Hyundai Equus - New for 2011 - Very nice!

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Here is where you can read about it: Link
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We hang a right and head west onto the 10 freeway in Santa Monica toward the beach. The on-ramp is downhill, two lanes wide and drag-strip straight. Suddenly I'm pinned to the large leather seat as the 2011 Hyundai Equus downshifts from 6th gear to 2nd and its 368-horsepower 4.6-liter Lambda V8 yanks the big sedan toward the Pacific. I look at the tach. Its needle is sweeping quickly through its arc as a muted V8 rumble chases us from behind. At 6,500 rpm, the transmission delivers a quick but smooth upshift just as we reach the traffic lanes of Interstate 10. "Is that floored?" I ask, one eye still on the dials. "That's floored," says John Krafcik. He should know — he's driving. The left seat of the Equus is still off-limits to American journalists. But Krafcik is more than just our chauffeur; he's the president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, and the man basking in the glow of the company's recent success. He's also the guy who's going to sell the Equus in the United States, taking Hyundai north of the $50,000 barrier for the first time. On Sale in a Year With John's right foot still buried in the thick carpet of the Equus, the sedan delivers another smooth shift at redline. I check the speedometer; it's reading about 140 and climbing. Can't be, I think to myself. The car feels quick, but not that quick. I clutch the door panel while my brain tries to catch up. Then I realize the speedometer is in kilometers per hour, so I start doing math. Krafcik keeps his foot down and his mouth moving. "The car is still about a year away," he says, talking about the possible timetable for the introduction of the Korean-built luxury sedan in the U.S. "And we'll most likely sell it here as the Equus." Equus is Latin for "horse," and the car's entry into the U.S. market has been the worst kept secret since Henry Ford leaked word about the flathead V8 back in 1931. We're told the official official announcement of the car's sales future in the U.S. will come in mid-August. At 160 km/h, Krafcik finally backs off. That's about 100 mph, and from the passenger seat I'm impressed with the ride and stability of the Equus. It's a bit firmer than I thought it would be. It's not quite as tied down as a Hyundai Genesis, but it's not the floaty Korean-market limo I was expecting. You definitely feel the road, although there's a little less rebound control than there should be. Traffic is light as we reach the short tunnel that marks the transition from the I-10 west to the northbound Pacific Coast Highway. We enter the darkness and then quickly burst into the noontime California sunshine again. I ask about the suspension tuning. "It's not quite really ready yet," says Krafcik. "Right now our engineering team is on a cross-country drive with an Equus, an S-Class, a 7 Series and a Lexus LS. We're there with the interior, but they are fine-tuning the ride and handling. Make no mistake, our targets are those three cars and our ride and handling will be more in the direction of the LS 460 L." Ballsy. The strategy, not the driving. Hyundai has decided to take on three of the best sedans in the world. Priced Right Still northbound on PCH, we're cruising within the 50-mph speed limit and past the Malibu beachfront homes of Hollywood's super-rich. This is S-Class and 7 Series country, and Krafcik knows it. All around us are the people he must convince to buy a Hyundai instead of a Benz, Bimmer or Lexus. It'll be tough, and Krafcik hedges his bet. "Our goal with the Equus isn't volume," he says while passing a black Mercedes-Benz S550 on the right. "It's image. We want to show the world we can make the finest sedans in the world." He's right about one thing, because the interior of this Equus is up to the challenge. The fit and finish is exceptional. The leather is soft. The seat is cush and comfortable, if a little flat, and the headliner is an acre of Alcantara suede, just like you get in an S65 AMG. There's even French stitching on the leather-wrapped dash. The metallic trim on the center stack and console is plastic and not real aluminum, though. It looks good, but should be the real thing. No, it's not quite as nice inside the Equus as in the interiors of the luxury sedans it has targeted in the marketplace, but it's close, and the Equus should undercut those sedans by $20,000 or more. Krafcik won't get specific on price, but says enough for us to guess that the 2011 Hyundai Equus will start at $48,000 and top out at about $58,000. "Our challenge is to make sure it doesn't become the next VW Phaeton," Krafcik notes. Keeping the price under $60,000 seems to be a key to achieving that goal. "There will be two packages," he continues. "A base