The Hyundai Equus has many as yet untold benefits for limo operators. The premium luxury sedan is creating a small buzz in the industry from a few operators trying it out. Its performance and client response surprise them.
Hyundai has been slowly introducing both the Genesis and more-so the Equus into the luxury chauffeured transportation market recently, trying to gain market share left void from the retiring Lincoln Town Cars.
The Equus is the flagship, top-of-the-line Hyundai sedan, and it comes in two versions: The Signature with an MSRP of $61,500 and up, and the Ultimate, with an MSRP starting at $68,750. Featured here is the Signature version with a V-8, 5-Liter, 429 HP engine with rear-wheel drive, and a luxury interior with 126 cu.ft. of space (actually more than a Mercedes-Benz S-550).
The Equus Signature version has many high-end amenities that jump right at you when you enter. The comfortable rear leather seats have reclining controls that offer more room than most other luxury sedans on the market. The upscale dash controls with wood trim resemble those found on competing luxury brands.
The Equus cockpit has wood-trim paneling, leather upholstery, and dash configuration similar to other high-end sedans.
For the Chauffeur
Behind the wheel, the engine is very responsive. The smooth steering gets wheel turning assistance. There’s even a stabilizing “hold” button for holding the idle steady on steep hills. You can drive the car in three different modes: Eco, Sport, and Semi-manual. The Eco-mode drives effortlessly, almost like a video game and perfect for new chauffeurs. The sport mode and semi-manual transmission are easy to activate and could benefit chauffeurs who need merging acceleration.
The robust Digital Navigation system is relatively easy to use and find directions. The Equus’ BlueLink dashboard system includes satellite radio, GPS navigation, and Blue-Tooth sync. It even has a voice-activation command that can locate the nearest gas station, restaurant, or point-of-interest. The seven-inch, electro-illuminiscent gauge cluster behind the wheel indicates fuel efficiency, direction, and lane drift warnings. The backup camera and proximity sensors help chauffeurs get it in and out of tight spaces without bumps or dings.
The backseat has a wide door to make for easy entry and exit.
The chauffeur can easily control all windows as well as a back rear window shade. Rear passenger temperature for air conditioning and heat also can be controlled from up front. The Signature version rides smooth and consistent thanks to a powerful engine with gradual acceleration that can move the car quickly without feeling like it slams passengers into overdrive.
For the Backseat Client
The difference between the Signature and Ultimate is most apparent in the backseat, with the absence of two 9-inch rear entertainment screens. But the Signature version has many client comforts worth mentioning. The power seat adjustor resembles that of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, while both rear seats have ample reclining.
The back seat provides 38.8 inches of legroom.
The center console in the backseat allows clients to control the volume of the sound system, and switch among FM, AM, and satellite radio, or their personal music-playing devices. Clients have full control over the air conditioning and heat from this center console, so they can keep the temperature at their desired levels without having to ask the chauffeur. The center console includes two 12-V power adaptors, so clients can easily charge any laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
The trunk has 16.7 cubic-feet of space, enough for two large suitcases or two sets of golf clubs without hassle. The smart key has an electric trunk opener.
The Hyundai Equus has a sleek design with a wide frame and suitable length for a chauffeured car. The front grill with hood emblem denotes a luxury vehicle along with the light trim running down the sides. The side view mirrors tuck snugly against the windows when the car is locked, and the headlights slightly follow the vehicle during turns.
The trunk has 16.7 cu. ft. of space, enough to easily fit two sets of luggage with carry on, or two sets of golf clubs.
Overall, the Hyundai Equus is a great leap in luxury for the price, but it struggles with brand appeal among clients. This vehicle will likely see success with clients who are less brand sensitive and more appreciative of tech and comfort features.
With a listed 15/23 city/highway mile per gallon rating, this vehicle will appeal to operators who give it a closer look and believe their clients would enjoy an upgrade regardless of brand name.
Equus In The Field: “What Kind of Car Is This?”
Operators with Equuses in the fleet report solid performance and positive client feedback.
As the Equus enters chauffeured fleets, two operators have gone on-record to say they like the vehicle and plan to add more in the future. Harry Dhillon, CEO of Ecko Transportation in San Jose, Calif., says the Equus delivers more luxury amenities than many more expensive premium sedans. “It’s a great vehicle,” he says. “It’s basically a generic version of the Mercedes S-550. In the backseat, it has reclining that makes a huge difference with our clients, and when they sit in the vehicle they usually say, ‘Wow this is great.’”
Randy Allen, CEO of James Limousine in Richmond, Va., has four Equus sedans in the fleet. He says the cars are holding up well under heavy use. “Our oldest Equus in the fleet has over 100,000 miles, and it is still driving great and we haven’t had significant maintenance issues,” he says. Allen says the vehicle repairs are more expensive than typical sedans, but that for the price and luxury, it provides a great value.
Both operators remove the Hyundai emblem from the rear trunk. When clients first get in the car, they are typically surprised at the comfort and quality, and ask “what kind of car is this?” Allen says chauffeurs love driving the car and that he plans to add more Equuses to his fleet as replacement for his aging Lincoln Town Car sedans.
The priority in backseat comfort is shown by the driver-accessible passenger seat controls, making it easy for the chauffeur to move the seat up to maximize rear-seat legroom.
Engine: V8, 5-L, 429 HP
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 15/23 city/hwy
Fuel tank capacity: 20.3 gallons
Legroom (in., front/rear): 45.1/38.8
Headroom (in., front/rear): 38.7/37.7
Curb weight: 4553 lbs.
Total passengers: 5 including chauffeur
Trunk capacity: 16.7 cu. ft.
Warranty: 5-year/unlimited miles 24 hour roadside assistance
Price: Signature: $61,500; Ultimate: $68,750