AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Kia's Gangnam-Style Luxury Car
Kia is a brand that’s going places. Just a few years ago their cars were the equivalent of latex gloves; you’d use them once and throw ‘em away. But now the South Korean company is building some truly impressive, even class-leading products.
When Size Matters
Large and in charge. Big is beautiful. Size matters. Yes, there are endless clichés to support the notion that the bigger something is, the better it is. In the automotive kingdom, some vehicles not only adhere to this philosophy, but redefine it. We aren’t talking the puny realm of offerings like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry or even Dodge Charger. No, this is for the serious four wheeled hippos. The cars where it is more fun to be in the backseat than the front seat.
If you have more money to burn than the average NFL Quarterback, then there are some serious vehicles you can buy that are seriously long. How about the 220.9-inch Phantom Coupe? Not long enough for you? You could upsize to the 239.8-inch Phantom extended-wheelbase sedan, or maybe the 242.7-inch Maybach 62?
But for the rest of us mere mortals, there are some sizable vehicles out there under $100,000. Heck, two of the top ten are even under $30,000. So we will now present to you the top ten vehicles that are longer than The Hobbit.
This could be one of the best marketing ideas ever or one of the most embarrassing endorsements of all time, it’s up to you.
It’s anything but a secret: more gears mean better gas mileage. Mercedes-Benz packs a seven-speed automatic into many of its cars, Lexus uses an eight-speed transmission in its LS sedans, but these amply geared boxes are generally the things of luxury cars— until now.
We were the first to report that Hyundai had a 10-speed transmission in the works, having announced it at a tech briefing in Michigan. Hyundai has now confirmed that the transmission is under development, and will be in production as soon as possible, though details are still murky about which vehicles will get the technology. Given how aggressively automakers are pushing for better mileage year over year, it might make sense that the new gearbox would fall into Elantras or Accents rather than or alongside the luxurious Genesis and Equus. No doubt the transmission is being designed with the CAFE fuel economy regulations in mind that will come into effect fully in 2025 and expect a 54.4 mpg average rating.
We’ll keep you up to date as more emerges.
Two weeks ago, Kia officially confirmed that it would unveil a rear-wheel drive four-door sports sedan at this month’s Frankfurt auto show.
Today, sources have revealed that Kia may call the sporty sedan, the Veredus. Kia has filed for a trademark on the Veredus name, and sources have also explained that the concept is the only vehicle in the company’s short-term product plan without a name.
The concept has sleek and muscular proportions, and will likely slide in between the Hyundai Genesis and Equus in terms of size. Kia’s future product plans also include an electric vehicle and a sedan based off the forthcoming Hyundai Azera.
GALLERY: Kia Veredus
[Source: Car and Driver]
Hyundai‘s nice little publicity stunt is now over: future Equus buyers will not be getting a free Apple iPad with their luxury car (much like we didn’t when we reviewed it recently).
Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said that the iPad promotion was only available for the first year of Equus sales. Anyone who wants an Equus now will have to deal with a weighty lump of dead tree for their owner’s manual, though the iPad app is still available in the App Store.
The free iPad was a strong attraction for the initial launch of the Equus, though not necessarily a selling point—we don’t know how many people threw down $58,000 for the sake of a $500 iPad. No word on whether future Equus buyers will be stuck with a Blackberry Playbook.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s Hyundai Equus Review and see after the jump for our video:
Cadillac is getting ready to reveal a new infotainment system, and while details are tightly under wraps, the system is expected to be introduced in its 2013 models. Some sources have claimed that the luxury brands infotainment system is far more advanced then what BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi has to offer.
With Ford having difficulties with its MyFordTouch (available on its Lincoln products), it’s likely that Cadillac may offer a simplified system that uses more intuitive physical controls rather than a touch screen system. Hyundai has opted for this setup on their Equus luxury sedan, and it has won praise from critics and consumers alike.
[Source: CarTech Blog]
Hyundai’s new U.S marketing chief wants to improve customer perception brand by improving quality and design to enhance the consumers on a more emotional level.
Consumers have traditionally turned to Hyundai because of practical attributes such as value, warranty and fuel economy. However, Hyundai has expanded its U.S linup in recent years to include premium cars like the Genesis and Equus in a move to attract non-traditional demographics.
Furthermore, Hyundai has set up a program this month guaranteeing the trade-in value of models after two years of ownership, if the customer trades in their car for a new Hyundai. This follows on the heels of their Assurance program set up during the recession, which allowed buyers to return cars without a penalty or a hit to one’s credit score if there was job loss or bankruptcy within a year of purchase.
Hyundai’s sales in the U.S are vastly improving with 204,374 vehicle sales in April, a 31 percent gain from the same period in 2010.
[Source: Automotive News]
We’ve seen the renderings of Rhys Millen’s Equus project for SEMA, and while it’s still a little underwhelming of a project (especially for a SEMA car), we’re excited to see Hyundai pushing forward with the Equus and leveraging their existing partnerships to show the world what a little bit of tasteful modifications can do to a car.
