Car & Driver Comparison: Lexus LS 460L vs. Hyundai Equus


Lexus LS 460L AWD vs. Hyundai Equus

In a classic Car & Driver move, the magazine has taken a $98k Lexus LS 460L AWD and compared it against the new $65k Hyundai Equus, then declared the winner based almost entirely on price:

Were this match based on price alone, we might have pitted an Equus with the Ultimate package ($65,400) against a base LS460 ($66,255), although that would have been limo versus size-XL sedan. Instead, we stacked the Equus against the mighty 4961-pound LS460L AWD dripping with automotive frippery, including a $5860 sleepy-driver alert and $13,200 worth of “Executive Class” rear seats. Limo versus limo. Note the way the Equus undercuts the six-figure Lexus. Just like Lexus undercut Mercedes 20 years ago.

In 1989, a bunch of us cringed at the notion of a $35,000 Toyota. A couple decades shoot past, and we’re staring down a near-$100K Toyota with a hand-sanded body. The original LS400 turned out to be a bargain. Today’s version? Not so much. Our as-tested LS460L cost 50 percent more than the Equus. It thus scored 10 fewer value-for-money points, and that alone was enough to relegate it to second place.

Let’s ignore the fact that C&D loaded up the LS to a ridiculous level then made that the sole reason for Hyundai’s win — what’s missing in this whole Hyundai is Lexus 2.0 comparison is that when Lexus debuted the LS 400 against the Mercedes S-Class & BMW 7-Series, it wasn’t just cheaper, it was noticeably better in almost ever regard — that’s just not the case here.

Not to take away from Hyundai’s achievement, but the Equus is nothing but a copy, and that just can’t stack up against what the LS has become — even Car & Driver gets that:

…we’re serious about this—every car guy on the planet, just once, should experience the LS’s profoundly isolated, tomb-like cockpit. It’s like driving to work in the Bodleian Library. Rest your left arm on the upper doorsill, and you’ll hear your wristwatch ticking. Mat the throttle, and, yeah, there’s a distant V-8 snarl, but the muted whoosh could just as well be emanating from the trunk.

[Source: Car & Driver]

Comments


  • Antwan

    Im sorry C&D this was nothing but crap!!! I agree with Lexus Ent. that it was soley based on price but come on Hyundai over Lexus its no way. It worked 20years ago with lexus over Bmw and MB but I dont think history will repeat itself with Hyundai. the Eqqus is cute but the LS460 is a statement. Aint no rapper gonna rap about a Hyundai…lol;-)

  • Lexus Ben

    Lexus LS series should have been compared to S class and 7 series, it’s funny how often Toyota/Lexus product always get picked on for no good reason, why don’t they compare the Hyundai to Benz/BMW instead? ALL BS…. thats why I have not buy any Car magazine since 05 so biased against anything other than BMW. Not worth my time to read those crap

  • Eljay

    Well,that´s automotive journalists for you;one single brain cell among them,and it got mislaid during a BMW 503 test drive fifty-odd years ago…

  • LEXUSBOY

    Krew made a very valid point which C&D seems to have missed- “what’s missing in this whole Hyundai is Lexus 2.0 comparison is that when Lexus debuted the LS 400 against the Mercedes S-Class & BMW 7-Series, it wasn’t just cheaper, it was noticeably better in almost ever regard — that’s just not the case here”.
    I think the Equus is a good achievement by Hyundai, a luxury product that neither Acura or Infiniti could get right, but to rank it above the ground-breaking LS simply based on price is plain ridiculous. Also they should have used the RWD 460L which is $3000 cheaper with more bhp & torque. The Equus has come at a time when competition in the LS class is fierce & it just may have to exit through the same door taken by the Q45 & Phaeton.

  • Andy M

    I love the fact that everyone aims for Lexus/Toyota. I guess being on top of the game that’s what should be expected. But to compare a LS that is built only by Special Order to a Equus that you can find on the lot is idiotic !!

    Reminds me again why I it was a good idea to drop C&D.

  • anon

    [quote author="Antwan"] Aint no rapper gonna rap about a Hyundai…lol;-)[/quote]Kayne already did. “…will see him on TV Any Given Sunday, Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai” hahaha

  • Mike DeLorca

    Totally agreee with evryone—–C&D needs an overhaul in their jounalism department. The real winner will stay afloat and we all know who that is ! So much hate towards LEXUS since they continue to lead and excel. Stay tune though—-LEXUS will notlet moss grow under foot—expect leading new products.

