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More Or Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts?

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On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 10:27AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

More Or Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts?

I'd like to gauge your reaction on something. I'm going to describe a mystery car to you and then you have to judge whether or not you would be interested in it. Ready? Okay here goes:


This is a luxury car with all the trimmings. First and foremost, let me say that it is no slouch, starting off with a healthy 4.6 liter V8 pumping out 375 horsepower on premium fuel, or run 368 horsepower on regular gas. It has a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts about as seamlessly as you could hope for, not that you'll spend much time listening to the engine as your firmly grip the leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. Or while you're enveloped and massaged (yes, massaged) by supple heated (or cooled) leather seats, surrounded by walnut or birch trim and an Alcantara headliner.  


You may also not fully be aware that you are riding on an air suspension that sits on 19-inch wheels, and you certainly won't notice the nine airbags that surround you, or the adaptive cruise control, lane-departure system, or collision warning, that it is, of course, until you really need them. What you will notice, however, are the adaptive HID headlights, and the eight-inch navigation screen connected to an impressive 608-watt, 17-speaker stereo (replete with iPod hookup and XM Satellite radio), as well as the backup camera with parking sensors.  


All of those options come on both versions of this mystery car.   However there is an upper tier version of this luxo-cruiser called the "Ultimate" version, and as you can imagine, it is well ... Ultimately gratifying.  The Ultimate is more for the owner that wants to sit in the rear and be driven, rather than up front bothering with all of that pesky driving.  In back, you can sit in one of two seats that match the front's ability to heat, cool, and recline.  There is also a built in DVD player, refrigerator, as well as controls for temperature and sound system.  The passenger side back seat is the king's throne of the car.  If you are among the few to make enough money to be able to sit there, this car will make you feel like you are worth even more than you probably are.  The back right seat has an extendable leg rest (that can extend as far as your legs can with a switch that moves the front passenger seat forward to accommodate your stretching needs).  That same back seat also has a massage feature, just in case you need it.  You might be interested in the power trunklid or the forward-facing camera, but odds are your driver will enjoy those features more than you might, but sometimes giving back feels good too.

So far, how does this car sound to you? Probably not too bad, I'm guessing? Well, if you are still on the fence about it, the company will also replace all of the wear items (brake pads, filters, etc.) free for the first five years or 60,000 miles, and a company rep will also pick up your car from your house and leave a loaner car in its stead.

Okay, so now that you have an idea of what this car offers, do you think you might be interested? Sounds nice, doesn't it? How much would you expect to pay for a car like this? Think it over. Come up with a number.

Now, what if I told you that the price of the standard version of this car is $58,900 and the Ultimate version will run you $65,400? Probably a little less than you might have thought? So let's review: We've established that I have here a very luxurious, affordable automobile, and capable of pampering anyone on almost any professional budget, and offers about as much state-of-the-art technology as a NASA space shuttle. So, why would I pose a silly scenario to you that has such an obvious answer? Well, what if I told you that luxury-laden land-goer was, in fact, a Hyundai? Yes, Hyundai. Yes,that Hyundai.

The mystery car is the new Hyundai Equus, and now that that secret is out of the bag, the bigger mystery that no one has the answer to just yet is will it sell? Well, It all depends on how you might have initially reacted. Hyundai wants the public to see the Equus as a quality option to the big-ticket boys, or even luxury at a discount. They are hoping that the Equus will appeal to those who have been humbled by the financial woes of the stock market in recent years, but are willing to cut back, but not give up on their accustomed lifestyle. But what Hyundai does not want is people to see the Equus as a whole being less than the sum of its parts, meaning the name plate actually hurting the car. Hyundai may be fighting an uphill battle, however, because of the propensity for one-upmanship that goes along with the super-salaried.

Will the Hyundai Equus become the thinking man's luxury sedan, or will it become a victim of the very name that has brought it to the market in the first place? Well, until the car hits select showrooms this December the answer to that question is, of course ... A mystery.

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James Roberts | 12:16PM (Wed, Nov 10, 2010)

I sat in this car at the NY car show and it is nice at twice the price. I would take it over any Mercedes including the Maybach which is 5 times the price and they won't come to your house as I know for a fact! The cute model showing off the car also stated that the drivers manual comes on an ipad that fits in the glove box... I WANT ONE

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