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2015 Hyundai Genesis vs. 2015 Hyundai Equus: What's the Difference?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2015

Although most shoppers probably imagine family sedans, compact cars and small crossovers when they think of Hyundai, the brand also makes two high-end luxury models: the Genesis sedan and the Equus. Both offer rear-wheel drive, a lot of upscale equipment and luxury price tags to match -- unlike most of Hyundai's products. But what makes them different? To find out, we've created a close comparison between the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan and the 2015 Hyundai Equus that examines the differences -- and similarities -- between the two models in several key categories.

Exterior

On the outside, the Equus and Genesis share very few similarities -- except for the fact that both models are large luxury sedans. From even a quick glance, the Equus' larger size is obvious, as it touts bolder front and rear ends, more pronounced wheel arches and more of a stately look compared to the Genesis' more traditional sport-sedan styling. Except for a general similarity in grille design and headlight shape, you won't find too many shared design details between these two models.

Interior

The Genesis and the Equus share a little more on the inside than they do on the outside. For instance, the two cars share a steering wheel, along with a starter button, a transmission lever, infotainment-system controls and an overall interior control layout. The two sedans also boast a square analog clock in the middle of the center control stack. But once again, the Genesis brings a more modern look into the cabin compared to the Equus' more-traditional, old-school luxury-sedan design. Of course, the other main benefit is size: While both cars offer ample room in front, the Equus boasts a serious space advantage in back and in the trunk.

Mechanicals

The Genesis offers two engines. The 3.8-liter V6 is standard in base models and makes 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque. Paired solely with an 8-speed automatic, the Genesis' V6 can be mated to either standard rear-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive (AWD). Gas mileage reaches as high as 18 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with rear-wheel drive or 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with AWD.

Optional in the Genesis (and standard in the Equus) is a 5.0-liter V8. The big V8 makes 420 hp in the Genesis, 429 hp in the Equus and roughly 380 lb-ft of torque in both cars. Also mated solely to an 8-speed automatic, the V8 comes only with rear-wheel drive in both the Equus and the Genesis. With this engine, fuel economy is rated at 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy for both models.

Features & Technology

Owing to the fact that the Equus costs more than the Genesis and is positioned to compete against more upscale rivals, the pricier Hyundai offers more equipment than its recently redesigned Genesis stablemate. For example, only the Equus touts dual-screen DVD players; only the Equus offers power soft-close doors, power-reclining rear seats and ventilated rear seats; and the Equus' camera system is far more advanced than the one in the Genesis.

That isn't to say the Genesis is without necessary equipment. On the contrary, the sedan offers an impressive 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, front and rear parking sensors, automatic pre-collision braking and a color heads-up display -- but you can get all those features in the Equus, too. So if you prioritize having the latest and greatest equipment and features, you'll want to pick the ultraluxurious Equus over the merely luxurious Genesis.

Driving Experience

Although you shouldn't expect a sporty driving experience from either sedan, the Genesis delivers a far more engaging ride than its Equus stablemate. Handling is tighter, high-speed cornering is less dramatic, and acceleration is a little brisker on account of its lighter curb weight.

The Equus, on the other hand, behaves like a true luxury sedan, soaking up bumps and troubling road surfaces with ease. Where the Genesis still feels a little spry, the Equus is all about luxury, trading in handling and performance for the old-school, waft-over-bumps luxury-car driving experience. If your interests lie closer to comfort than cornering, these two cars are for you -- but it's the Equus you'll want for a truly pleasurable luxury-car ride.

Safety

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis earned a perfect 5-star overall rating in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing. Due to its low production volume, the Equus was not tested. It's the same story in testing carried out by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, where the new Genesis earned an excellent Top Safety Pick+ score, while the Equus has not yet endured enough crash testing to receive a similar rating.

As for safety equipment, the Genesis and Equus offer many of the same features -- though the Equus has a slight edge. For instance, while both sedans include side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard, only the Equus adds standard parking sensors. And the Equus touts a more advanced multiangle camera system than the Genesis, which comes only with a backup camera. Otherwise, optional equipment is similar, with both cars offering traditional goodies such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and lane-departure warning.

Conclusions

Despite many similarities between the Genesis and the Equus, the two models play very different roles in the Hyundai lineup. The Genesis is merely a foray into the world of the luxury sport sedan, a small extension of the Hyundai brand name that offers big power, lots of equipment and modern styling and gadgets. The Equus, on the other hand, is a true full-size luxury sedan -- a big reach for Hyundai in an attempt to take on some of the world-renowned high-end automakers such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi. Which one you'll prefer likely relates to just how much luxury car you feel like you need.

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Certified 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
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Used 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Hyundai Genesis vs. 2015 Hyundai Equus: What's the Difference? - Autotrader