Our long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus Ultimate has made its way back to my hands after spending the summer with other members of the Autoblog team. Its mileage has nearly tripled since I last drove the big white luxoliner. Summertime excursions and business trips have added up, meaning the Equus now has just under 19,000 miles on the odometer.

With those miles has come a bit of wear and tear, but a recent dealership trip smoothed out many of the rough edges. (Read Editor-in-Chief Neff's report from last month to see what we mean.) Still, a few blemishes remain, but much of it is to be expected with this level of use. We've already talked about the discolored driver's seat, but I've also noticed some general wear in the leather that wasn't there before I gave the Equus away for its summer of road trippin'.

2011 Hyundai Equus steering wheel heaterI did, however, receive quite a surprise while trying to remember where the fuel door button was (it's on the door). As I checked the area around the steering wheel, I noticed a button that I hadn't seen before for the heated steering wheel. Editors Paukert and Ewing assure me that heated wheel buttons commonly reside on steering columns, but others – Neff, in particular – were just as surprised that they hadn't discovered the switch. Apparently some of us need to study the options sheet or manual a bit more closely. Now that I have found the heated wheel button, I've used it on a couple of Michigan's increasingly chilly mornings. If there is a device that warms a wheel to a higher temperature more quickly, it's a blowtorch. The Equus has one well-heated wheel.

While the nearly 19,000 miles has scuffed up the interior a bit, the Equus' cushy ride and handling is still solidly squeak- and rattle-free. I was under the assumption that driving the Big Hyun would be like riding a bike, in that I would just kind of remember how everything operates. That's been true when it comes to locating buttons and knobs, but for some reason, I forgot that the throttle mapping can be a bit awkward and takes time to adjust to (particularly when accelerating around a corner from a stop).

Quirks aside, it's nice to have the Equus back in the driveway. There are few vehicles better for comfortable highway cruising, especially when I find the right seat position. We have a handful of new long trips (and another service appointment) on deck for the Equus next month, which will put us well past the 20,000-mile mark.

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