car and one with all the backseat stuff." That "stuff" includes a reclining rear seat, fold-out tables, and radio and climate controls built into the rear armrest. The Lexus LS 460L offers a similar package, although it's really only for those who would rather be driven than drive themselves. Wider Than S-Class Stopped at a red light, I take the opportunity to look around a bit more. The odometer reads 1,792 km (a little over 1,100 miles). The A-pillars are carved carefully to permit a panoramic view ahead. There are heated and cooled front seats with three-level temperature adjustment. There's a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, wood on portions of the steering wheel rim and an elegant clock on the center stack. I can't hear the engine, which is idling at 600 rpm. The window switches, shifter, iDrive-like interface controller and navigation system are all plucked right from the Hyundai Genesis. The gauges are similar to the ones in the Genesis, as is the four-spoke steering wheel. And there's a "Sport" button just to the right of the shifter. I also notice that the car feels spacious. Nice and wide, which it is. In fact at 74.8 inches wide, the Equus is the same width as a BMW 7 Series and a full inch wider than the Lexus LS and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The light turns green. Krafcik accelerates away, only part throttle this time. And the Equus moves off like an upscale luxury sedan powered by a V8 should — with authority. Upshifts from the six-speed automatic are nearly imperceptible and the V8's flat torque curve gets the Equus back up to 50 mph well ahead of Malibu's afternoon traffic of surfers. We're not surprised. The Equus features the same powertrain we've praised in the Genesis, and it feels just as good in this larger package. What is surprising is that the larger Equus weighs only 200 pounds more than a Genesis, which makes it easy to calculate some educated guesses about its acceleration times. The 2009 Hyundai Genesis V8 we last tested hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5.9 seconds (5.7 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and finished the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 101 mph. After some 'rithmetic on our part, we expect the Equus to hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds (5.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and cover the quarter-mile in 14.3 seconds at 99 mph. Not slow, yet certainly slower than an S550, a 750i or an LS 460. Also from the Genesis are the rack-and-pinion steering with old-school hydraulic assist (still our preference over electric-assist systems) and four-wheel disc brakes. The Equus also has air suspension, although only Genesis sedans sold in Korea are equipped with this feature. Looks Like a Lexus Just past the Malibu Country Mart (made famous by TMZ), a guy in a Porsche 911 Turbo pulls alongside us. He's checking out the car. Our car — the Hyundai. And he's not the only one. Since we hit Malibu, there's been no missing the ability of the Equus to make people look. Even the tourists in their rented Grabber-Blue Mustangs know this Hyundai is something special. It may be a dead ringer for a Lexus LS from the rear, but the Equus certainly has enough street presence for valets to keep it up front. "The two character lines in the side are from the California studio," says Krafcik. "In fact, there's more U.S. influence in the design of the Equus than the Genesis." There's certainly enough chrome on its flanks to back up that statement. And it looks larger than it is. At 203.1 inches long, the Equus is just a fraction of an inch longer than a Lexus LS 460 L and nearly 2 inches shorter than a Mercedes S-Class. Meanwhile, its 119.9-inch wheelbase falls between the dimensions of the long-wheelbase LS and the short version. Even the short-wheelbase 7 Series has an inch-longer wheelbase than the Equus. Full Speed Ahead Once we reach Pepperdine University, we flip around and head south toward Santa Monica again. It's now that I realize how quiet the Hyundai's interior is. At 100 km/h (about 60 mph) over the smooth asphalt that is PCH, all I hear is some tire slap from the 18-inch Hankooks. Time to ask about that Sport button. "It's for the suspension," says Krafcik. "Push it, see what happens." I do, and suddenly the Equus is the floaty Korean-market limo I was expecting. "Wow, big difference," I say, pushing the button again and getting the air suspension back into Sport mode. "Don't go there." Krafcik first came to Hyundai Motor America in 2004 as the company's vice president of product development and strategic planning, and his home garage is stuffed full with a Porsche 911 C2S (997) and a Caterham 7, so I know he knows what I mean. And at that moment Krafcik nails the throttle and redlines a couple of gears. "Feels good, huh?" he asks. Yeah, he knows.
 

