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2009 Hyundai Equus - Click above for a high-res gallery

This is the new Hyundai Equus in the steel and on U.S. roads, courtesy of Autoblog reader Alex. Depending on dealer reaction to the car, Hyundai could-maybe-possibly-might bring it to America. If so, we would then find out if Hyundai could do what Volkswagen was incapable of doing with its Phaeton: Charge top-tier money for a top-tier product wearing a lower to (now) mid-market badge.

As for the luxury sedan itself, being fans of the underdog, the Equus makes us go "Hooray, but hmmm..." We understand the need to lure unfamiliar buyers with familiar luxury themes, but we have to chide the Korean automaker for its reliance on Lexus' styling playbook. This is particularly true at the rear, where the taillight line jinks twice and runs to the wheel well, mimicking Lexus' L-Finesse language. Further, the rump wears a copy of Lexus' exhaust pipes and the car is badged the VS 460, which strikes us as a bit too close for comfort.

With Hyundai at least enjoying early signs of success with its upmarket Genesis sedan, perhaps there's room for an even more expensive offering, but early warnings point to a much higher sticker price than the automaker's reigning North American Car of the Year, and it's too soon to analyze the Genny's long-term prospects for success. What do you think... is Hyundai threatening to jump the gun, or is it headed in the right direction?

[Source: Flickr]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      America is looking for best buys in all vehicle types and luxury levels. The Equus might be another great option. However, the more "market homogeneous" the style cues... the greater the risk of just blending into the landscape. This era of the swooping egg on wheels is getting old. Something unique and edgy could be a relief. I suggest they lose the "L" cues and bring us their own luxury brand identity

      • 6 Years Ago
      "Hyundai copycat?"

      it mean, american desiners are Sucks.
      Hyundai design center locate in california, usa.
      it designed by americans!

      so, "hyundai design is bad" = American Sucks.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Whatever. Lexus has been biting off Mercedes and now BMW for years. So to see a copy of a copy is almost poetic justice. But I'm sure Lexus fans will still cry foul.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What makes Hyundai think that the American market is ready for an $75K Hyundai? If VW could not do it with the Phaeton, they'll have a hard time selling this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I seem to remember people asking the same thing about Toyota/Lexus. It won't happen overnight, but if they execute, then it's not unthinkable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It isn't unthinkable, but in this economic climate it doesn't seem like a great time to try. Plus, the Phaeton was pretty nice and look how bad it did - from a company that American's already support quite a bit. I just don't think this will work out for them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, styling is unashamedly Lexus (Acura in the taillights), obviously an invitation for critique from us auto enthusiast readers. But keep in mind this point will not deter the consideration set should this car come to the U.S. market. The Lexus LS has been enjoying success over the years with it's unoriginal and Mercedes/BMW-derivative styling.

      If Hyundai brands this car as Equus (or essentially something other than Hyundai) and, like the Genesis, it proves to be a formidable product with a price undercutting its competition by a considerable margin then it has potential. Certainly would avoid the well-known problems suffered by VW's Phaeton.

      However, this approach would require Hyundai to put forth the resources to effectively introduce a luxury brand, a la Lexus. Is Hyundai willing to do so? Not a cheap endeavour but one I imagine Hyundai is evaluating (or should be) as it tests the waters here with the Equus.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And all these negative comments are exactly the kind of reaction Hyundai is looking for! Remember when the XG300 came out. More negativity than anything I have ever seen. Then came Azera, labelled as great, but not good. Then Genesis, and everyone fell on their ear. Not perfect I admit, but they just keep getting better and better.

      The fact that a upstart like Hyundai got the COTY in the first place over other cars, speaks volumes of how people's perceptions are changing. Cars like this will help ensure that the Genesis sedan sells in larger numbers.

      I also did not mean to say the LS460 is a bad car by any stretch. It a gorgeous car, but unfortunately does not inspire me and say WOW look at me! This Hyundai would probably do nothing for me if it came from Lexus or Mercedes too. But coming from Hyundai, its an impressive showing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I bought a Lexus LS400 in 1990 (1st year) for $41,000. I bought my Genesis 3.8 for $36,000 last week. Hyundai has done its homework. My Genesis is priced with the Infiniti G37, Acura TL and Lexus ES330 but is bigger, roomier, smoother, quieter and more luxurious. It's no ocean barge - it handles well, with accurate steering and flat cornering, even when driven slightly aggresively. If I didn't know who made it or what the price was, I'd have guessed the price to be around $50K. I can only imagine what the Equus will be like.

      The styling is derivative, but everybody is copying everybody else. At least Hyundai chose some very handsome cars to copy; the 7-series and the E-series.

      Based on today's economic situation, Hyundai played it smart. They originally considered creating an entire new division with separate dealerships, a la Lexus, Acura & Infiniti. They chose not to make the huge investment that would require, and the result is that this car is an incredible value. If you're in the market, test a TL, G37 or ES - then drive the Genesis 3.8. If you're looking at the E-Series, 5-series or even the Audi A8, test the 4.6 V-8. I'm not saying it matches those cars exactly; I'm saying you're going to save $15,000 or more and sacrifice very little.

      People laughed at me when I bought my Lexus in 1990. - they thought I was crazy to pay $41,000 for a "Toyota". I knew better. The week I got my Lexus, I ran into a friend who had just bought an E-series. He looked at my car, sat in it and took a short ride - and then said "I think I bought the wrong car".

      Wait til my friends see my Genesis....

      compares better with

      • 6 Years Ago
      it really look good despite all that copying accusations
        • 6 Years Ago
        Check out 50 or more views inside and out of the Equus on www.huyndaibuzz.com
        This is one big car.... check out the back seat area
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny, I seem to recall Lexus, Infiniti and Acura putting together European styling cues for their models (current and previous).

      The LS430 was a totally ripp-off of the S Class and Infiniti took BMW's Hofmeister kink and used it as the basis for the G.

      In addition, look at the grilles that these makes used on previous models - very similar to grilles that one would find on Jaguar, Mercedes, Lincoln, etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think it looks like a Lexus with a less talented designer. The lines on the car are weird in places like over the wheel wells. Ass is the best part.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think HMC will position the Equus in the $75000 range. Just like the Genesis, it will be discounted to somewhere at mid 40k to 50k range. They are not that dumb.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A reason there is no review is because it's not out in US and the car is very new.

      This article doesn't say the car is just as good. This is report states that the car is on US road, for testing if you cross read other articles. You are projecting your bias. This article didn't hand the success to them... No single magazine or article can. Just look at G8, it's getting canned.

      You are not a Lexus "fanboy." You are a Lexus Malarkey boi.

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