Thursday, April 8, 2010

NY Auto Show Best of the Best Cars: Hyundai Equus


Here are the five best cars of the 2010 New York International Auto Show, which runs through April 12. The most significant new car is the Hyundai Equus, a premium luxury car meant to match the Lexus LS 460 but with a price $10,000-$15,000 less. Hyundai shook the car world two years ago at the New York show with the $38,000 Hyundai Genesis, which some writers (me included) likened to an LS 460 at half the price. Hyundai stretched the Genesis chassis half a foot to make it three inches longer not shorter than the LS 460. Most every luxury offered in a Lexus (or Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series), you'll find offered in the Hyundai Equus from active cruise control to massaging seats (front and right rear).

The look of the Hyundai Equus is handsome but generic in a big-international-car sort of way. As with the Genesis, Hyundai omitted the italicized H logo from the front so you'll be excused for thinking it's a Lexus or Mercedes headed your way.

The Hyundai Equus is the most significant car of the New York show because Hyundai redefined what it takes to create a first-class, world-class, full-size luxury car. If it's a too-close-for-comfort replica of a big Lexus, that means the air suspension will be a bit too soft for the tastes of the Audi-BMW-Mercedes crowd, but that audience sniffs at anything not designed within 100 miles of the Alps. For everyone else, it's awesome. One suggestion, Hyundai: Lose the chrome rims before you ship the Equus. What's tasteful in L.A. is over-the-top elsewhere.

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