Now it looks like the car was recently caught hanging outside an interior reupholstery shop in Southern California, clearly getting some last minute touches in the lead-up to the show. The exterior work seems to have been completed nicely in a flat-blue with a carbon fiber wrap over the top-half of the car. We’re surprised not to see any bodywork and we have to think that when it debuts at SEMA there will be a larger set of custom wheels.
GALLERY: Rhys Millen Racing SEMA Hyundai Equus
[Source: Inside Line]
Earlier this week Hyundai announced that it would launch the company’s Korean market Equus flagship right here in the U.S. And to help promote the car, Hyundai decided to show-off a few examples of its top-tier luxury sedan at one of the world’s most high-profile automotive events: the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
While in town to cover the concours, Hyundai invited AutoGuide along for a ride to experience some of what the Equus is all about. Test drives aren’t allowed as the cars on display are Korean prototype models (complete with Korean navigation systems and gauges in km/h) so we had to settle for being chauffeured around, which one could argue, is really the best way to experience the Equus.
Designed to compete with the world’s best, the Equus is based on the Genesis Sedan platform but is a good deal larger.
At 74.8-inches wide, it’s thicker than an S-Class or Lexus LS. The wheelbase is relatively short for this type of vehicle at 119.9-inches and with an overall length of 203.1-inches (just slightly longer than the long wheelbase LS460), don’t expect it to handle like a BMW 750i. Then again, that’s not what vehicles like this were meant for.
Inside is where the real treats are, with every imaginable luxury available. Yes, we’re talking about massaging and reclining rear seats, seat-back mounted flip up tables, LCD screen DVD players and even a fridge. The Equus also gets heated and cooled seats and privacy shades for the back and side-rear windows. One feature we particularly liked was that the side window shades pop up by pulling on the power window switch a second time – which reduces the overall number of buttons and switches in the cabin. In fact, we were surprised by the limited number of cabin-cluttering switches. Another notable feature is the fact that the front passenger seat can be adjusted from an armrest console in the rear – presumably for the comfort and convenience of executive types riding in the back.
The interior materials are definitely high quality, although not quite what you might find in a Lexus LS. Then again, the interior of the BMW 750 isn’t quite what you’d find in a Lexus either. The excessive amount of wood trim certainly isn’t one of our favorite parts, but the genuine Suede headliner is.
Equus drivers will be able to appreciate high-tech features like a back-up camera (and front-facing camera), a blind spot monitoring system, active cruise control, a 528-watt 17-speaker Lexicon audio system and an adjustable air-ride suspension. Hyundai marketing boss Joel Ewanick said that by the time the Equus makes its way to the U.S. the suspension will receive a few tweaks. Normally this means “softening,” but Ewanick surprised us by saying that it will actually be made slightly stiffer than what is offered in Korea.
Under the hood the 2011 Equus gets the same 4.6-liter V8 found in the top-level Genesis Sedan. Making 375hp it should deliver a 0-60 mph time of just over six seconds, with a quarter mile time in the low 14s.
That’s definitely off the pace of both the German and Japanese competition, but you can be sure the Equus won’t cost like a German or Japanese luxury sedan either. Official pricing won’t be released for a while yet, but with the Lexus LS starting at $63,000, you can be sure the Equus will come in under that. A sub-$60,000 price tag isn’t out of the question.
When asked about the possibility of the U.S. Equus being offered with the (rumored) 5.0-liter V8, Hyundai PR boss Jim Trainor said that the focus for now is going to be on the 4.6.
Set to hit the market as a 2011 model, the Equus will go on sale in late 2010. Look for an official debut next April at the 2010 New York Auto Show.
So with the future of the Equus in the U.S seemingly set, there are a few remaining question marks. For starters, the name. Hyundai says it is considering a name change and we wouldn’t be surprised to see one.
Another question you might have is: what about that hood ornament? Sorry to say, the brand-focused marketing folks have decided to axe the ostentatious winged creature (or whatever it is) in favor of a flush-mounted symbol. Those interested will, however, be able to get the hood ornament as a dealer installed option.
The final question for both Hyundai and the Equus is: how will it be received? Quite well, we think.
Trainor says the company has humble goals of just a few thousand units and with changing perceptions about the brand (thanks to the Genesis sedan and coupe) the Equus now offers Hyundai the chance to leapfrog established luxury brands, like Acura.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Korean automaker's flagship to take on BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS
Hyundai continues to shake up perceptions of what a Korean automaker can be, announcing today that it will offer its flagship Equus sedan in the U.S. starting next year.
The Equus is based on the same architecture as the Genesis, but is noticeably larger. Hyundai intends that it will compete with the world’s premiere luxury saloons including the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.
