If the Hyundai Equus doesn’t wake you up to the fact that something has drastically changed at Hyundai, we don’t know what will. The brand has quickly gone from an also-ran to a product leader in the marketplace .

Hyundai has consistently pushed the envelope at a breakneck pace with its rear-wheel drive Genesis sedan and Coupe models. The best example yet of how far Hyundai has progressed comes in the form of the Equus – and its price tag.

$58,000 – yes you read that right….$58,000 for a Hyundai. 5 or 10 years ago that would have been unthinkable. However, today it is a different story.

The Equus differentiates itself from failed attempts at the luxury segment such as Volkswagen’s Phaeton by its value proposition. While the Phaeton was priced similarly to established competitors, the Equus undercuts them significantly.

Second, development cost and need to recoup investment is much less – the Equus business case made sense selling exclusively in its home market of South Korea. In the United States, selling the $58,000 Equus improves Hyundai’s image and makes selling $20-30K Sonatas all that much easier.

To make things simple, there is two models available: the $58,000 Equus Signature and the $64,500 Equus Ultimate. The Equus Ultimate is primarily concerned with an added luxury experience for the rear passengers.

Ultimate has a luxurious four-passenger configuration with 50/50 split rear seats, passenger-side rear seat leg support and massage system, cooled rear seats and a rear-seat entertainment system with eight-inch monitor.

It doesn’t end there though, there is also a thermoelectric rear center console refrigerator, rear-seat power up/down head restraints with manual tilt, rear-seat, illuminated vanity mirrors, forward-view cornering camera and power trunk lid. What a list!

One of the attractive things about the Equus is the amazing level of service Hyundai has put in place for buyers. The car has maintenance covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles and that includes things such as complimentary oil and filter changes, brake pads and rotors, wiper blades, and car battery.

There is also valet pickup and drop-off of the vehicle at your home for any servicing, with a Genesis or Equus loaner vehicle provided while the car is at the dealership. How is that for pampered luxury service?

Competitors will have to step up their game now, as they aren’t offering that level of service. That could end up being a big selling point for the Equus, as that isn’t expected at the $58,000 level.

Now the question is sales figures – will American luxury buyers respond to a $58,000 Hyundai?