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Hyundai Equus starts at $58,000

October 19, 2010 |  9:44 am

Hyundai Motor America on Tuesday said that its new Equus luxury sedan will cost $58,000, or $64,500, when it goes on sale in December, depending on the trim level.

The Equus, which Hyundai wants to compete with expensive luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz, Lexus  Equus and BMW, is the South Korean automaker’s first venture into the highest reaches of the luxury market.  Previously, Hyundai has sold a line of Genesis autos, which sell for about $25,000 less, depending on the model.

Auto analysts have described the Equus as a competent luxury car but say Hyundai, which is known for building solid, but far less expensive vehicles such as the Sonata mid-sized sedan and Tucson SUV, may have trouble cracking the luxury-auto market dominated by European nameplates and Toyota’s Lexus brand.

Buyers won't have to set foot in a dealership to purchase or even service their Equuses. Hyundai will dispatch a vehicle to a customer's home for a test drive. Service is valet-style -- Hyundai will pick up the car and drop off a loaner until the owner's Equus is returned. Appointments can be made electronically through the Apple iPad that serves as the owner's manual and is included with each Equus lease or purchase.

The cars feature a burled wood dashboard and steering wheel, soft leather upholstery, brushed metal accents and a spacious interior. The driver's seat has a built-in massage system. It has a powerful 4.6-liter, V-8 engine with 385 horsepower and nine airbags help keep passengers safe. The cars won’t say Hyundai anywhere on the body. Only the company’s "Flying H" corporate logo on the trunk lid gives any clue to the car's origins.

The Equus Signature model will be priced at $58,000 and the top-of-the-line Equus Ultimate at $64,500.

-- Jerry Hirsch 

Photo: Hyundai Equus sedan. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times