Hyundai Equus takes on the Germans

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor

(Fortune Magazine) -- My time in the 2011 Hyundai Equus that I tested in Korea was divided as follows: two minutes in the driver's seat guiding the car up and down a flat, parking-lot-like surface at Hyundai's R&D Center outside Seoul, and three days sitting in the right rear passenger seat being chauffeured around the city by a skilled Hyundai company driver.

The Equus performed superbly in both roles. It rides quietly and powerfully, just the way a modern luxury car should -- much like the Lexus LS 460 that was Hyundai's benchmark vehicle.

The view from the back seat was enhanced by the careful craftsmanship demonstrated by leather seat coverings and wood veneers, as well as comfort features like heated and cooled seats, and the massage rollers that work over your back. Unfortunately, I saw no friends on the sidewalks of Seoul, so there was nobody to admire my upscale conveyance.

Up front the view was even better when I was in command. The controls on the Equus are clearly marked, the 368-hp V-8 engine responsive without being intrusive, and the performance alert. As the old Rolls-Royce ads used to say, the amount of power is "sufficient" to accelerate the Equus to 60 miles per hour in a little more than six seconds. That isn't drag-strip speed, but it's close enough for everyday driving.

Hyundai says the Equus will cost more than a Genesis and less than a $65,000 Lexus LS 460. As a value proposition that is compelling, since the car is functionally equivalent to established luxury sedans selling for many thousands more. A big difference is that they get a hefty premium for their hood ornaments, while Hyundai receives much less for the stylized "H" riding over the grille.

As acceptance of the Hyundai brand grows, that is likely to change. Until then, the Equus will feel more at home as a car to drive rather than one to be driven in. That's okay with me. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Company Price Change % Change
Yahoo! Inc 40.93 -1.16 -2.74%
Microsoft Corp 47.52 0.84 1.80%
Bank of America Corp... 16.95 -0.09 -0.53%
Oracle Corp 39.80 -1.75 -4.21%
Facebook Inc 77.91 0.91 1.18%
Data as of Sep 19
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,279.74 13.75 0.08%
Nasdaq 4,579.79 -13.64 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
Treasuries 2.59 -0.04 -1.60%
Data as of 4:24am ET


The automaker is recalling Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impalas because of a problem with the electronic parking brake arm. More

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given more money than many western nations. More

It's really good to be Larry Ellison. The Oracle founder is stepping down as CEO, so maybe he'll have more time to enjoy his glamorous life. More

As Occupy Wall Street goes on its debt-abolishing tear, thousands of people across the country are begging them to forgive their loans. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.