The long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate made its way into my driveway a few weeks ago, and since being handed the keys, I've added 1,900 miles to the odometer, putting our total distance traveled at just over 5,400 miles since the car's March arrival at Autoblog Towers.
Like both editor-in-chief John Neff and editor/test fleet manager Steven J. Ewing, I've been bombarded with compliments and curious questions about the Equus – and that's before I tell them that they're looking at a $65,000 Hyundai. It helps that the Equus looks like almost nothing else on the road, with its alien grille, massive proportions and over-the-top headlamps.
So far, I'm really enjoying my time with the Equus, and I'll have a full rundown of specific pros and cons next month. Over the course of my 1,900-mile stint, I've averaged 20 miles per gallon flat – besting the 19.1 mpg that Ewing and Neff saw last month. But while the month of May has been mostly all stars, there was one service hiccup that reared its ugly head...
To better compete with the more established luxury automakers from Japan and Germany, Hyundai had the smart idea to go a step beyond simply offering free scheduled maintenance. Thus, the Korean automaker instituted a plan that includes valet service, which means that someone from a Hyundai dealership will pick up the Equus from your home or work, drop off a loaner car (a Genesis or Equus, in most cases) for you to use while you wait, and then deliver back your vehicle serviced, washed and even vacuumed. Hyundai even provides an Apple iPad 'manual' that enables the owner to schedule the service appointment without ever having to pick up the phone.
Click on the Autoblog Short Cut video below to see how the iPad app works.
Since our long-term test car didn't arrive with said iPad, Herr Neff scheduled the service from his personal device. I received a confirmation e-mail complete with a reference number, date of service and a verification that a replacement vehicle would be offered. So I cleared my calendar for the morning of the scheduled service, but the dealer personnel never came.
An hour past the scheduled delivery time, I took it upon myself to call the dealership's service department to see if and when the swap would take place. As it turns out, the service department didn't have the foggiest idea what I was talking about, and hadn't received any requests. The gentleman at the service counter then told me that the dealership was running short on personnel, and that he would call me back when he could find someone who knew more about the valet service and how it works (this is a totally new thing for Hyundai, after all).
After a few more calls without a return volley, Neff got out the iPad and scheduled another appointment, I once again cleared my calendar and – again – nobody showed up. So instead of submitting a third service request, we called our contacts within Hyundai management. As you might expect, the next call came directly from the dealership manager, who apologized for any inconvenience and quickly scheduled a date to swap vehicles. Our replacement vehicle, however, was not an Equus or Genesis, but a Veracruz crossover (pictured below). Hyundai tells us that, while an Equus or Genesis is the preferred loaner vehicle, a Veracruz will be offered by dealerships that are low on inventory or when an all-wheel-drive vehicle is preferred (for snow and such).
Though the process that lead to valet service was rough, once the dealer got its hands on our Equus, everything was taken care of properly. The oil was changed and fluids were topped off, and the dealer also corrected the ill-aligned headlamps that we told you about last month, as well as the auto trunk button, which fit loosely but otherwise worked well. The dealer sales manager even drove the 40-plus miles himself to personally return the much cleaner Equus to my home and apologized for any trouble that we went through.
Unfortunately, the day after I got the Equus back, a large rock hit the windshield on the freeway, adding a substantial crack to the glass. It looks like the dealer may get a second chance to get its hands on our long-termer before it leaves my possession next month.
The Equus will continue to circulate through the Autoblog staff, so stay tuned for another update on Autoblog.com in about one month's time. And remember, you can keep up with our instant feedback about the long-term Equus by Liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (remember to look for tweets with the #ablongterm tag).