2014 Equus Review: Are You Ready For A $70,000 Hyundai?

The Infotainment System

The Equus is armed with an infotainment system that forgoes touchscreen input, instead employing a control knob mounted in the center console. A 9.2-inch LCD screen displays a tweaked version of Hyundai’s infotainment software, which is Windows CE-based. The interface looks familiar (it resembles the version we saw in the 2013 Santa Fe Sport), but Hyundai clearly added a few tweaks to better-address its target market.

That big 9.2-inch screens sports a resolution of 800x480, which we'd consider pretty much standard for 16:9 aspect ratios in the automotive world. Unfortunately, while our smartphones and tablets feature FHD and QHD panels, infotainment systems seems stuck in the early 2000s. Even still, Hyundai gives us nothing to complain about; pixel density and graphics quality are both ample from the driver's seat. Glare was never an issue during our week driving around in the Equus, either.

To be honest, I was initially excited about the infotainment system's control knob. I prefer physical input over touchscreens, after all. But as I mentioned on the third page, the knob isn't placed well. It was too far back on the center console, forcing me to bend my wrist rather than turning the knob in a more relaxed position.  

However, my biggest issue with the Equus' infotainment system is its text input function. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes all facilitate text input by mapping the alphabet in a circular fashion, corresponding to the knob. Hyundai sticks with a QWERTY layout though, which is incidentally how we can tell that the system was designed primarily with touchscreen input in mind. QWERTY is great for tapping letters when you're using the interface like a keyboard. But the same cannot be said for navigating with a control knob. It's not a pleasant experience.

Hyundai wouldn't tell us what hardware platform it's using to drive the infotainment system, but the controls are responsive. We didn't perceive any lag or stuttering during our time with the Equus. Its system does have a 64 GB SSD installed, though. Hyundai reserves half of the capacity for map and system data, but gives you access to the remaining space for music storage.

2014 Hyundai Equus: Music Features

Don't expect many bells or whistles when it comes to musical extras. The Equus supports AM/FM HD Radio, SiriusXM, USB flash drives, auxiliary input, and old fashioned optical discs. What you see on-screen reminds us Hyundai's Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, except for the radio component. Exclusive to the Equus is a more classic-looking skin that resembles an old radio. It even has the red needle overlaying the tuning frequencies. We've never seen this in a Hyundai, but it is a pretty blatant rip-off of Mercedes-Benz. Not that we blame the company; the system is more intuitive and easier to use. 

Getting your own songs to play back is as simple as browsing individual tracks or music folders, and if you have corresponding album art, that's displayed whenever a song is on. We didn't run into any compatible trouble with our Patriot Autobahn 16 GB flash drive. Of course, there's always that SSD too, right? You can copy up to 30 GB of content to the drive through USB.

2014 Hyundai Equus: Navigation

The Equus' navigation software looks like what we've seen in other Hyundai and Kia cars. Maps look alright, though they're flat compared to the 3D maps with elevation data available elsewhere. Nevertheless, you get a ton of destination search options, along with integrated traffic data. Fancy this platform is not, and it doesn't stand up to more refined solutions like Audi's MMI. But you'll find it easy to use and free of glaring faults.

Phone connectivity is fairly standard. I hooked in with our reference Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Cyanogenmod 10 and my personal HTC One running Cyanogenmod 11. Functionality includes hands-free calling, phonebook transfers, and a record of call history. There weren't any call quality issues to speak of from either test phone, either.

Not surprisingly, the Equus supports Hyundai Blue Link telematics functionality, which facilitates access to the Equus though an integrated 3G cellular modem. We covered Hyundai Blue Link extensively in 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track: Telematics And Infotainment; the features remain the same.

Overall, I find the Equus' infotainment system easy to use. There are some shortcomings compared to other luxury-oriented vehicles. For instance, a lack of support for Internet radio apps like Pandora is disappointing. Incidentally, Lexus' LS460, which Hyundai is targeting, does give you Pandora, along with other apps. But the Equus' features work well enough for a satisfactory experience.