  • JVX

    In the latest Fortune magazine, one of the automakers that Toyota fear the most is Hyundai. The Koreans should not be left un-notice. What the Japaneses did to the Germans is what the Koreans are trying to do to Japaneses as well as the Germans.

    After Toyota success, Hyundai and Kia follow the Japanese production style by implementing Six-Sigma and LEAN to help production cost down as well as improve on quality. Their main goal now is to improve on quality.

    As much as I love Lexus and happy to see a lot of Lexus followers, I have to give Hyundai lots of kudos for their achievement. I hope Toyota don’t play the same game that the German did with the mind-set that Lexus is just another Toyota as the Equus is just another low-end Hyundai.

    Source:[url]http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/04/autos/hyundai_competition.fortune/index.htm[/url]

  • JVX

    As for C&D comparison, I do agree with other members. It seems like they’re always against Toyota. They need to accept the fact that Lexus is the real deal. They may as well say that the Equus would win the same competition if it were compare to BMW and Mercedez, since Lexus is better than BMW and Mercedez.

  • http://yahoo da1brklyn

    I guess 20 years of groundbreaking innovations and technology,countless awards and industry firsts didnt matter to C&D

  • Jesus built my Lexus

    Do auto journalist ever factor resale value into their equations?

    Yes the Lexus costs considerably more than the Hyundai, but 3-4 years from now it will also be worth more. A significant amount more.

    Hyundai seams to be more concerned about new car sales than residual values.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    LEXUSBOY wrote:I think the Equus is a good achievement by Hyundai, a luxury product that neither Acura or Infiniti could get right, but to rank it above the ground-breaking LS simply based on price is plain ridiculous. Also they should have used the RWD 460L which is $3000 cheaper with more bhp & torque. The Equus has come at a time when competition in the LS class is fierce & it just may have to exit through the same door taken by the Q45 & Phaeton.

    I’ll be the first to admit that the Equus is an amazing achievement for Hyundai, and should put both Acura, Infiniti & Cadillac on notice — none of those companies can compete with the Equus. But bringing the LS into a comparison, well, it’s just no comparison. Different leagues.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    Andy M wrote:I love the fact that everyone aims for Lexus/Toyota. I guess being on top of the game that’s what should be expected. But to compare a LS that is built only by Special Order to a Equus that you can find on the lot is idiotic !!

    Reminds me again why I it was a good idea to drop C&D.

    It certainly does seem like everyone’s got Lexus in the mind — and it only means Lexus will have to try harder to stay in front of the competition. Good news all round! 8-)

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    JVX wrote:In the latest Fortune magazine, one of the automakers that Toyota fear the most is Hyundai. The Koreans should not be left un-notice. What the Japaneses did to the Germans is what the Koreans are trying to do to Japaneses as well as the Germans.

    After Toyota success, Hyundai and Kia follow the Japanese production style by implementing Six-Sigma and LEAN to help production cost down as well as improve on quality. Their main goal now is to improve on quality.

    As much as I love Lexus and happy to see a lot of Lexus followers, I have to give Hyundai lots of kudos for their achievement. I hope Toyota don’t play the same game that the German did with the mind-set that Lexus is just another Toyota as the Equus is just another low-end Hyundai.

    Source:http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/04/autos/hyundai_competition.fortune/index.htm

    Great comment, and I agree totally. Brings up an interesting point — while I don’t think the people looking at flagship sedans will pay much attention to a $65k Hyundai, I really believe all luxury car manufacturers are watching the Genesis & Equus VERY closely.

    Now, if Hyundai mans up and creates a separate sub-brand for these luxury cars, that’s a completely different game — if they do that, I think it would only be a matter of time until it was considered a full & true competitor to Mercedes, BMW & Lexus. But they won’t be able to play the game on price alone.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    da1brklyn wrote:I guess 20 years of groundbreaking innovations and technology,countless awards and industry firsts didnt matter to C&D

    It very rarely does, unfortunately. >:-(

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    Jesus built my Lexus wrote:Do auto journalist ever factor resale value into their equations?

    Yes the Lexus costs considerably more than the Hyundai, but 3-4 years from now it will also be worth more. A significant amount more.

    Hyundai seams to be more concerned about new car sales than residual values.