“We showed the car at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, and the response was fantastic,” says John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Since then, we’ve had a fleet traveling around the country, capturing input from our dealers and consumers. Here, too, the response was extraordinarily positive, and similar to the market reaction to the award-winning Genesis, so we’ve decided to bring it to the U.S.”
And as though showcasing the car at the New York Auto Show wasn’t enough of a shock to the traditionalists, Hyundai will again display the vehicle this weekend at the ultra-prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Hyundai has yet to release specifications on the new model, but it’s certain to be offered with the company’s 375hp 4.6-liter V8. Recently we reported that the Korean automaker has also developed a 5.0-liter V8 engine as well, and there is a strong possibility that powerplant could be offered in North America.
Hyundai is also undecided on whether or not its flagship will keep it’s Korean-market name, indicating that the Equus badge may be dropped in favor of a more U.S.-friendly name.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Equus
Official release after the jump:
Hyundai shocked consumers in the North American market by introducing the Genesis last year and is set to do so all over again as the flagship Equus luxury sedan is scheduled to go on sale here next year.
At the time of the announcement the Equus was slated to get the company’s largest engine, the 4.6-liter V8 found in the top-trim Genesis sedan. Now it appears Hyundai has an even bigger engine in the works, to be paired with an even larger version of the Equus.
These spy photos, taken in Ulsan, South Korea, show a long wheelbase Equus sporting a VL500 badge, indicating that the limousine will be powered by a 5.0-liter V8. With the 4.6-liter unit making 375hp, the five-liter should certainly produce as much as 400 ponies.
The new flagship for Hyundai will get several other enhancements, including LED headlights and, no-doubt, numerous lavish luxurious features.
GALLERY: Hyundai Equus VL500
Hyundai will bring its top-level Equus luxury sedan to North America next summer. While buyers of German luxury sedans like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class aren’t likely to buy Korean (not yet anyway), Hyundai thinks it will attract enough Lexus LS buyers to make the Equus a viable business plan.
According to a company insider the Equus, which is based on the Genesis platform, will come equipped exclusively with the company’s 375-hp 4.6-liter V8 engine. Pricing is expected to be just below the $60,000 mark – $5,000 less than the Lexus.
In comparison, a fully-loaded Genesis sedan costs about $43,000.
Currently the Equus is one sale in Korean with pricing ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $81,000.
Hyundai had the Equus on display at the New York Auto Show this year to see what sort of interest there was in the car. The reactions must have been positive because not long afterward the Korean automaker announced that it would bring 100 models to the U.S. for dealers to show off. Some of those models are equipped with such luxurious amenities as tilting rear seats with massages and LCD screens mounted in the headrests.
Hyundai has already surprised the luxury segment with the mid-level Genesis luxury sedan, but the question remains whether it can take on the top-tier cars or if the Equus will be the next VW Phaeton.
Korean carmaker testing waters with flagship vehicle built to take on 7-Series, Lexus LS
Hyundai continues to flirt with the luxury market as the automaker has now announced that it will ship 100 of its flagship Equus luxury sedans to U.S. dealerships to gauge interest.
The Equus is based of the same platform as the Genesis Sedan, which launched in 2008, but is even larger, taking aim at the world’s top-level luxury saloons, including the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.
It is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine (also offered in the Genesis Sedan) that makes 375hp.
Already on sale in South Korea, Hyundai first showed the car in North America at the New York Auto Show – a publicity also aimed at gauging interest in the U.S. market.
Whether or not the Equus will ever go on sale in the U.S. will have to be seen. The Genesis Sedan was considered by many to be a risky move and it’s likely the success of the Korean luxury car is due, in part, to the poor economy, as those interested in a luxury car were eager for a bargain.
Bringing the Equus sedan to the U.S. would prove even more challenging as courting flagship luxury buyers away from German models won’t be easy. (Then again, Toyota did it with Lexus).
We do, however, question Hyundai’s approach as those interested in a $75,000 luxury sedan aren’t likely to frequent Hyundai dealerships. Perhaps parking it outside the Ritz-Carlton would be wiser.
As though there was any doubt that the Hyundai Equus luxury sedan was headed to the U.S. market, Hyundai has all but made it official, bringing the high-luxury sedan to the New York Auto Show.
Hyundai doesn’t hold its press conference until tomorrow, but we can tell you a few detail now. For starters the Equus is a BIG car in person and was designed to take on top-level luxury cruise liners like the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Lexus LS.
Models will come with the 4.6-liter V8 found in the Genesis Sedan and feature a six-speed automatic transmission. It will be rear wheel drive with a 52/48 weight distribution for ideal handling. Also helping in the handling department are a set of Sachs shocks.
Other standard features include a 17-speaker sound system and 9 airbags, as well as heated, cooled and massaging leather seats with a heated steering wheel.
Hyundai has said that the Equus will be sold in China and the Middle East by the end of 2009. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow, however, to see when it will set sail from Korea for U.S. shores.