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Hyundai hits the big time with its Equus luxury sedan (pictures)

Hyundai's flagship luxury sedan competes well against the Lexus LS and Infiniti M models, offering high-tech features, a spacious cabin, and an air suspension.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 20 Josh Miller/CNET
Hyundai, known for its economy cars, hits the luxury class with the Equus. This large sedan ticks off all the right check boxes for the segment, then adds a few more. It has a 5-liter V-8 powering the rear wheels and a well-appointed interior.
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Hyundai gives the Equus a special badge to call out the model. This winged logo appears on the hood and on the shifter.
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The front seats are big and comfy, power-adjustable with integrated heating and cooling.
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The rear seats offer plenty of legroom, and in Ultimate trim the Equus comes standard with rear-seat entertainment.
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The trunk offers loads of room in which to stretch out.
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As Hyundai packages all the electronics and features into its trim level, there are no options to choose.
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A smart ergonomic feature, learned from Mercedes-Benz, is these seat control buttons mounted on the doors, making them very easy to reach. You can also see the glossy wood trim backing them up.
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The Equus relies on a hybrid electric-hydraulic power steering system. Instead of powering the hydraulic pump from an engine belt, which saps engine power, the system uses an electric motor to keep up hydraulic pressure. This system is smarter and more flexible than an old-style hydraulic boost system.
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Hyundai does an excellent job with its gauge graphics on this LCD instrument cluster. Using an LCD also lets Hyundai program a variety of informative graphics into the cluster.
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The Equus comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which includes a manual shift mode.
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One of the coolest features of the Equus is this head-up display, which shows vehicle speed, cruise control, route guidance, and blind-spot monitor alerts.
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The Equus includes a surround-view camera, a useful aid when parking. In addition, there is a front camera monitor, increasing safety when pulling out of garages and blind intersections.
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The rearview camera shows overlays for vehicle trajectory and distance.
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The home screen on the center LCD shows navigation, phone, audio sources, and Hyundai's BlueLink telematics service.
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The navigation system uses maps stored on a hard drive, but does not show perspective-view maps. Route guidance shows turn graphics and includes lane guidance.
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For freeway junctions, route guidance includes these big, colorful graphics, making it easy to figure out where to go at a glance.
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The Bluetooth phone system offers a full set of features, such as contact list integration, voice command, and voice mail access.
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With an iPod or USB drive plugged in, or when selecting music from the onboard hard drive, this library screen makes it easy to find music.
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The Equus includes HD Radio, and displays this nicely designed virtual analog tuner.
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The audio quality from the 17-speaker Lexicon sound system is very satisfying.

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