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Driving the 2011 Hyundai Equus

Putting on the miles…in style.

by on Sep.08, 2010

Hyundai moves into the premium segment with the launch of the 2011 Equus.

To be brutally honest, there was a time when we’d only clock the minimum number of miles necessary for a review of a new Hyundai product.  What else could you say about cars of the early Pony era other than “cheap and cheerful.”

That began to change with the debut of the first-generation Santa Fe, and by the time the latest Sonata sedan rolled into our driveway we were sorry to let it go back into the press fleet.  So, when Hyundai gave us a chance to drive a pre-production version of the 2011 Equus, the maker’s first super-premium luxury sedan, we jumped at the opportunity, even if it meant a quick round-trip to South Korea. (Click Here for that first drive.)

That trip it was Hyundai that cut things short, promising to give us a bit more driving time once the first production car arrived in the States.  We finally got that opportunity, recently, clocking some significant miles driving along the Central Coast of California. It was a great chance to test the metal and mettle of the 2011 Hyundai Equus, the boldest example yet that the Korean carmaker intends to evolve beyond the limited confines of the economy car segment.

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And if our drive proved anything it’s that Hyundai is a force to be reckoned with.  Is this the car the competition should fear and loathe?  No, the 2011 Equus is not going to take down the best of the German and Japanese fleets, but as with the original Lexus LS400, two decades ago, this is a shot over the bow that can’t be ignored.

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Q&A: Hyundai’s Joel Ewanick

From econoboxes to S-Class competitor; Hyundai aiming high.

by on Aug.18, 2009

Though the final name hasn't been locked down, this 2011 Hyundai Equus prototype will take aim against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Though the final name hasn't been locked down, this 2011 Hyundai Equus prototype will take aim against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Few automakers have gone through the ups-and-downs of Hyundai, the South Korean carmaker long known for its cheap, if not always reliable, automobiles.  The automaker has made significant improvements in quality, in recent years, but nonetheless shocked the industry with the successful launch, last year, of its Genesis Sedan – subsequently named North American Car of the Year by a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists.

Last week, Hyundai dropped another bombshell, announcing it will move even more up-market with next year’s planned introduction of the Equus, (Click Here for that story) a sedan targeting such Premium Luxury competitors as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.

Aim High!

Aim High!

TheDetroitBureau.com was given a chance to get behind the wheel of a pre-production version of the new car, and found it surprisingly refined yet sporty and fun to drive, despite a few hiccups – notably a slight lurch upon take-off – that are often found on early prototypes.  Despite all the upgrades, it still seems a stretch for Hyundai to go after some of the world’s finest automobiles, so we took Hyundai America’s marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, along for a drive – and a chance to ask about the car and the carmaker’s plans for its introduction.

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Sneak Peek: 2011 Hyundai Equus

New model to be positioned above Genesis sedan.

by on Aug.12, 2009

With the success of its Genesis sedan, the Korean carmaker is now confirming plans to launch the 2011 Hyundai Equus in the U.S. premium luxury market.

With the success of its Genesis sedan, the Korean carmaker is now confirming plans to launch the 2011 Hyundai Equus in the U.S. premium luxury market.

Once known for its cheap-and-cheerful little sedans and coupes, the South Korean carmaker Hyundai will continue its recent move up-market with the launch of an all-new flagship sedan.

Codenamed “VI,” and recently introduced in the Asian home market as Equus, the new car will be positioned as an even more luxurious offering than the Hyundai Genesis, which was named North American Car of the Year, by a jury of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists, in January.

No horsing around!

No horsing around!

The automaker had been debating whether to bring Equus to the States – along with an assortment of other upscale products that it is developing for Korea.  To get a sense of the U.S. market potential, Hyundai showed a concept version of Equus at April’s New York Auto Show, notes Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik.

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