2011 Hyundai Equus

2011 Hyundai Equus

Episode 3009
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Hyundai’s reputation - especially as of late - is based on building affordable vehicles with great value and quality. But now the Korean carmaker is taking that formula to the large luxury sedan segment. This is the all-new 2011 Equus, and it will compete with flagships from Lexus, Mercedes and others. That’s an astounding goal, but has Hyundai finally bitten off a little more than they can chew?

When Hyundai introduced the Genesis premium mid-size sedan two years ago, we wondered if the value carmaker could compete in a more rarified class. We quickly concluded that it could. Now, to cement its reputation even further as a premium brand, the carmaker brings to market the full-size 2011 Hyundai Equus. As their new flagship, Equus aims to compete with vaulted saloons like the Lexus LS, and even the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Equus will attempt to do so by delivering all the bells and whistles affluent buyers expect, but at a much more affordable price point. But, right off the bat, targeted buyers may have two reservations. One, the full-line Hyundai badge itself, and two, the car’s overly conservative styling. It looks bland even compared to its hardly earth shaking rivals. Except for a Bentley-like rear end, there isn’t much to attract an exclusive eye to the Equus. Still, the big sedan does exude sophistication with a Genesis-like front fascia and a flowing greenhouse and roofline for an almost presidential profile.

But there’s also a hint of sportiness here, thanks to brawny rear shoulders, 19-inch chrome alloys, and dual exhausts. Things improved when we stepped inside its executive cabin. It’s spacious, with well laid out controls amid nicely done wood trim. But there’s still an air of cost containment, from the plain gauges, to an abundance of hard plastics, to even the unremarkable face of the analog clock. On the other hand, a lot that’s optional on rivals is standard on Equus.

Base Signature trim includes front seats that are very comfortable and supportive, with heat, ventilation, and even driver’s side massage. A class first. Likewise, there’s heat for the wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other standard luxuries include dual automatic climate, navigation, back-up camera and a 17-speaker Lexicon stereo. And get this, an Apple iPad owner’s manual! Comfort extends to the enormous rear seats with sunshades and the only
standard power recliners in its class. A three passenger heated split bench is standard, with Ultimate Trim dividing it into two individual seats, and adding massage, a console refrigerator, and DVD system.

All seats fold, adding nicely to the Equus’ generous 16.7 cubic foot trunk space. Based on the Genesis sedan platform, the Equus is powered by the same 4.6-liter variable-timing V8, good here for 385 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque. Power moves to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic with manual shift mode. On the track, our Equus charged from 0 to 60 in a fast 6.1 seconds, and cleared the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds at 99 miles per hour. Equus feels powerful off the line, but not overwhelmingly so. Power delivery builds nicely, and is quite smooth. Shifts, too, were smooth, but a little slow. Driving dynamics are governed by front and rear multilink geometries. And the electronically-controlled air suspension with Continuous Damping Control includes height-adjustable and driver-selectable Sport mode. And through the cones, with Sport mode on, the Equus feels acceptably capable, and trimmer than it actually is.

Understeer is always present, as is a fair amount of body roll. The steering is light and linear, but with little feedback. We give it better overall marks than the Lexus LS, but it doesn’t come close to the caliber of a German sedan. Equus stopping power is solid. With large vented discs at all four corners, the 4,500-pound Equus managed 60 to 0 in a good 127 feet. So, while overall, Equus performance seems unremarkable, as a first effort, it’s still very notable. On public roads, the Equus is more than competent. It’s very quiet and smooth, maybe a little too smooth. There are no ragged edges about this car’s performance.

But then there isn’t much to get excited about either. Government Fuel Economy ratings for the Equus are 16 city/24 highway on premium gas. We achieved 21.6 miles per gallon in real world driving. The Energy Impact Score is a fairly high 18 barrels of oil consumed per year. The Carbon Footprint measures a similar 9.8 annual tons of CO2 emitted.

But here’s the kicker…the Equus Signature starts at $58,000. That’s about $8,000 less than an LS, and $30-grand less than the cheapest S-Class. The Hyundai Equus Ultimate stickers for $64,500. The 2011 Hyundai Equus is an ambitious effort, and it’s a bargain. Still, for clientele to whom status and prestige are just as important as the accouterments, the biggest hurdle for Hyundai may be the brand itself. However, we can easily see other buyers viewing the Equus as a way to play big without breaking their 401(k). And even if this Equus isn’t a hit at the country club, Hyundai has the patience to make sure the next one will be.


  • Engine: 4.6-Liter Variable-timing V8
  • Horsepower: 385
  • Torque: 333 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.1 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.6 Seconds @ 99 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 127 Feet
  • EPA: 16 MPG City/ 24 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 21.6 MPG
  • Energy Impact 18.0 Barrels Oil/Yr:
  • CO2 Emissions: 9.8 Tons/Yr
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.