For the 2014 model year, Hyundai has introduced the next generation of its premium rear-wheel drive luxury sedan.

The all-new Equus is absolutely amazing.

While I normally reserve this statement for the end of my column, I want to say right from the start: If you are in the market for a premium luxury sedan, you absolutely, positively must add the 2014 Hyundai Equus to the test drive list.

Having driven competitive models from Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus, the Equus stands out from the pack. That goes for performance, handling, comfort, safety, technology AND luxury.

For 2014, Hyundai Equus buyers have their choice of Signature or Ultimate trim levels.

Both Equus models are powered by a 5.0-liter Tau V-8 engine producing 429 horsepower and 376 lbs.-ft. torque. Requiring premium or regular unleaded gasoline, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

Not only does the Equus produce an excellent, super smooth ride on the highway, I was extremely impressed with how well it handled — especially maneuvering in crowded parking lots and along narrow city streets.

Make no mistake; this is a big car. Yet it handles more like a sports car thanks in large part to its electro-hydraulic steering system that provides a 39.6-feet turning circle. Combined with its electronic parking guide assist system and multi-view camera that provides an aerial view around the car, parking and maneuvering in tight spaces is a breeze.

When it comes to luxury, there is not enough space in this column to list all of the Equus features. From the rear reclining heated and cooled seats, to the 17-speaker Lexicon audio system with a 13-channel digital amplifier, to the new color digital display monitor that keeps you in touch with the world, to the Head-Up Display that allows the driver to keep in touch with the world without having to take their eyes off the road, the Equus delivers when it comes to luxury.

Likewise when it comes to safety.

For starters, it comes with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system with more than 30 safety, service and infotainment features, as well as Assurance Connected Care, a three-year complimentary services suite with critical safety and ownership assistance features.

A very small sample of some of the other Equus safety features include nine airbags, Blind Spot Detection system, smart cruise control Rear Cross-traffic Alert system, lane departure warning system, electronic stability control and vehicle stability management system. It has also received “Top Safety Pick” honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

With a base price starting at $61,250, the all-new Hyundai Equus is setting a new benchmark in the premium luxury sedan segment.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.

The Nuts and Bolts

MODEL:

2014 Hyundai Equus

5-seat luxury sedan  

Rear-wheel drive

Trim packages:

Signature, Ultimate

PRICE RANGE:

$42,000-$55,000

ENGINE:

5.0L V8 (429 hp/376 T)

TRANSMISSION:

8-speed automatic with Shiftronic

EPA: 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway

FUEL: Premium or regular unleaded

STABILITY CONTROL:

Vehicle stability management with electronic stability control

BRAKES: ABS

LENGTH: 203.1 inches

WHEELBASE: 119.9 in.

WIDTH: 74.4 inches

HEIGHT: 58.7 inches

TRACK: 63.8/64.1

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 20.3 gallons

TIRES: 19-inch

CARGO: 16.7 cubic feet.