JHZR2

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It's a hyundai, period. Being over $50k makes it a stupid proposition, IMO. The genesis maybe can pull it (not my cup of tea), but the higher dollars you go, the fewer folks will be willing to go to a hyundai vs a more substantial nameplate.
 

StevieC

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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
It's a hyundai, period. Being over $50k makes it a stupid proposition, IMO. The genesis maybe can pull it (not my cup of tea), but the higher dollars you go, the fewer folks will be willing to go to a hyundai vs a more substantial nameplate.
I would rather a $50K Hyundai than one from any of the Big-3!
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
I would rather a $50K Hyundai than one from any of the Big-3!
I don't think he had the big 3 in mind.
 
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Looks impressive, but I still think they should have spun off a luxury branch for the Genesis and this car. I'd be concerned with Hyundai's reputation for quick depreciation.
 

StevieC

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OK then I add anything German to that list as well. (Yes I have driven some of the most expensive German cars out there) I would however be hard pressed not to take a Lexus, but I would have to drive both the Lexus and this Hyundai first. The build quality and the attention to detail and just the general thought that went into my Santa Fe is enough to believe in this brand and erase the 80's recyclable car reputation. ;\) To me a name is a mere label, and the contents of the jar can change and they have. Look past the label and see whats in the jar now for it might surprise you! Also I should point out something posted in the article above: "Our goal with the Equus isn't volume," he says while passing a black Mercedes-Benz S550 on the right. "It's image. We want to show the world we can make the finest sedans in the world."
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
It's a hyundai, period. Being over $50k makes it a stupid proposition, IMO. The genesis maybe can pull it (not my cup of tea), but the higher dollars you go, the fewer folks will be willing to go to a hyundai vs a more substantial nameplate.
I would rather a $50K Hyundai than one from any of the Big-3!
From the Big 3, I would rather an EcoBoost MKS, 300C SRT8 or CTS-V over this car. I would also take just about any comparable Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Acura over this car. Like the Genesis, the styling of this car appears to be an amalgam of styling cues from a bunch of different automakers with the end result being the most anonymous (and bland) $50K car in existence. Hyundai has gotten better at the art of mimicry, but they still have a ways to go before perfecting it, and longer still before they achieve originality/innovation.
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
To me a name is a mere label, and the contents of the jar can change and they have. Look past the label and see whats in the jar now for it might surprise you!
Not sure about other Hyundais, but the jar called "Genesis" I saw at a recent auto show did not impress me. Materials quality was rather low. I'm really picky about interior quality/design since that's where I spend most of my time. Many of the German makes are above Hyundai in that respect and I'd rather get one of those, even if it means I have to get one slightly used. Hyundai has definitely been improving over the years though, no doubt about that.
 

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I will give you that Hyundai isn't quite there yet with the interiors compared to the Germans & Japanese, but they are far from the "Garbage" that people think they are. (Not saying you do). I also could care little about the interior and more about the reliability and longevity of the vehicle which is my concern. While the interior needs to be likeable and functional, nice stitching on the dash or seats doesn't do it for me. I mean we are buying a car for transportation purposes not a fine leather couch which also happens to drive! (We need to get back to basics as consumers, but this is a whole other topic best left for another thread!) Not having to replace major drive-line components like engines/transmissions is what counts for me because I like to buy new and drive the absolute most amount of miles possible out of it through proper care & maintenance. This saves a ton of money than constantly trading in or buying new cars every time the car is paid off. My Santa Fe and my moms Kia are proving that our switch from "Domestic" brands to Korean brands has been a smart move. The money we have saved from not having to replace stupid little things or from trying to cure a constant CEL and the ease of maintenance is quite a nice change from the Khrap we were used to with "Domestic" vehicles. 200K KM (120K Miles) and 0 trips to the dealer under the 100K warranty, and only 1 oxygen sensor out of 4 replaced after the warranty says a lot about quality build/design to me... My car is an '06 so what are they building now??? ;\) My engine doesn't consume or leak any oil, which can't be said for some Hondas and "Domestics" at this same mileage. But lets put this all aside and be snobs and judge them for where they came from and not what they have achieved. Lets hold this against them forever and discard them as possibly being different and what consumers want and a brand consumers can have confidence in, lets continue to drive status symbols because they bare names like BMW or Lexus and have fancy stitching on seats/dashboards. This is what is wrong with North America!
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
But lets put this all aside and be snobs and judge them for where they came from and not what they have achieved.
Just because someone values a car for something other than reliability makes him a snob? Equus is supposed to be a premium LUXURY car, so there needs to be more to it than just reliability.
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Lets hold this against them forever and discard them as possibly being different and what consumers want and a brand consumers can have confidence in, lets continue to drive status symbols because they bare names like BMW or Lexus and have fancy stitching on seats/dashboards.
You're taking it way too personal, probably because you drive one. Honestly, I have nothing against Hyundai. Different strokes for different folks. Certainly Hyundai has to move up with their image. It's a natural progression. They can't stay at the "low cost" cookie cutter end of the spectrum because pretty soon Chinese will dominate that area and Hyundai will lose out on price. So they have to build their brand/image to differentiate. But I think we've had this discussion before...
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This is what is wrong with North America!
LOL. You ask us to look in the jar, but get all jiggy if we find it in something different than what you want us to. Again, we're talking about a premium luxury product here. People don't buy those to be a work horse, to rack up hundreds of thousands of miles with only reliability in mind. They buy them because they want to be pampered, show off, display status. Call them snobs, but those snobs are the ones with money and will eventually vote with it. If Hyundai is jumping on MB/Lexus territory, then they have to be fully aware of customer wants. Again, I'm sure they know, and if they keep at it, they will eventually get there.
 

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QP I wasn't pointing the finger at you... I just went off on a point and vented a bit about peoples general perception and judgmental-ness of this brand. Sorry if it seemed any other way. As for the "Snobs" bit. I hear what you are saying... Rich or poor. We need to look at a vehicle as a tool that transports us from where we are now to where we want to go and forget what name it bares so long as it gets the job done. Does stitching or interior materials really make a difference on you getting to your destination or in the grand scheme of things? No it doesn't so why does it then become a "Necessity"? This is just stupid IMO. Whether you have the money or not why do you need more than a comfortable, reliable vehicle. Why does a whole heard of animals have to die for a finely wrapped seat/steering wheel when Pleather will work just fine and still get the job done?
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
QP I wasn't pointing the finger at you... I just went off on a point and vented a bit about peoples general perception and judgmental-ness of this brand. Sorry if it seemed any other way.
Understood, but since I previously replied in this thread (and since I drive a BMW which automatically makes me a snob in the eyes of some people ), I felt somewhat obligated to respond.
 

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You could trade it in for a Hyundai Equus in 2 years and I will drop the title! J/K... If you drive BMW because you like BMW then fine, but to drive it as a status symbol to flaunt that you have one or because the materials in the interior are of "finer quality" or of a tighter fit/finish is just silly IMO and I would hope that you aren't of that nature. To me someone who would drive a BMW or some other higher end brand of car for something so trivial just shows me that priorities might not be in order for that person. It's about primary functions and not details... Details don't affect primary function and thus should be of little importance. But like everything else in N.A. it's all about the Jones' and the details and not about what counts... Primary function! ;\)
 
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Honda had Acura in the mid 80's, few years later Toyota started Lexus and Nissan started Infinity. Why they have Luxury dealers ? Because nobody wants to pay luxury price for a nameplate associated with low end cars. If you go to a luxury car dealer, you will be treated respectfully from buying to servicing. That is one of the reasons the one with deep pocket want to spend their money.
 

StevieC

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Now here is someone that has his priorities in order:
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Canadian billionaire is tenured computer science professor at Stanford. Some profs write books, this one mints companies. Cofounded Granite Systems (sold to Cisco for $220 million) and Kealia (sold to Sun for $90 million) with Andy Bechtolsheim (see). Helped Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page fund Google. Proud to be frugal: drives a VW van and a Honda. Gave $25 million to the University of Waterloo's computer school. Estimates every laptop has half a million bugs in it. Determined to exterminate all of them.
http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/99/biz_08midas_David-Cheriton_LD0O.html
 

StevieC

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 Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
Honda had Acura in the mid 80's, few years later Toyota started Lexus and Nissan started Infinity. Why they have Luxury dealers ? Because nobody wants to pay luxury price for a nameplate associated with low end cars. If you go to a luxury car dealer, you will be treated respectfully from buying to servicing. That is one of the reasons the one with deep pocket want to spend their money.
Hyundai has all that at there dealerships, at least mine did when I bought my Santa Fe. As for the name.. This is the snob part again... It's all about status symbol. If I had boatloads of cash I would probably buy a Genesis or the Equus. 1, to be different than all the other higher end models. 2, because it would save me some money. and 3, because I know they would put the build quality into it and it would be pretty much a trouble-free experience unlike Caddy/BMW/Mercedes issues I have heard of and have seen with my own eyes because they figure the customer has "Money" to fix it. ;\)
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
To me someone who would drive a BMW or some other higher end brand of car for something so trivial just shows me that priorities might not be in order for that person. It's about primary functions and not details... Details don't affect primary function and thus should be of little importance.
You're taking the practicality/appliance route. That is OK, but again, that is not the only reason people buy cars. Otherwise, we'd all be driving Elantras/Civics/Corollas. Something like Equus would never sell. Personally, I don't drive the car for work (I work from home), so its primary function of a people mover from A to B is of little interest to me. I drive for pleasure. And if I find pleasure in operating finely engineered, well crafted vehicle, who's to say it's wrong? The luxury category has little to do with people's needs. It has to do with their wants. The Hyundai you drive is targeted at a much different market segment than Equus. Practicality is probably not its primary function.
 

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For you to drive it because you get pleasure out of it is fine because that makes it "Hobby" like. I have a problem with wealthy people who drive it just to show off and to brag about fine leather stitching etc. WHO CARES, my S/B Neon still goes from A to B like your $60K leather couch on wheels does even if it has a CEL, shakes a bit while idling and the paint is peeling. I hear what you are saying about the class... What I'm saying is that we need to drive what we need and not what we think looks best in the driveway because it makes the neighbors look. If we did then you are right we would all be in Elantras, Civics and Corrolas but I can never see this happening in a Consumer driven economy that focuses on glutinous/greed/wants rather than neccsities/basic needs.
 
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