Would you pay $60,000 for a Hyundai?
A decade ago such a question would have been laughable.
At that time, Hyundai was just coming out of survival mode after its reputation for putting out cheap, questionable quality vehicles nearly drove it from the U.S. market in the late 1990s.
Not any more.
Since regaining its financial footing with such notable successes with the Elantra, Sonata, and Genesis sedans and coupes and Santa Fe and Tucson SUVs, the South Korean automaker has ventured into the high air of the automotive world with its flagship sedan, the Equus.
And it has done so with the same aplomb it has demonstrated in becoming a legitimate competitor in the affordable family vehicle segment.
If you have luxury tastes and an economy budget, it may just be the car for you.
With the Equus, Hyundai is offering a vehicle with the all the trappings found on full-size sedans from other Asian and European luxury manufacturers but with relative economy pricing.
It is a big car, just over 203 inches long and over 74 inches wide with nearly 110 cubic feet of passenger space in its leather-filled cabin.
Want legroom? The Equus has it with over 45 inches both up front and in the back.
Want shoulder room? There are just over 59 inches, also front and back.
And luggage space? A generous 16.7 cubic feet for the trunk.
Want to be pampered? Opt for the Ultimate Package that includes leg support and a massage system for the right rear-season passenger.
Want styling? Squint and the Equus has the appearance of an Mercedes-Benz as it comes down the street.
Even the exterior winged badging gives it a higher class look from the other vehicles in the Hyundai lineup.
Hyunda introduced the rear-wheel-drive Equus for the 2011 model year and gave it a new, 5.0-liter V8 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission for 2012.
For 2013, the vehicle remains unchanged.
The V8 provides 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque to move its 4,486 pounds (slightly less if using regular fuel instead of premium — yes, you have a choice with the Equus, and the mileage figures, 15 city, 23 highway are the same). The result is a drive that is a bit livelier than might be expected from its class.
And it does it oh-so quietly. You can also firm up the ride if you desire by putting the suspension in “Sport dynamic” mode.
In looks, the Equus has a Teutonic flair, but in performance, it is closer to what you might find in a top-of-the-line Lexus LS.
But at a lower cost than either.
The base price for the Equus is $59,250, up slightly from 2012, for the Signature model and $66,250 for the Ultimate. Both prices include everything offered on the vehicle. There are no add-ons to boost the cost, leaving you only to choose between the two.
That represents a considerable savings over two vehicles the Hyundai folks like to compare the Equus to — the Lexus LS, which starts at over $70,000, and the Mercedes-Benz S Class, which carries a tag starting the $90k range.
The savings is just a side benefit, though. The main reason to shop the Equus is the car itself.