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2011 Hyundai Equus (photos)

Hyundai's luxury sedan will take many by surprise, as the company has a strong focus on the economy market. But the Equus, with its bargain-basement price, will appeal to budget-conscious buyers who still want a car that looks like a million bucks.

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Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Hyundai sets its sights high with the Equus luxury sedan. Although potential buyers would not expect a car of this caliber from Hyundai, the company sets its price so low that people will likely give it a chance next to other luxury sedans, such as the Lexus LS 460 and Mercedes-Benz S-class.

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Hyundai forgoes its fluidic sculpture styling on the Equus, opting for a more conservative design. The grille's chrome surround gives it a stately bearing, and pronounced rear fenders give the Equus a unique look. LED parking lights are pretty much a must-have these days.

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To power the big sedan, Hyundai takes a simple approach with this 4.6-liter V-8. Power and fuel economy are about what can be expected from a big displacement variable valve-timed engine. Lacking are modern technologies such as direct injection or forced induction.

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The passenger compartment is large and comfortable, with plenty of headroom. Big windows all around offer excellent visibility.

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Chrome wheels look a bit gaudy. Hyundai puts the Equus badge at the center of each wheel.

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An air suspension gives the Equus a very nice ride. It is adjustable, and can be set to a sport mode.

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The trunk is not huge, but adequate for this typical CNET editor.

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Hyundai gives the Equus' cabin the luxury treatment, with thick leather and wood trim.

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Hyundai copies Mercedes-Benz by putting the seat controls on the door, a very nice ergonomic touch.

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The power steering is well-tuned, offering a feeling of engagement with the road.

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Voice command, audio, and phone buttons sit on the left side of the steering wheel.

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The right side of the steering wheel holds controls for setting the adaptive cruise control and activating lane departure warnings.

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A color LCD in the instrument cluster shows a variety of information, such as trip data or adaptive cruise control following distance.

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The Equus has a six-speed automatic transmission, but could use an extra gear or two for better fuel efficiency.

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The cabin tech controls are nice and simple, a big dial surrounded by labeled buttons.

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The rearview camera shows trajectory lines to aid in parking.

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The navigation has colorful, high-resolution maps, but there is no perspective view.

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Alphanumeric input screens for the system use this racetrack pattern.

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The Bluetooth phone system offers typical features, such as phone book download.

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The iPod interface has the usual library categories. Its design is clean and pleasing.

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One of the car's audio sources is HD Radio.

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The Equus' Lexicon audio system uses 17 speakers, and sounds excellent.

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The Ultimate package brings in a rear seat entertainment system, with two big, power-adjustable seats.

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Rear-seat passengers have complete control over the car's entertainment system.

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A refrigerator between the rear seats is an added bonus.

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Every Equus comes with an iPad loaded with the car's manual. You can also use the iPad to schedule service appointments.

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