by Mary Chapman
Sacrificing vanity for the sake of due praise, I hereby concede that I recall, as a cub reporter, having to explain to UPI broadcast clients how to pronounce the name of that new manufacturer, Hyundai (“like Sunday”).
My how the years have flown, and how far Hyundai has come, since those green, uncertain days when the block’s new kid was a novelty, at best. Steadily, the manufacturer worked on quality and styling, to the point where it can, with a straight face, serve up a car that costs nearly twice as much as many folks make in a year.
But the 2014 Equus IS really nice. Introduced in 2011, Hyundai’s new version of premium luxury gets a moderate interior and exterior spiffing, plus more standard bells and safety stuff. Outside-wise, the metal is less fussy, more classic. The car’s a looker, neither boring nor too edgy. Equus got a new front bumper and grille and lost some chrome bling, as did the rear bumper. Nineteen-inch alum wheels supplant chrome ones.
Inside, the car has a new dash and center stack and other, brighter touches. Even the steering wheel got a do-over. And, a leather gear shift replaces plastic parts. The dual-zone-only climate control system now covers a trio of atmospheres. what’s more, the cluster display is bigger, to go with a 9.2-inch center display. Two rear-seat entertainment screens sub out last year’s single unit. A multi-view parking camera now comes standard. Helpful, since Equus isn’t exactly petite. And, power-closing doors are new, too. Joining the Signature, the Ultimate version now comfortably seats five. That back seat is gi-normous. The sound system, which complements a protracted roster of standards, is baad (read: good).
The rear-drive Equus, which keeps its big ol’ five-liter V-8, drives pretty much how one would expect a car of this value would, putting out 429 muscular horses and 376 pound-feet of torque. The eight-speed tranny with manual shift mode is pretty darned seamless. A snow mode’s been added. Thr ride is wondrously peaceful and quiet – until you really pressure the pedal. Then, the engine responds with a pleasing growl.
Handling is nicely calibrated. The car’s air suspension was tweaked for the better. Would that an all-wheel version were offered, though. Particularly for oft-inclement climes like Michigan’s.
Rivaling the likes of the Cadillac XTS, the Equus also has loads of safety stuff, including a Smart Control System that can completely stop the car, lane-departure warning, a host of airbags and new for this year, pre-crash warning, blind-spot detection and rear-cross traffic alert. Ultimate models get a head-up display system.
The Equus, which gets 15 mpg in the city and 23 highway, MSRP’s at $61,250 for the Signature, $68,500, Ultimate. For all the roominess and list of standards, that’s a modest price to pay.
Hyundai’s come a long way, indeed.