For the first time since its late 2010 introduction, Hyundai's flagship Equus luxury sedan is subtly restyled for a more premium appearance and adds more safety equipment, more amenities and a retuned suspension for improved ride.
Thankfully, notable elements of the Equus are not changed — including pricing that's thousands below competitors and a warranty package that includes 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and free scheduled maintenance with valet car pickup-and-return and free loaner vehicle during the first three years/36,000 miles.
Also not changed: Consumer Reports' endorsement of the full-size, V-8-powered Equus as a recommended buy. Reliability is listed as average.
The manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the base, rear-wheel drive, 2014 Equus in Signature trim is $61,920.
While this sounds like a lot for a Hyundai, Equus buyers get a lot.
The base Equus comes with premium leather interior, real wood trim, light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps and fog lamps, moonroof, navigation system, three-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control that automatically manages the distance of the Equus to the vehicles in front.
Other standard items: Heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, lane departure warning system, rearview camera, blind spot monitoring and soft-to-the-touch, suede ceiling cover.
The upper Ultimate trim version of 2014 Equus carries a $68,920 retail price, including destination charge.
The Equus Ultimate adds, among other things, standard multi-view camera, rear seats that cool as well as warm passengers and a rear entertainment system with 9.2-inch display screens built into the backs of the front-seat head restraints.
All Equus models continue with last year's 5-liter, double overhead cam V-8 that delivers 429 horsepower. It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Note the Equus' 429 horsepower is more than the 386 horses in the rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered, 2014 Lexus LS luxury sedan that has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $73,050.
The base, 2014 LS 460 does not include standard lane departure warning system, blind spot monitoring, dynamic cruise control, LED headlights or heated steering wheel that are on the base Equus.
In addition, the Equus has a full 45.1 inches of front-seat legroom compared with 43.7 inches in the front seats of the LS 460.
Meantime, the competing 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 delivers 449 horsepower from its biturbo V-8, which is 20 more than the Equus' naturally aspirated V-8.
But the base, rear-wheel drive S550, which has a starting retail price of $93,825, comes with dual-zone climate control and has less front-seat legroom than the Equus.
Plus, heated and ventilated rear seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot assist and lane keeping assist that are standard on the Equus are options on the S550.
sales of the Equus grew to a high of 3,972 in calendar 2012, then fell 10 percent last year. Not all Hyundai dealers carry the premium Equus.