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Azera gives Hyundai a new luxury flagship

August 18, 2006|by KEN CHESTER, JR. / Motor News Media Corporation

With a name that is derived from the phrase "the era of A to Z" and meant to evoke a feeling consistent with Hyundai's new global brand slogan "Drive your way," the automaker unveils the Azera, its new flagship sedan. Classified as a large car by the EPA, the new sedan features graceful lines that are aerodynamically efficient, reducing wind noise while still ensuring a spacious cabin.

The dramatic roofline and rear quarter set the Azera apart from other sedans in its class. All together, it is a well-balanced design that pays homage to the other Hyundai models in the lineup while also forging new ground.

Manufactured in Asan, Korea, the new Hyundai sedan is available in SE and Limited trim levels. Power for the new front-drive Azera sedan is generated by an all-new, all-aluminum Lambda 3.8-liter V-6 engine and joined to a five-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control.

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On the road, the new Azera sedan is fluidly responsive - strong and sure - easy (too easy) to drive fast! The Hyundai flagship rides on a unit steel chassis that features a perimeter subframe. Control hardware for the four-wheel independent suspension includes a double wishbone in front, with coil springs, gas-filled shocks and an anti-roll bar. At the rear, the multi-link suspension works with coil springs, gas-filled shocks, an anti-roll bar and dynamic toe control.

Inside the cabin, the Azera is the most luxurious Hyundai ever. User-friendly to a fault, the tastefully upmarket passenger compartment is both roomy and accommodating. Rear-seat passengers are coddled in comfort while they enjoy good leg-room and hospitable touches such as a center fold-down armrest with built-in dual cupholders. The rear seat also features a 60/40 split fold-down seatback for added flexibility in hauling both people and cargo.

Interior appointments rival the finest premium brands, offering amenities befitting a flagship model such as dual-zone climate control; an electronic tilt and telescopic steering column; an integrated memory system for the driver's seat, outside mirrors, steering column and foot pedals; a power rear sunshade; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and sumptuous leather seating surfaces. To enhance its luxury appeal, the Azera's interior is tastefully appointed with attractive woodgrain trim and distinctive metal accent pieces.

Quick vehicle stats

Wheelbase: 109.4; overall length: 192.7; width: 72.8; height: 58.7 - measurements in inches.

Engine: 3.8-liter V-6 - 263 hp at 6,000 rpm and 255 lbs-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

Transmission: Five-speed automatic with overdrive and Shiftronic manual control.

EPA fuel economy: 19 city/28 highway

Cargo capacity: 16.6 cubic ft.

Safety features

Electronic stability control, engine immobilizer, traction control, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, electronic brake force distribution, HomeLink integrated transceiver, automatic headlamp control, fog lamps, electronic stability control, remote keyless entry, anti-theft system, alarm system, full-size spare tire and a total of eight air bags: advanced dual front air bags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact air bags and roof-mounted side curtain air bags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants.

Warranty

Basic: 5-year/60,000 mile, bumper-to-bumper.

Powertrain: 10-year/100,000 mile.

Corrosion: 7-year/unlimited.

Roadside assistance: 5-year/unlimited, 24-hour.

Pricing

The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2006 Hyundai Azera sedan starts from $24,335 for the SE and $26,835 for the Limited. Destination charges add $660.

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