Thursday, August 28, 2014

Here's that Hyundai you could have had

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – I routinely have conversations with excited people telling me about their latest sedan purchase.

The names Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Infiniti, Cadillac, Chevy, Ford, Acura, Audi and other usual suspects roll off the tongue like water over Niagara Falls.

Sometimes, I come back with a variation of the marketing campaign used by a beverage maker: Wow, you could have had a Hyundai.

And I really mean it.

I’ve lost track of the times that I’ve stacked up a Hyundai sedan against a competitor and found that the South Korean product not only had more perks, but could be had for a price that was thousands less than that displayed by the competition.

A recent week in a 2014 Hyundai Azera Limited sedan not only reinforced that opinion but strengthened it.

Let’s start with the dollars.

Starting price on the tester was $34,750.  It was dressed up with a nearly $2,200 Premium Package that included fancy 19-inch silver alloy wheels, a tilt/slide sunroof, a power rear sunshade, manually operated rear side window sunshades and a rear parking-assist system.  All that is very nice and helped bring the bottom line to $37,905.

But if you throw that out, mentally speaking at least, what’s left if a long list of items shown as INCLUDED on the sticker.

That includes Hyundai’s super-generous warranties, vehicle stability control, traction control, brake-assist systems, heated/power folding exterior mirrors with turn signal indicators, chrome-tipped dual exhausts, leather seating surfaces with heat front and back, proximity key entry, high-intensity headlights, ventilated front seats, power tilt/telescoping steering column, navigation system with 8-inch screen and rearview cameras, a rockin’ Infinity Logic 7 surround-sound audio system, HD radio and a host of built-in audio/link-up technology.

So, how much did you pay for that loaded sedan made by (insert automaker not named Hyundai here)?

Yeah, I thought so.

Oh, the Azera looks sharp too, mine particularly so with a Silver Frost Metallic exterior paint scheme set off perfectly with Graphite Black interior touches.

 The 3.3-liter V-6 is an appropriately gutsy power plant with nearly 300 horsepower and an ear-pleasing exhaust note.  In my hands, the steering made the car feel much lighter than the vehicle weight rating, yet the Azera never felt loose in slalom maneuvers meant to break rear traction.  Kudos to Hyundai engineers for building in that much fun.

Fuel mileage is pretty good at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Overall, this Azera is a no-brainer “B-plus” of a car, and upon further reflection, I’d say an “A-minus” is the decidedly more accurate grade.  And at this price, consider it a worthy back-to-school special.

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