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Car Review: 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature

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Off a refresh for 2014, the Hyundai Equus strikes an elegant look with V8 power under the hood that will impress on her own. The 2014 Equus premium luxury sedan arrives with enhancements to exterior and interior design, vehicle dynamics, material selection, driver technology displays and advanced safety features. The week behind the wheel of the Equus was a real eye opener as to what affordable luxury feels like!

EXTERIOR

No worries on whether the 2014 Equus Signature can compete with other luxury sedans here, as during our test time with the Equus, this car was even mistaken for a Rolls Royce! The 2014 Equus exterior enhancements convey a premium-sport design message, starting with a new 19-inch turbine-blade alloy wheel design in a polished silver finish that relays motion whether parked or on the open highway. The front grille chrome bars are thinner, with sharper contrast to the blacked-out portions of the grille for a sportier look. The front fascia also has been redesigned, with the former chrome accents removed in favor of a modern premium appearance that includes lower fascia opening strakes. The headlamps offer jeweled design elements and include chrome contrasted with black-out finishes for a distinctive appearance. New LED fog lamps are now standard. Side mirrors have been redesigned for enhanced aerodynamics and tail lamp graphics move to a more horizontal theme.

INTERIOR

Until you drive the Equus, you really don’t appreciate the high-end luxury that is incorporated into the cabin space. The 2014 Equus interior perfectly complements the enhancements to its exterior to the satisfaction of the most discerning car buyer. Thus, the themes of premium and performance again greet the driver behind the wheel. The entire instrument panel and center stack have been redesigned with more premium materials and an ergonomically-correct layout, with new button iconography for quicker and easier feature recognition. The center console and shift lever reveal more premium material selection and contemporary premium-luxury design cues. Steering wheel control layout has been improved, with new low-sheen button designs and icons. Similarly, rear passengers will enjoy a new rear console and button layout, with available dual 9.2-inch, high-resolution, adjustable seatback video screens to enjoy movies, audio media, HVAC or seating functions. Rear passengers can even search restaurant locations and provide navigation system directions directly to the driver’s navigation screen. The premium leather seats and microfiber suede headliner really set the tone for a high-quality space. We drove the Equus in zero degree temperature during a frigid midwest winter and the fast heating seats were our favorite comfort feature of the car! Also, the Lexicon 7.1 discrete surround sound audio system with a whopping 17 speakers is one of the best we have heard in an automobile.

The climate control system now offers three distinct cabin temperature zones for driver, passenger and rear passengers. The standard smart cruise control system has been enhanced to include a full 0-mph stop-and-start function for use in stop-and-go traffic. The smart proximity key now includes both key-fob and card-key types of vehicle entry for greater driver convenience.

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PERFORMANCE

The stunning outside and inside of the Equus wouldn’t be special if the performance came in substandard, and we’re here to report that the 5.0 Liter DOHC D-CVVT TAU V8 with 429 horsepower is the real deal. The 2014 Equus driving dynamics have also been revised to minimize traditional ride and handling compromises, with Normal and Sport modes each taking on a more differentiated ride and handling character. The air suspension was recalibrated; Sport mode receives more controlled damping, while Normal mode receives slightly enhanced ride comfort while retaining a well-controlled handling demeanor. The front suspension bushings were also revised to enhance suspension function. For those customers that experience adverse weather conditions such as ice and snow, a new Snow mode function was added to the drive mode system, for both safety and ease of control in challenging road conditions.

The Tau V8 engine creates this high output level while retaining exceptionally smooth power delivery throughout its rpm range without the turbo lag and surge exhibited by some forced-induction engines. The 5.0-liter Tau also features direct injection technology. This high-pressure direct injection system (over 2,200 psi) dramatically increases power and torque, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The 5.0-liter Tau has a high 11.5:1 compression ratio for greater thermal efficiency and output. It also has a bed plate for improved block rigidity and lower NVH, as well as camshaft carriers and a roller timing chain to improve valve train stability. This V8 engine offers premium engine technologies, including Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT), a tuned variable induction system, and low-friction diamond-like coatings (DLC) on piston skirts, rings and tappets. Even with these impressive power increases, fuel economy is estimated at 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.

The Tau V8 engine is coupled with a Hyundai-developed eight-speed transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual shift capability for enhanced acceleration and overall efficiency. In urban areas, the Equus is easy to maneuver and park, thanks to electro-hydraulic steering and its electronic parking guide assist. While the Equus is large, it doesn’t feel oversized or clumsy due to its 39.6 foot turning circle and variable-effort steering system. The Equus is so smooth that you feel like you can cruise right over uneasy road surfaces, as they are really no match to disturb a phenomenal driving experience.

OVERVIEW

The 2014 Equus Signature easily impresses with just about anything a sophisticated buyer could want, let alone everything one will need. What we respected about the Equus is that you don’t feel like the car is trying too hard to deliver. The Equus looks great, feels incredible inside and provides a smooth but powerful drive with such ease that you know there is serious confidence in engineering behind the car. Our test model 2014 Equus Signature stickered out at $61,920, which is thousands below many direct competitors who can’t match the design and power of the Equus. Hyundai took a risk by going so upscale with the Equus, but they really got it right here. Expect to see more of these luxurious machines passing you by on the road!

  

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