The 2012 Hyundai Equus Signature: super-luxury, served Korean style
The Hyundai brand is best known in the United States for their lineup of popular economy cars including the Elantra and the Sonata with prices that tend to stay in the low 20,000 range – all the more reason for critics of the Equus to question the near-60k price tag. However, Hyundai is easily among the most improved automakers in the US auto industry over the past decade. While the Hyundai brand of the late 1990s and early 2000s would have been an awkward place for a super-premium luxury sedan, the Equus stands as a shining symbol of just how much the brand has improved. While their high volume vehicles like the Elantra, Sonata and Genesis family are the bread and butter, the Equus shows that the brand is capable of far, far more than just $20,000 economy cars.
The 2012 Hyundai Equus sports the big, bold styling that has become expected of the full size luxury sedan segment but unlike the other Hyundai models – the Equus does not sport the aggressive design with respect to the rest of the segment. While models like the Sonata, the Elantra, the Veloster and the Tucson are far more aggressive in their exterior design than many of their competition’s models of the same segments – the Equus has a slightly less radical design. However, the design cues of the Hyundai brand are still very much there even though the Equus wears a badge of its own on the hood and wheels with an abstract bird emblazoned in chrome.
Across the front, the 2012 Hyundai Equus wears large headlight housings that stretch out along the fenders with a classy projection and LED combo providing great light along with an eye-catching look. Below the headlights are bold chrome trim pieces that follow the contour of the lens and below those are a lower fascia area with chrome fog light bezels and three large air inlets. The centerpiece of the Equus front end is the massive chrome grille with thin horizontal bars and a thick center dividing bar. This front end of the Equus is not as aggressive as some of the other Hyundai models (Veloster, Genesis Coupe) but the Korean automaker has done a great job of applying “their look” to the front end of this super-sedan in a very luxurious layout.
Along the sides, the 2012 Hyundai Equus has a very fluid design with only a subtle body line running from the front end through the front door handles with a rear angle cutting up in front of the rear door handles – forming a wide, muscular rear end. The Equus packs plenty of chrome and down the sides there are chrome trim pieces along the lower skirts, the door handles, on the side mirrors, around the side windows and – of course – on the distinct Equus branded 19” aluminum wheels. The side profile of the Equus gives it a very powerful, upright design while the long greenhouse gives the sedan a slippery look without compromising head room inside. The rear roofline flows through the back glass and into a short trunk lid, a design which adds some sportiness to the brawny luxury sedan.
Out back, the Hyundai Equus has more chrome on the upper edges of the rear fascia, on an appliqué above the license plate area and in the angular, molded exhaust tips. The Equus wears large, predominantly red tail lights with only a pair of long, thin strips providing light when backing up. These lights pour down into the middle of the fascia – completing the flowing look of the Hyundai design theme.