2011 Hyundai Equus
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
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined