Standard Equipment: A Load Of Driver Aids
Hyundai equips its Equus with a number of standard driver assistance features, including a blind spot monitor, a lane departure warning system, and adaptive cruise control.
The company's blind spot detection (BSD) capability relies on ultrasonic sensors to detect cars hidden from view. When you drive past another vehicle, a BSD indicator in the side mirror lights up once. The same notification shows up in the heads-up display, too. Otherwise, BSD works just as we've described it many times before, and the additional notification in the HUD ensures that you won't inadvertently miss an update.
Hyundai tasks the sensors used for BSD with its rear cross-traffic alert system, too. Imagine backing out of a parking space in a busy lot with a big SUV on either side of you. The only way to get out is start inching back slowly, hoping whoever might be coming is paying attention. This feature helps by giving you a heads-up if another car (or pedestrian) is approaching, typically before you'd be able to see it from the front seat. Because the Equus already has a 360-degree camera, its cross-traffic alert capability isn't as useful as it might be on a less technologically advanced vehicle. But every little bit of safety-enhancing functionality helps, so we're not going to knock it.
A lane departure warning system (LDWS) comes standard on the Equus as well. It relies on a camera mounted above the rear-view mirror to determine when you're drifting out of your lane. The system is only active at speeds above 43 MPH, and I like that it's not too sensitive. When it does goes off, the feature isn't overly annoying. You get a flashing notification in the gauge cluster, another indicator on the HUD, a chime, and haptic feedback through the seat belt to capture your attention in case you're dozing off. During our week with the Equus, we only managed to intentionally trigger the LDWS once. It's not something that should come in useful often. But we've driven drowsy enough times to know that it can save lives.
A sensor in the lower grille drives the adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop-and-go functionality. Hyundai calls this Smart Cruise Control. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love adaptive systems able to completely stop the car for you. They make gridlock so much more tolerable. You do have to hit resume if the car stops for more than a couple of seconds, but that's still better than trying to modulate acceleration and braking yourself.
I did notice an issue with Hyundai's adaptive cruise, which also manifests itself on Kias as well. The system locks onto the car in front of you, adjusting speed accordingly. If that car changes lanes, adaptive cruise takes a few seconds to realize it. When you're stuck in traffic anyway, that's not really a big deal. But if the car in front of you slows way down to turn, say, the system will nearly stop the car. I noticed the effect most on a 45 MPH highway in the city with suicide lanes. It's a great way to get yourself honked at.
Although it comes equipped with the basic hardware, Hyundai doesn't equip the Equus with a forward collision warning system. That technology typically leverages the lane departure warning system's camera. However, it requires additional processing to monitor for impending impacts. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi offer this functionality on most of their models, and if Hyundai wants to throw down with the big boys, it should have the technology as well.
On the bright side, Hyundai's driver assistance features come standard on the Equus. They're not option packages you pay more for. Conversely, Lexus and the German trio will happily add them onto your tab.
360-Degree Backup Camera
As we've mentioned, Hyundai employs a 360-degree backup camera that stitches together a top-down view of the car using four cameras placed around the Equus. We had our first experience with a 360-degree view in 2013 Infiniti JX35: Getting Us One Step Closer To A Driverless Car, and we loved it. The Equus' system employs decent-quality sensors, so the output is fairly high-quality. Hyundai shows the front or rear view by default, and lets you select the display you want beside it. The options are: front, left-rear quarter, right-rear quarter, and, our favorite, a top view of the car.
This is a feature that every luxury vehicle should include. Fortunately for Hyundai, the Lexus LS460 only comes with a backup camera as standard equipment. Kudos to Hyundai for taking a big step beyond its primary competition.