Rolling Sloane has gotten a number of requests for a follow-up to that whole crap badge but nice car thing in the wake of a few unwashed morons claiming to represent “democracy” climbing out of their taxpayer subsidized Brooklyn hovels in order to protest for higher taxes on those who presumably pay for their continued existence. The targeted individuals wanted something equivalent to their Lexus LS460s, yet the car had to have the worst badge imaginable. Fortunately for the American capitalist class, such a car exists: the Hyundai Equus. Yes, the carmaker to Asian delivery drivers and morons willing to trap themselves in a lifetime of relative poverty (Korean cars have deceptively low purchase prices when new, but little residual value and horribly expensive replacement parts) makes a reasonable facsimile of the top Japanese luxury car.
Hyundai is actually quite serious about this luxury sub-brand, and has definitely pulled out all of the stops in a full-out assault on their Japanese competitors. For an all-in price of $58,900 (that’s about £38,000), one only has to pay insurance and fuel for the first five years of ownership. Should the Equus require service, the installed app on your iPad (supplied as a supplement to the owner’s manual) allows you to schedule a time most convenient for Hyundai to drop of a loaner car and then return your Equus fully serviced and detailed. Setting foot in the dealership and mixing it up with the plebeians is basically the only thing not included with the car, but it is doubtful anyone cross-shopping the competition would really miss that experience all too much. No, Hyundai has done Lexus (the benchmark for automotive ass kissing) one better on the customer service front, and that alone should win-over quite a few current LS owners. Plus, by only including one actual Hyundai emblem on the car, one’s brand conscious “current wife” probably won’t even realize that there has been new addition to the family.
The car itself should also appeal to the current Lexus driver; it is quite clear for which benchmark the Koreans were aiming. Spec for Spec the Equus basically equals the top-end LS, and in some cases exceeds the big Lexus in the amount of luxury features on offer. There are however two major differences: the parking system in the Hyundai is only semi-automatic and it exhibits this concept called road feel. This is a good thing; instead of being completely isolated from the road like the Lexus, the Equus is only maybe a 95% isolation chamber. Think of it as more set of noise-cancelling headphones rather than a sound and shockproof room. It’s still quite, cozy, and supremely luxurious (in a distinctly Asian way), but there is a modicum of driver involvement required. Of course, the seats do have a multiple setting massage function as well as a (defeatable) seat shaking lane-departure warning system, and the adaptive cruise control will practically drive the car for you. However, upon pressing your right foot there appears this low-pitched burble, which is the unmistakable sound of a powerful V8 that is noticeably absent in the Lexus. Both cars have a 4.6L V8, yet only one lets you know, even ever-so tactfully, that there are indeed eight pistons going about there work with-in that 90 degree engine block ahead of you. This is where the Hyundai wins (well, apart from the price and next level ass-kissing customer service), it’s as good at the Lexus where is has to be, but it’s not the automotive Stepford Wife, which the LS460 truly is. Assuming that one wants a better Lexus, for less money, with better service, and a crap badge for some stealth über-luxury: this is your car. I on the other hand, don’t give a flying fuck as to what some dirty hippies think about Capitalism or my car. Therefore, I still stand beside my previous assertion that the Jaguar XJ is the best luxury car (not just for the money, but the best one, full stop)!