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Business

September 2, 2012

Hyundai Equus is more than a name

When you add together all the things that the Hyundai Equus has (and it has a lot), but then take away the one big thing it lacks, it’s tough to make a sensible equation from the car.

The Equus is an unabashed luxury cruiser in the old style: big, rear-wheel drive, powerful, comfortable, lined with sumptuous materials, shaped for distinction, and packed with conveniences.

And there’s nothing old style about those conveniences. The large, spacious sedan carries an eye-popping load of electronic gear and sophisticated power accessories. There’s a massage system embedded in the driver’s seat, which is heated and cooled, like other seats in the car. Equus has power shades for the back and rear side windows. It comes with lane-drift warning, smart cruise control that keeps a safe distance, rain-sensing wipers with built-in deicer, humidity sensor for automatic windshield defogging, rear-view camera, xenon headlights that turn corners, heated outside mirrors with auto-dimming and integrated puddle lamps and turn signals, built-in hands-free phone system, 17-speaker audio system, navigation guidance on an eight-inch video screen with joystick controller that also operates other cabin systems. Whew. And those are just some of the highlights. Undeniably, this sedan is loaded, even for a luxury car.

What is it lacking?

For one thing, it lacks the hefty price that normally attaches to a full-size car in the luxury class that is packed with so much gear. Hyundai – a Korea-based auto company that makes Equus in its home country, but makes other cars here – sells two versions of its flagship model. Both versions are as fully equipped as described above, with the Equus Signature model priced at $59,650.

The step up to the Equus Ultimate, at $66,650, adds such features as forward parking camera, power trunk lid, lighted make-up mirrors in the back, and a rear-seat video screen for cabin controls like climate. The back of the Equus seems as large as a private bio-dome anyway. The rear of the Ultimate is set up for two riders only, making it a four- rather than five-passenger sedan. Both Ultimate back seats are heated and cooled. Both have power recliners and power-adjustable head rests. The right side is called a “first class seat,” due to its retractile footrest and built-in back massager. Oh, and a fridge is recessed into the console between the two seats.

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