In the Metal: 2011 Hyundai Equus VS460
By Kevin Miller
It’s no secret that Hyundai is set to launch its Equus luxury sedan in the US. Officially introduced at the New York Auto show in April of this year, the Equus will occupy a market segment above the Korean automaker’s Genesis sedan. While neither a price nor an on-sale date for the Equus has been announced, it is widely believed that pricing for car, targeted at the Lexus LS460 and Mercedes-Benz S550, will start close to $50,000, and rise to around $60,000 fully equipped. Hyundai Motor America’s President and CEO John Krafcik penned a piece last month published by stating the the retail launch of the Equus is still several months away- which indicates that it will be on sale in late 2010.
So far, the only place in the US to get a good look at an Equus has been either at an auto show, or on the internet. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I encountered an Equus sedan yesterday evening on California’s rural Cabrillo coast highway (CA-1). I was re-tracing the route of my California Great Drive, and I passed through a construction zone with single lane traffic controlled by an automated signal near Pescadero; waiting for the signal to change on the other side was a Hyundai Equus. At first glance I took it to be a (still relatively rare) Genesis sedan, but as I glanced at the car’s side profile I could tell it was not a Genesis. Just like any car guy would do, I had to get a better look. With no traffic oncoming or behind me on the rural highway, I quickly made a U-turn and found myself behind the car badgeed EQUUS VS460, wearing a California distributor license plate.
See our Huyndai Equus gallery after the jump…
I ended up following the Equus for about five miles before the driver stopped at the scenic Pigeon Point Lighthouse, a lighthouse built in 1871. The landmark, which is still an active Coast Guard navigational aid, is now the site of a hostel. I immediately hopped out of my anonymous rental car and started checking out the Equus.
Away from the bright lights of the auto show, the Equus proves itself to be an understated, tastefully-styled luxury car. While it doesn’t look “just like” the LS460 that Hyundai has targeted, the overall look is decidedly similar to that Lexus. Of note is the fact that the word “Hyundai” doesn’t appear anywhere on the Equus’ exterior. The company’s H-logo appears in the center of the trunklid, but the Equus otherwise sports a symbol that looks to be a bird in flight; that symbol is found on the wheel centers, the steering wheel, and the hood. Also catching my eye were the forward-vision camera in the center of the grill at the front of the car, and the rear fender styling with a line that begins in the middle of the back door, which unfortunately reminded me of Hyundai’s Elantra sedan (one of which happened to be parked in front of the Equus when I photographed it). Clearly the Equus was designed before Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design language (which the new Sonata and Tuscon successfully wear) was adopted.
After a brief chat with the Equus’ driver (who was on official Hyundai business), I snapped the photos in the gallery accompanying this article. The driver indicated that this vehicle is one of the first US-spec Equus in the country, and that it is well suited to enthusiastic driving along the scenic, curving coastline. The Equus looks to be a $60,000 answer to the $90,000 luxury car question; I’m looking forward to driving it at the press launch and when it hits the press fleet.