Believe it or not; but the Hyundai Centennial was on top of my list of cars to review for a long while. I have heard of a possible contender from South Korea against the likes of Lexus’s LS460L. It’s no easy feat at all but something tells me that we may have an even match. The specs are all matching up, the Centennial does triumph against Lexus LS’s hp and torque figures but what about the build quality, features and most important of all, the surreal ride quality of the ‘LS’. You just might be surprised with what I found out.
2014 Hyundai Centennial Review
The Hyundai Centennial, or for those following North American reviews where it’s called the Hyundai Equus, is Hyundai’s answer for the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class, BMW’s 7 Series, Audi’s A8L and Lexus’s LS. This bold step did not start all of a sudden; as the Centennial was just recently introduced to the Middle Eastern market. The story started in 1999 when Hyundai and Mitsubishi joined forces and created the first generation of Centennials to take on the four brands mentioned above. But truth be told, they were competing against their domestic rival in the form of SsangYoung’s Chairman.
The Hyundai Centennial comes in one trim and that’s fully loaded. Taking just the price into account, I will leave out the German counterparts, as their equivalent price would be almost twice that of the Centennial’s, this seems just too good to be true.
The Hyundai Centennial is a curve ball thrown by a company, which has been associated in making great economic vehicles. The Centennial is everything in superlative, which is not generally associated with something coming out of the production floors of Hyundai. It has the, biggest engine, the most number of cylinders; it’s the longest in the entire Hyundai motor division’s line-up and has rear seat leg rest that comes up. Not what one would expect from Hyundai right? But wait there’s more.
As a relative new comer into the uber automotive segment, the Hyundai Centennial had to step up its game. What do we expect from such a class of vehicles? One would say leather all around, vented seats, cool box, a smooth V8 and seamless shifts from the transmission and rear facing cameras. Yes, we can check all that. But now the level has gone up with the introduction of digital speedo display, heads up display (HUD), blind spot monitors (the Centennial offers both left and right side blind spot displays in its HUD), LED and Bi-Xenon headlamps and infinite adjustments to the seats. The Centennial has them all.
The rear right seat offers recline and the foot rest levels up offering a Lexus LS like sleeping position, similar to what one would find in a planes’ Business Class seat. If that was not enough, it also massages. Rear entertainment is also available as well as a cool box; the latter is a personal favorite of mine and I would think that it’s a welcome relief to be able to enter a car and have access to cold water, and in no particular thanks to the temperature we are seeing this summer in Dubai.
As you can see, the Centennial has all the ingredients to be classified as a true luxury sedan. This is where I was keen, as a tester, to see whether the Centennial was just talking the talk or walking the walk as well. I wanted to know how it feels to drive it around town and the famous Sh. Zayed Hwy.
The 5.0L V8 is a peach !! It’s whisper quiet and offer more than enough low end torque. The Centennial is polite enough to display a welcome message as I pressed the start/stop button and shifted the gear lever to “D” (the gear lever looks very similar to the one in BMW, in my opinion). The Centennial nudges forward; this was not a sudden push but a gentle sway. The gearshifts could not be felt and the ride quality; sublime.
This is not a sedan which is built for performance in mind, it’s however a moving spa which is built for the sole purpose of transporting its occupants to any destination with the comfort in mind. And thus the ride reflects this. Push it hard into a corner and one would find quite a large degree of body roll, though the 19” tires gripped and never let go. I had to adjust my mind frame for a bit. Let me test it as a chilled out vehicle for a change. The air conditioning kept me cool even in this weather; the audio system was good and produced great low-end frequencies without rattling any of the interior panels and most importantly the road imperfections were magically smoothened out.
The Hyundai Centennial is a perfect car to take after a long grueling day at work. This is the time where one would get irritated with the minutest of distractions; the Centennial on the other hand cajoles the driver and the occupants into a zen like state. The surroundings seem peaceful, life has suddenly become stress free, it’s just you and the car in a fluid transition. Hats off to Hyundai for daring to pull this off and so successfully at that. The price for all this is AED 283,000; which is almost a 100k less than the next best alternative. Now doesn’t that warrant a look into Hyundai? We think so too.
|2014 Hyundai Centennial VS500|
|Displacement||5,038 cc, V8 DOHC GDI Engine|
|Rated Output||424 hp @ 6400 rpm|
|Rated Torque||510 Nm @ 5000 rpm|
|Transmission||8 speed automatic|
|Fuel Capacity||77 Litres|
|Price (AED)||283,000 as tested|
I decided to get my hands on the camera again since my partner was away. Here are the results and I sincerely hope that you like them, Brian worked on the post-processing as always :