edition — the car we tested — is nearly double the price of a base Genesis. Few buyers have taken the plunge: Since December 2010, when the Equus hit dealerships, just 10,228 shoppers have taken one home. Mercedes-Benz sold nearly as many S-Class sedans in the first 10 months of 2013 alone.

Still, Hyundai tries to stir interest. The Hyundai Equus gets another update for 2014 (compare it with the 2013 Equus here): minor styling changes, a revamped dashboard, and updates to the chassis and electronics. It's two steps forward and a half-step back thanks to the loss of a few luxury features that the Equus used to offer. Trim levels include the well-equipped Hyundai Equus Signature and the optioned-out Ultimate. Compare them here.

How It Drives
The 
Hyundai Equus' 429-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic make a decent combo, with short gearing aroun...

Updated for 2014, the Hyundai Equus gives luxury flagships a run for their money — and at a handsome discount — but its brand remains a mammoth obstacle to its consumer appeal.

Hyundai officials point to the enormous cost of launching a separate premium brand as a reason for not doing it, but it's still a move the automaker could make at some point. If it were to happen today, it would have just two cars: the Equus and the smaller Genesis, both rear-drive luxury sedans. Hyundai keeping them under its own umbrella is a decision with a big downside for the Equus, whose near-$70,000 Ultimate edition — the car we tested — is nearly double the price of a base Genesis. Few buyers have taken the plunge: Since December 2010, when the Equus hit dealerships, just 10,228 shoppers have taken one home. Mercedes-Benz sold nearly as many S-Class sedans in the first 10 months of 2013 alone.

Still, Hyundai tries to stir interest. The Hyundai Equus gets another update for 2014 (compare it with the 2013 Equus here): minor styling changes, a revamped dashboard, and updates to the chassis and electronics. It's two steps forward and a half-step back thanks to the loss of a few luxury features that the Equus used to offer. Trim levels include the well-equipped Hyundai Equus Signature and the optioned-out Ultimate. Compare them here.

How It Drives
The 
Hyundai Equus' 429-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic make a decent combo, with short gearing around town and smooth, powerful revving that should satisfy all the onramp charging and left-lane flying you'll ever need. It doesn't pin you back in your seat like the turbo V-8s in the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and rear-wheel BMW 7 Series, as Hyundai's naturally aspirated V-8 makes a comparatively modest 376 pounds-feet of torque. But the Hyundai Equus' price is less than six cylinder versions of the BMW and Audi (stack them up here). Compared with those cars, this Hyundai is plenty speedy.

The drivetrain's mode selector offers Normal, Sport and — new this year — Snow modes. Normal elicits noticeable accelerator lag from a stop, sure to irk any lead-foot drivers. Sport cleans that up a bit, and it also calls up more immediate transmission kickdown on the highway. It changes firmness for the adaptive suspension, too, though it's more of a supple-to-normal transition than normal-to-sport. Ride comfort is impressive in Normal, with the sort of damping over bumps that evokes the previous S-Class' excellent Airmatic suspension. One editor likened the Equus to a sofa on alloy wheels. But it also loses some refinement over bumpy lane changes or cloverleaf expansion joints, as the chassis allows road imperfections to disrupt stability. Our editors agreed it's an ungainly affair when wheeled hard through a corner, even in Sport mode: precipitous body roll, soupy steering, a tail that refuses to play along. The lone upside was our tester's Continental ContiProContact tires — P245/45R19s up front and P275/40R19s in back — which hugged the road.

Interior
Cabin materials are good, but a few things from last year — leather stitching across the steering-wheel hub, for example — are gone. Real leather and wood span the top of the dashboard, and cowhide covers the overhead grab handles, too. But the 
Hyundai Equus Ultimate gets simulated gauges for 2014 that show some pixilation — an inevitable downside to most digital gauges, which we already noticed here. Hyundai toned down much of last year's silver plastic trim with a dashboard redesign that adopts classier center controls, but the door handles retain the wretched stuff. C'mon, Hyundai: Real metal is the price of entry here.

Backseat room is abundant, but larger drivers may wish the Equus had more room up front. A thick center console limits hip room, and the seats have modest adjustment range. I'm 6 feet tall, and I sat nearly all the way back.

It all goes to benefit rear-seat passengers, who have a standard power rear sunshade and heated seats with power recliners. The Equus Ultimate adds cooled rear seats with power lumbar, power-elevating head restraints and power side-window shades. But the curbside rear seat drops last year's power-deploying ottoman, backseat massager and refrigerated beverage holder — sybaritic extravagances, to be sure, but something many flagship luxury cars have. The same goes for massaging front seats, which are widely available among upper-crust luxury cars. Last year's Equus had a massaging driver's seat, but it's gone for 2014.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Also gone is last year's 8-inch dashboard screen, replaced with a 9.2-inch display; an intuitive knob controller still governs the action. The Equus Ultimate models add the simulated gauges, which span 12.3 inches. It also gets dual 9.2-inch screens behind the front seats, where passengers can catch a movie or operate aspects of the driver's turn-by-turn navigation and multimedia screens — useful when those in back know the destination address, one editor found.

One miss: The column-mounted button and indicator for the standard heated steering wheel are all but impossible to see, and a redundant gauge indicator disappears after a few seconds. Our test car's wheel stayed on the last setting it was in, which means if you return on a warmer day, you'll wonder why the wheel is hot.

Cargo & Storage
Trunk volume is 16.7 cubic feet, which is competitive with other full-size sedans. The 
Hyundai Equus lacks a folding backseat and center pass-through — features typically precluded by power rear seats.

Safety
In crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 
Hyundai Equus earned top scores in front, side, roof-strength and rear tests. It's an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but the agency has yet to subject the car to its more challenging small-overlap frontal impact test (click here for more details) — a requirement for Top Safety Pick Plus status. Blind spot, lane departure and rear cross-traffic alerts are standard.

Click here for a full list of safety features and here for our evaluation of child-safety seat provisions in our Car Seat Check.

Value in Its Class
The 
Hyundai Equus base price starts around $62,000, including destination charge — more than $10,000 less than the base Lexus LS, all-wheel-drive Audi A8 or rear-wheel-drive BMW 7 Series and some $32,000 less than the cheapest S-Class. You can buy a loaded Equus Ultimate for less than the starting price of all four competitors, which top out well north of $100,000.

Hyundai's flagship has become a bit of a question mark among our editors. Many of us, including me, give the car high marks. But brand matters at this price, and carrying a badge that makes $15,000 economy cars — with a reputation tarnished by last year's gas-mileage flap (read more about it here) — is the Equus' top liability. Shoppers ought to consider the Hyundai Equus against similar body-type cars below the Lexus and its ilk, where it thumps the competition on premium features but drives like a bigger, less-athletic rival on a long wheelbase. Does that create a winning equation for Hyundai? So far, not really.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


2014 Equus Video

From the 2013 New York International Auto Show, Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2014 Hyundai Equus.

Latest 2014 Equus Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

I stopped looking at German luxury cars

by SJK from Toronto, ON on July 5, 2018

Recently bought a low mileage 2014 Equus to replace my F01 BMW 750i. I was sick and tired of spending $5,000 - 6,000 per year in things that were breaking down in the bimmer and I went the Hyundai way... Read full review

(5.0)

Move over Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Lexus

by Marlowe S from Laurel, MD on April 4, 2018

This car's drive was impeccable and supreme and with Air Suspension. It matched it's Large Luxury Sedan competitors: Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Lexus. Quiet, Smooth, Soft Interior and all features at ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2014 Hyundai Equus currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Equus received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker