6 Best & Worst Hyundai Equus Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Hyundai Equus is a large car that was produced from model year 2011 to 2016.

It is a modest vehicle on the outside that is packed with a powerful engine, a premium interior, and lots of safety features.

In this article, we’ll be discussing all of the best and worst model years of the Equus.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Hyundai Equus Are:

The best Hyundai Equus model years are 2016, 2015, and 2012. The worst model years of this model are 2014, 2013, and 2011. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Hyundai Equus?

2016 and 2015 Hyundai Equus

The 2016 and 2015 Equus models are the final model years of the lineup and have been widely regarded as the best iterations ever offered.

Other than a hands-free trunk feature, these 2 models are identical in all aspects.

There are 2 available trim levels: Signature and Ultimate.

Regardless of trim, this sedan is powered by a gigantic 5-liter V8 engine that produces 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.

Despite having a large engine, fuel economy is quite reasonable for the segment. The EPA claims that the Equus can achieve as high as 18 MPG for combined city and highway driving.

Noteworthy safety features include the following:

  • Backup camera
  • Blindspot monitoring
  • Lane departure warning
  • Alarm system
  • Tire pressure warning
  • Stability control
  • Pre-collision safety system

2016 Hyundai Equus:

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2015 Hyundai Equus:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2015 Hyundai Equus, Edmunds Review:

“ … This is the best riding, smoothest vehicle I have ever owned and driven. I have driven all Mercedes, BMWs, Range Rovers, Bentleys, etc., and none of them match the handling and sophistication of this car. The car feels as if it were formed using a solid piece of steel and the suspension system is controlled electronically at all times by air…”

2012 Hyundai Equus

The 2012 Equus is the second model year produced and is a positive departure from the very problematic 2011 model.

It gets a new 5-liter V8 engine paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission system.

For the Ultimate trim, power rear side window shades have become standard.

For all intents and purposes, however, we would recommend getting the entry-level Signature trim instead. 

This variant features 19-inch wheels, adjustable air suspension (with adaptive dampers), a lane departure warning system, and even adaptive cruise control.

Positive aspects of this model year, according to reviews online, are as follows:

  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Reliability
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Interior
  • Ride quality
  • Driving experience
  • Safety

Both the Signature and Ultimate trim levels have an EPA-certified fuel economy of as much as 18 MPG for combined city and highway driving. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2012 Hyundai Equus, Edmunds Review:

“I have been driving a BMW 7 series for the last twenty years and now have a new Equus Ultimate model and cannot imagine a better value. It has the same features as any of the available flagships for 30 – 40k less. As Hyundai gains market share, it will certainly appreciate in value. Opportunities like this rarely come along. I am in love with this car! Thank you, Hyundai.”

Consumer Scores For Best Hyundai Equus Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2016 Hyundai Equus4.5 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NA
2015 Hyundai Equus4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NA
2012 Hyundai Equus4.3 / 5.04.6 / 5.081 / 100

Related: 11 Best & Worst Hyundai Azera Years (With Data & Stats)

What Are The Worst Years For The Hyundai Equus?

2014 and 2013 Hyundai Equus

While both model years shared similar issues, the 2014 Equus is more problematic than the 2013 model. In fact, the 2014 model year is statistically the most complained-about vehicle in the model’s history.

The most widespread issues (as reported by owners online) are a faulty suspension, electrical problems, and issues with the cruise control function.

Owners reported recurring failure of suspension despite having it repaired multiple times. Symptoms of this major failure include:

  • Air ride suspension failure
  • Alignment issues
  • Balance problems
  • Front-end collapse

“The struts went out while I was driving. After it went out, the tires would touch the fender of the car. It damaged the passenger side and driver side of my front fender. It also rubbed the tread away from the tire due to rubbing against the fender. It was not safe to drive because it was so low to the ground that I almost tore the front fender off.” – CarProblemZoo.com

These models’ warning lights would often flash and chime without any indication or symptom of an actual problem. Headlights and tail lights would also occasionally fail to operate during driving.

These instances mean that there may be a wiring issue with the vehicle which has led to the activation of limp mode (limiting vehicle speed and acceleration).