    For this competition, I don’t think they looked much beyond performance specs and pricing — which makes it a poor recommendation in my mind.

  • Antwan

    @da1brklyn: Thats true i guess they skipped all that and just made a decision I wonder how much automakers pay C&D to down play lexus!!:-P

  • RollaXRS

    Well, CarAndDriver declared the Lexus LFA the winner over the 599 GTB HGTE in a head to head comparison so I have no complaints against C&D. 8-)

  • RollaXRS

    And you can’t accuse them of being “biased” since they declared a Lexus winner over nothing less than a Ferrari.

  • BOSS

    I hate that stupid Equus, the car looks dumb,out of proportion, a bunch of cars into one, I’m embarrassed they even consider of comparing it to the LS. Burn this crap! I’ve always hated anything coming from Korea, bunch of copied cars. No biased btw.8-)

  • emptystreets130

    I’ll remain netural and say what I have to say.

    I think everyone here is forgetting that Hyundai has had the Equus out since 1999. So Hyundai has a thing or 2 about making a luxury sedan. Big deal, they’re just playing the same game that Toyota did 2 decades ago with Lexus. What is stupid is that everyone here is blinded by what name it wears and not the engineering that goes into every vehicle. Toyota was the one that told Denso not to sell parts to Hyundai and look at where Toyota is now? Recalls, one of their Denso off raided, and a whole bunch of lawsuit because we like to blow things out of proportion, yet no one else in the world or in any other states experience this unintended acceleration. Just a big scam from the goverenment who is trying to reimage GM and Chrysler.

    Is it wrong for Hyundai to make a Luxury brand/vehicle? Was it wrong for Toyota, Honda, or Nissan to make a luxury brand/vehicle 2 decades ago? So why can’t anyone here except that Hyundai can make a Luxury vehicle. Pretty much everyone here who post is biased towards Lexus.

    Hyundai has still has some kinks to iron out to shake it’s past image; it’s no different than Toyota who had to prove itself back in the 60s.

    Granted, I perfer the LS over the Equus or a GS over the Genesis until Hyundai does something big with their Luxury division.

  • BOSS

    @emptystreets130:

    It is not wrong for them to make a Luxury car, but please dont compare it to the LS which spent over $1 billion US in developing expenses. The LS was tested and tested and tested to be superior. No disrespect to Hyundai but you can’t just come into the ring just because you think you can box.8-)

  • emptystreets130

    @BOSS:

    Then it was wrong to compare the LS to the 7 series or S class back in ’89. I don’t see your logic. What is Hyundai doing wrong that Toyota did right back then?

  • emptystreets130

    I wish I could edit my reply, but to add on, ….beside making a separate brand. Hyundai is just testing the water and could later step it up a notch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LexusandThePursuit WorldofLuxury

    Nice picture of the LS 460 L. That would be one of the few pictures in which I don’t immediately desire the hybrid version for representation.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    emptystreets130 wrote:Is it wrong for Hyundai to make a Luxury brand/vehicle? Was it wrong for Toyota, Honda, or Nissan to make a luxury brand/vehicle 2 decades ago? So why can’t anyone here except that Hyundai can make a Luxury vehicle. Pretty much everyone here who post is biased towards Lexus.

    Hyundai has still has some kinks to iron out to shake it’s past image; it’s no different than Toyota who had to prove itself back in the 60s.

    Granted, I perfer the LS over the Equus or a GS over the Genesis until Hyundai does something big with their Luxury division.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong whatsoever with Hyundai starting a luxury brand (though I do think they’re doing it an injustice by keeping it under the Hyundai brand), I just don’t think you can take the Equus, put it up against the LS, and say they’re on par, or that the Equus is better because it’s cheaper.

    That said, the LS is sacred ground for me, and after sitting in the Equus, I just don’t see the comparison.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    emptystreets130 wrote:Then it was wrong to compare the LS to the 7 series or S class back in ’89. I don’t see your logic. What is Hyundai doing wrong that Toyota did right back then?

    But the LS was so much better than the competition at the time — noise levels, build quality, reliability, smoothness, dealer experience, value — the Equus just isn’t playing with the same deck of cards.

  • Troub

    Where do I submit a minor – but critical to me – comment about the small size of the front license bracket holder on the 2010 RX350. It needs to be the size of a US plate for US marketed cars. We have had two plates bent in auto washes. I apologize that this does not follow the story line. Hope you will help me get this to the right place in Lexus. Perhaps a “fix” might be in order.

