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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
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1 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET
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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