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54 comments
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  • Anonymous
    Hyundai and Kia sure have come a long way.
    3
  • Blazer1985
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    4
  • pilsner
    Quote:
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    Yes, they took a lot of styling cues from Mercedes. The front grille, headlights and rear lights are quite similar to the E class Mercs. The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures on the first page of this article was "that looks like a Mercedes copy". Surely not coincidental - other Hyundai models look like 1-series or 3-series BMW. I do not think it is bad to take cues from successful design, it should just not be so obvious that it becomes the first thing people notice when they look at your car.
    6
  • tuanies
    All vehicle styling is derivative nowadays. However, the Equus is a pretty good Mercedes replica. But they are still new to the luxury class so they're banking on familiarity instead of trying to stand out for the people who want bargain luxury but still want people to ask if its a Mercedes Benz.
    2
  • 10tacle
    Hyundai with this car is where Lexus and Infiniti were in the late 1980s: going after BMW and Mercedes flagships (7-series, S-class respectively). However, the difference is that Lexus and Infiniti are strictly a luxury car brand off their parent companies. This car is, well, still a Hyundai. It has a certain class stigma to it. If I had $70k to spend on a luxury ride, I'd rather buy a two year old off-lease certified car by Mercedes, BMW, or Audi over this thing brand new. Any day of the week. If Hyundai wanted to go after the top dogs, they should have spun off their own Luxury brand to shed the image of an economy-class Korean label. Besides, it remains to be seen how well these latest Korean cars that have come out looking pretty good over the last two or three years or so hold up long term. I wouldn't bet on them for a long term keeper.
    6
  • brenro12
    Quote:
    Quote:
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    Yes, they took a lot of styling cues from Mercedes. The front grille, headlights and rear lights are quite similar to the E class Mercs. The first thing I thought when I saw the pictures on the first page of this article was "that looks like a Mercedes copy". Surely not coincidental - other Hyundai models look like 1-series or 3-series BMW. I do not think it is bad to take cues from successful design, it should just not be so obvious that it becomes the first thing people notice when they look at your car.
    1
  • brenro12
    Actually, it's a copy of the Lexus LS 460 which is a copy of the Mercedes S Class.
    2
  • BhimaJ
    My Hyundai Elantra is a solid car. Having said that, if I had $70k to drop on a vehicle, it has to be something really special, something that represents the best of what we can engineer today in that class and a nod to inspire the future. Honestly there really isn't another luxury car in this price class that competes with the Tesla S. It is simply a technologically superior car to any of the others on the market in its class.
    4
  • JoBales
    Strange how when perceived low-cost company Volkswagen tried to release the high-end, technologically sophisticated VW Phaeton in the U.S. a while back, it didn't sell enough to continue the model here. But Hyundai sells the Equus and it seems to be the sweetheart of the car mags and blogs. Truthfully, I'd take the VW before the Hyundai. Of course, VW did start selling higher end products like the Toureg now. Maybe if they'd done this before offering the Phaeton the marketplace might have accepted it easier. Of course, the problem there is that when you get into the 70k-100k field that Phaeton was in, you are in competition with VW's Audi luxury division which, considering the two, would be a no-brainer.
    1
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    Strange how when perceived low-cost company Volkswagen tried to release the high-end, technologically sophisticated VW Phaeton in the U.S. a while back, it didn't sell enough to continue the model here. But Hyundai sells the Equus and it seems to be the sweetheart of the car mags and blogs. Truthfully, I'd take the VW before the Hyundai. Of course, VW did start selling higher end products like the Toureg now. Maybe if they'd done this before offering the Phaeton the marketplace might have accepted it easier. Of course, the problem there is that when you get into the 70k-100k field that Phaeton was in, you are in competition with VW's Audi luxury division which, considering the two, would be a no-brainer.


    That was their problem, they competed with themselves. The Phaeton wasn't much cheaper than the A8. The Equus is significantly cheaper than a comparable LS460 and on the LS you can't have adaptive cruise control with the executive rear seating in the same package.

    The Phaeton is an awesome car though.
    -1
  • pilsner
    Quote:
    The Phaeton is an awesome car though.
    Yes, the only real problem that car ever had is the Volkswagen name. Otherwise it is an awesome luxury car, right up there with Mercedes S class etc., even surpassing them in some regards back when the Phaeton was new on the market. Good thing is that because of that flaw, it is a real bargain as a used car. Well, until the car needs a repair, that is. The youtube videos of the "Glaeserne Manufaktur" are awesome to watch.
    0
  • Terry Perry
    Except all cars after 3-4 years lose half their value in 4 years this car will be worth 40,000 $ if the millage isn't to high. Where a 20,000 will only lose 10,000 $ that is why it's stupid because you also have to take into the High Insurance you will pay on 70,000 $ car. Why I Don't do Porsche anymore lose to much money. My neighbor bought a 90,000 $ Porsche and in 3 years with 40,000 miles he could only get 60,000 $ He has 3 tickets in one year so it had to go.
    0
  • JWHardy
    The Equus has a TEN-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty (not seven-year).
    0
  • falchard
    Definitely the best technology package for the vehicles you have reviewed thus far. Also I am pretty sure its the British who started using the control knob first, not the Germans.I don't see how this article was more than 3 pages for a tech site. I don't think anyone here cares about the case design as long as the internal components are good.
    1
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    Definitely the best technology package for the vehicles you have reviewed thus far. Also I am pretty sure its the British who started using the control knob first, not the Germans.I don't see how this article was more than 3 pages for a tech site. I don't think anyone here cares about the case design as long as the internal components are good.


    I believe iDrive may have been first. I don't know of any British Car that uses a control knob for the navi.
    0
  • palladin9479
    Haha the Equus line is fairly population out here, and it's been around for a while. The two cars domestic cars that scream "I'm rich" are the Equus and Chairman. This is just them trying to bring them to the US that's all.
    0
  • Lutfij
    From almost every angle I see this car, it always reminds me of the Toyota Crown from its elegant exterior all the way to flushed angular designs.I still chalk this up as a really good production from a company like Hyundai.
    0
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    Haha the Equus line is fairly population out here, and it's been around for a while. The two cars domestic cars that scream "I'm rich" are the Equus and Chairman. This is just them trying to bring them to the US that's all.


    Yea, it took them long enough to bring the Equus over here. I believe the KDM Equus still has the 4 seat configuration with fridge in the back? The Chairman is an interesting car with its Mercedes powertrain. But, how do you say SsangYong? Is it just pronounced as it would without the extra S at the beginning?

    Anonymous said:
    From almost every angle I see this car, it always reminds me of the Toyota Crown from its elegant exterior all the way to flushed angular designs.I still chalk this up as a really good production from a company like Hyundai.


    Ah the Toyota Crown. I love the 80s and 90s version so much.
    1
  • tuanies
    Anonymous said:
    The Equus has a TEN-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty (not seven-year).


    Fixed, thanks for pointing that out.
    0
  • Lutfij
    I think the Crown's are what set Toyota apart besides their Lexus' in the Luxury Division.
    1