“I am unable. To drive my car anywhere. Each time I start my car. All warning lights flash like a Christmas light. It causes the car to suddenly be slowed down or not to go full speed…” – CarProblemZoo.com

Finally, the cruise control has been reported to be severely unreliable.

During travel, owners reported unintended acceleration, loss of power, and failure to achieve target/maintenance speed. 

What made things more complicated, according to some, is the fact that error codes did not pop up, limiting the ability of car technicians to provide a meaningful fix.

“Sporadically in wet or damp conditions the car on startup may rev past 5000 rpm and will not stop. Touch accelerator will not change, must turn off and restart several times. Car will also while in motion display ‘service engine immediately vehicle speed limited due to malfunction.‘ Speed is not limited, the car will accelerate on its own…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2014 Hyundai Equus had a total of 12 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 38 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2013 Hyundai Equus had a total of 4 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 13 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Shrinkage of leather dashboard cover
  • Daytime running lights (DRL) not working
  • Actuator not working
  • Multiple electrical problems
  • Bangs into gear
  • Display screen freezes

2011 Hyundai Equus

The 2011 Equus is the second most problematic model year ever produced. It had a series of major issues that compromised the overall safety of the driver and passengers on the road. 

Chief among the problems reported online is a defective suspension system. 

Owners talked about recurring front end lowering, air suspension failure, and alignment issues, which all contributed to a rough and unreliable ride.

“While we were driving the car, the car’s front suspension suddenly failed, the front collapsed and the body of the car nearly touched the ground on flat grounds and dragged against the ground on inclines and declines. The wheels rubbed against the body of the car on turns and the car became very unstable and started to shake. This episode has occurred thrice despite the manufacturer’s repairs.” – CarProblemZoo.com

Numerous owners also complained about defective brakes. There were instances of the brake pedal sinking to the floor, significantly reducing the ability of the driver to apply brake pressure.

“Car brakes failed to slow the car in emergency traffic on the highway, brakes were working fine then the pedal went into the flood and almost hit the car ahead. Rear brakes were new, the front pads, but the brake pedal still goes to the floor…” – CarProblemZoo.com

Finally, there were also various electrical system problems. Some reports indicated total instrument panel failure, malfunctioning electronics, burnt components, and even the trunk opening at random.

“The contact owns a 2011 Hyundai Equus. The contact stated that the vehicle was parked in a residential garage with the engine turned off. When the contact entered the vehicle, he noticed brownish soot within the interior of the vehicle. The driver’s side door area and seat were burnt…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2011 Hyundai Equus had a total of 10 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 30 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Rough driving
  • Moderate crosswind makes car change lanes
  • Will not accelerate

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2016 Hyundai Equus190
2015 Hyundai Equus590
2014 Hyundai Equus12380
2013 Hyundai Equus4131
2012 Hyundai Equus1051
2011 Hyundai Equus10302

What Problems Do Hyundai Equus Have?

  • Struts failed
  • Shrinkage of leather dashboard cover
  • Lost all power while driving
  • Daytime running lights (DRL) do not work
  • Actuator not working
  • Exhaust emits black soot
  • Rough driving
  • Moderate crosswind makes car change lanes
  • Will not accelerate

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Hyundai Equus?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
BMW 6-Series7.8$26,105 – $45,069City: 14 – 20 /Highway: 20 – 31
Cadillac CT67.8$20,386 – $31,303City: 18 – 22 /Highway: 26 – 31
Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class7.8$21,972 – $36,075City: 16 – 20 /Highway: 22 – 30
Cadillac XTS7..7$16,396 – $24,441City: 16 – 18 /Highway: 23 – 28
Kia K9007.7$16,354 – $22,936City: 15 – 17 /Highway: 23 – 26
Audi A77.6$26,549 – $40,403City: 15 – 25 /Highway: 25 – 38
Acura RLX7.5$21,556 – $29,526City: 20 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 32
Hyundai Equus7.5$24,380 – $27,254City: 15 /Highway: 23
Lincoln MKS7.0$16,293 – $19,658City: 16 – 17 /Highway: 24 – 26

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: 8 Best & Worst Hyundai Genesis Years (Facts & Stats)



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...