  • emptystreets130

    @Troub:

    Probably the dealer. I wouldn’t say it’s just Lexus. Other manufacture has those flimsily bracket. But I wouldn’t take my car to any car wash that can bend a front plate. That right there is a big no no and has to do something with the car wash itself.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    Troub wrote:Where do I submit a minor – but critical to me – comment about the small size of the front license bracket holder on the 2010 RX350. It needs to be the size of a US plate for US marketed cars. We have had two plates bent in auto washes. I apologize that this does not follow the story line. Hope you will help me get this to the right place in Lexus. Perhaps a “fix” might be in order.

    The best thing to do is contact Lexus if you have a complaint, but I have to agree with @emptystreets130 — I’d stay away from a car wash that can bend your license plate.

  • Travis

    The Hyundia only beats the LS in price.. and that because its a Hyundia…

    If you want the real deal with no corners cut. Get the Lexus… if you wanna experaince what a Lexus would feel like. Get the Equus.

  • Travis

    “A couple decades shoot past, and we’re staring down a near-$100K Toyota with a hand-sanded body.”

    Current Lexus cars have almost nothing in common with Toyotas… they dont even perform the same.. man wha a bias article on their part. Lexus has proved themselves over all these years.. The Equus is a copy of many cars from interior to exterior.. that alone wouldn’t make me buy it. Good for the money yes.. but in the back of my mind i couldn’t help but think I brought a knock off…

  • http://www.facebook.com/LexusandThePursuit WorldofLuxury

    emptystreets130 wrote:@Troub:

    Probably the dealer. I wouldn’t say it’s just Lexus. Other manufacture has those flimsily bracket. But I wouldn’t take my car to any car wash that can bend a front plate. That right there is a big no no and has to do something with the car wash itself.

    I remember how Longo used to have those stiff, metal(-like?) frames. Now, they’re just flimsy plastic ones. With the metal ones, I could squeeze a sponge under the license plate with the frame screwed on top, so when I closed the trunk of the cars, the frame wouldn’t rattle. You can’t do that with the flimsy ones >:-(

  • LEXUSBOY

    The Equus has LED front & rear indicators which the LS doesn’t have. Merc S,BMW 7,Maserati QP,Panamera etc all have ‘em

  • Ken

    Well, the first LED headlumps were equipped on Lexus LS 600h, others followed the trend.
    I have heard that current safety regulation in Korea doesn’t approve LED headlamps for vehicles, so Lexus LS sold in Korea are equipped with ordinary headlupms instead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LexusandThePursuit WorldofLuxury

    Ken wrote:Well, the first LED headlumps were equipped on Lexus LS 600h, others followed the trend.I have heard that current safety regulation in Korea doesn’t approve LED headlamps for vehicles, so Lexus LS sold in Korea are equipped with ordinary headlupms instead.

    Same for mainland China. The LSh there also has standard headlights but with the hybrid blue tinting. The LS has had problems in many countries before in terms of getting things approved – e.g. US for the rear-collision system. I wonder how much expense these government regulations add.

  • Ken

    @WorldofLuxury:

    It must cost a lot to pass all the govermentments’ regulations from every counties they sold, hey?
    Talking about regulations, in Japan, the rear turn signal must be a differnt colour to rear break light. Every car sold in Japan has yellow rear turn singnal, including the one equipped with red turn singal in US.
    This is a symple case, but it must add bit by bit. Its makes sense that manifactures want to built a car where it sold.

  • Joe

    what separates Lexus apart from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Hyundai is the super reliability. Equus’ reliability is yet to be proven, but Lexus don’t waste your precious life time going in and out of the dealer like MBW, Mercedes, Audi, and any other luxury cars. I have 1999 LS400 with 180+miles and what i do with it? point A to B on Luxury seat with one of the best sound. Occasional drive to unpaved rough road in mexico is still fine. super comfortable. I’ve driven my family of 5 making a round trip to Ensenada Mexico from Irvine at one full gas tank means a lot. I get 27 miles per gallon on highway. simply amazing. can other cars can do that? if you know let me know. Equus is nice looking car. some angles does look similar to Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Bently, and Lexus, but it came out okay and it looks good. If the car has reasonable price, luxury enough, and sporty enough with reliability and a good resale value, then the history will definitely repeat itself, just like when LS first launched.