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

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.

  • Hyundai and Kia sure have come a long way.
    Reply
  • Blazer1985
    O.o it is an exact replica of a mercedes e-class. Even the interiors match completely... Or is it just me?
    Reply
  • pilsner
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • brenro12
    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.
    Reply
  • brenro12
    Actually, it's a copy of the Lexus LS 460 which is a copy of the Mercedes S Class.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    12788079 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.

    Reply