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Hyundai Equus

The nicest, priciest, largest Korean car ever.

The Hyundai Equus targets the Mercedes-Benz S550 and the Lexus LS460. Hyundai’s luxury boat, launched for 2011, is going after some of the biggest, swankiest, priciest sedans in the land. The rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered Equus is based on the same bones as the Genesis, which is a size smaller and some $15,000 less expensive. All that cash here buys standard features such as navigation, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, electronically controlled air springs, swiveling HID head-lamps, a rearview camera, a seventeen-speaker stereo, a massaging driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery, a sunroof, lane-departure warning, and smart cruise control (phew!). Stepping up to the four-passenger Ultimate brings ventilated, massaging, and reclining rear seats with footrests; a DVD entertainment system; and a fridge for the rear quarters. The Equus doesn’t come close to matching the driving dynamics — or the prestige and styling — of its German rivals, but it’s thousands of dollars cheaper and offers a luxurious driving experience and a better warranty. All-wheel drive is absent, a shame given the Hyundai’s recent injection of horsepower. Subjectively, the Equus doesn’t feel quite up to spec with the usual suspects from Germany, but it compares favorably with the Lexus LS and easily overshadows the hoary Acura RL.

COMPETITORS

Acura RL

Audi A8

Lexus LS460

Mercedes-Benz S-class

nnew for 2013

Not much, partly because the car got a new engine and transmission for 2012. Shoppers for the 2013 season will find two new paint colors — white satin (paired with saddle upholstery) and gran premio gray (which replaces a hue called granite gray).

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, side curtain, and a driver’s knee air bag; ABS; traction and stability control with a radar-based precollision warning system; lane-departure warning; electronic brake-force distribution; and tire-pressure monitors are standard.

MPG

CITY 155

HWY 23

PRO

Many fancy features

Mega-luxury at a big discount

Plenty of power

CON

Peculiar styling

Not nearly as prestigious as established competitors

Base Price Range: $60,150–$67,150

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Signature, Ultimate

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4- or 5-passenger

ENGINE: 5.0L V-8, 429 hp, 376 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 109.3 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 16.7 cu ft

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