Highlights: This is Hyundai’s first attempt to go after the BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This Hyundai offers rear power operated seats, a first for a Hyundai.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $ 68,920 (Base Model starts at $61,920)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags (front, side impact seat mounted, rear, knee, side curtain and roof mounted); ABS, Tire Pressure Monitoring System; Electronic Stability Control; Blind Spot; Front and Rear Parking Assist Aids with cross traffic alert; a Rear Parking Camera; Lane Departure Warning System; a Radar Activated Cruise Control System; and a Pre Collision Warning System

Standard Equipment: Standard Audio: a 17-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio with Satellite radio

MP3: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty:  5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty:  10 years or 100,000 miles

Bluetooth Compatibility: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.0-liter, 8-cylinder/429-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 15-city/23-hwy

Standard Features: an 8-speed transmission; 19-inch wheels; LED turn signal indicators; LED front fog lights; automatic daytime running lights; power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; wood/leather heated steering wheel; three-zone automatic temperature control; power sunroof; heated front and rear seats;  memory power (driver’s seat); leather seats; push-button keyless starter; and a power rear sunshade

Trim Levels:

Signature
Ultimate

What’s New: The Equus receives its first mid-cycle refreshing. With the updates, Hyundai engineers offer a new distinctive grille, new rear tail lights, a redesigned instrument panel, ultra-premium leather for the seats, a redesigned rear seat center control system and a revised suspension system to adjust to different driving modes.

Pros: Like all Hyundais, the Equus provides a lot of bang for the buck, regardless of the model selected, especially for those seeking a well-equipped alternative to the Japanese and Europeans makes. For under $62,000 buyers can have their rear-wheel drive vehicle equipped with a power reclining rear seat, power sunshade, a radar-activated cruise control system, blind spot monitoring and a premium audio system.

Those stepping into the higher-end Ultimate trim will be lavished with such features as dual rear seat DVD monitors, a forward-view cornering camera, a power-operated trunk lid, a heads-up display unit for the driver displaying the speed and other pertinent info on the windshield, a ventilated rear seat, power adjustable rear head restraints, power lumbar seats, dual rear vanity mirrors and a power door closure system, which completely closes the door, if they are not closed properly.

The Equus offers distinctive driving modes too. Where else can you get all of this for a vehicle in this price point?

Cons: The styling of the Equus is not that distinctive. It seems to blend with other vehicles, as opposed to being a standout. The competitors offer a larger fuel tank, which in-turn leads to a longer driving range. Also the competitors offer a slightly higher miles per gallon, when equipped with an 8-cylinder engine. While the Equus only offers one engine, the segment also offers a variety of engine choices: a diesel, a 6-cylinder, an 8-cylinder and a hybrid.

We also strongly believe the engineers should consider swapping the position of the ventilation system with the audio system. Most of the time when we attempted to change the audio system, we found ourselves adjusting the temperature instead, purely out of habit. ad the two systems been repositioned on the instrument panel, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

Moreover, the base Signature model lacked a power operated trunk, which closes and open via a key fob or a button on the trunk.

And as far as the driving experience, the Equus lacks the crispness found in the European and German makes, but again for the price point it’s a worthy contender.

The Verdict: The brand’s flagship is priced in the same range as many of its competitors midsized luxury vehicles – BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS, Mercedes E-Class – offering more content and a longer warranty. While Hyundai’s Equus does not carry the same snob appeal or cache as the German and Japanese makes, it’s a worthy contender to consider for those seeking a lot of bang for the buck.

The Equus is also a perfect vehicle to have for those seeking to understate their wealth that screams loudly, when purchasing a German make. In fact, pricing seems to be more in line with the Infiniti M and Cadillac XTS, which isn’t quite in the same league as the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class.

Competition: Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Infiniti M, Lexus LS and Mercedes S-Class

Reviewer:  Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com.  Follow him twitter/JeffCars.

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