Hyundai reveals new face of the 2014 Equus in teaser video

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Hyundai is showing a refreshed version of its flagship luxury sedan, the Equus, at the New York Auto Show, but the Korean carmaker apparently couldn’t resist teasing the car before its Big Apple debut. Since this is a mid-cycle refresh, don’t expect the changes to be too drastic.

Revealed in eerily artificial computer generated form, the Equus (aka Centennial) hasn’t changed much. The front end has been emboldened with a shinier grille, hood ornament, and all-LED headlights, but the styling is still just as generic as before.

The 2014 Equus will also have the same engine options as the current car. That means a 5.0-liter V8 with 429 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. A 3.9-liter V6 will be offered overseas but may not make it to the United States.

The big changes are on the tech front. The analog gauges give way to a thin film transistor (TFT) LCD display, which can be reconfigured to suit the Equus’ three driving modes (Normal, Snow, Sport).

For infotainment, the center console gets a 9.2-inch display, and rear passengers get their own monitors. There’s also a full set of controls in the rear center armrest, along with a cooler. The rear seats also recline and feature power lumbar support.

Many of these features might be optional extras, but so equipped the Equus is more like a Bentley than a Hyundai.

That’s probably intentional, because Hyundai has always tried to position the Equus as a luxury flagship at a bargain price. At around $60,000, the current Equus is a bargain compared to the similarly-sized BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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We were duly impressed by the Equus’ value when we tested one last year, but were underwhelmed by its lack of style. Brand-name luxury cars have personalities to match their price tags, while the Equus was competent but forgettable.

The changes to the 2014 Equus probably aren’t enough to fix that major character flaw, but they should at least keep it competitive in the luxury segment, especially if the price remains low.

We’ll learn more at the 2013 New York Auto Show, which opens March 27.

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