Hyundai has announced pricing on the 2011 Equus flagship sedan, which I’m heading to Miami to drive later this week. The base model Equus (which is a contradiction in terms) starts at $58,000, while the even higher level of trim Equus Ultimate starts at $64,500. You get a lot of content for the price, and Hyundai has done a significant amount of research before taking on the Germans and the Japanese at their own game. As Straightline points out, the Equus is some $7k less expensive than a comparable Lexus LS 460, roughly $10k less than a BMW 740i and nearly $30k less than a Mercedes S550.
That’s some stiff competition, and Hyundai is keenly aware that they have one shot at a proper Equus launch in the United States. Learning from VW’s mistakes with the Phaeton, Hyundai will offer at-home shopping for the Equus (called “Your Time, Your Place”) and valet service pickup (called “At Your Service”) for Equus buyers. Despite the absence of a premium brand identity, Hyundai is confident that the quality and features of the new Equus will draw in premium luxury buyers.
What do you get for your money? Aside from the expected trappings of a contemporary luxury sedan, the base Equus gives buyers an air suspension, an Alcantara headliner, massaging driver’s seat, leather-wrapped dash, Apple iPad with owners manual, 17 speaker Lexicon 7.1 Discrete sound system, air quality monitoring, windshield de-icer, and acoustic laminated glass. Step up to the Equus Ultimate, and you get reclining and massaging rear seats, cooled rear seats, rear seat entertainment system, rear center console refrigerator (to keep your caviar chilled, no doubt) and rear seat vanity mirrors. In other words, the Equus Ultimate is the model you want if someone else does your driving for you.
I’m looking forward to my time behind the wheel of the Equus, and I promise you an unbiased opinion. Ten years ago, I’d have called Hyundai crazy for launching a car like the Equus; today, they just may be crazy like a fox.