Monday, July 30, 2012

Feature-loaded Azera also has some pop

Sacramento, California – The Hyundai Azera was changed up for 2012, but the premise remains the same: you’re getting something very Lexus-like for a fraction of the Lexus price.

And for 2012, you get more than ever before.

When it rolled out at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2011, the extensively reworked Azera drew much-deserved oohs and ahhs from the usually jaded auto press corps.  Jaded or not, they knew a good thing when they saw it.

While the previous-generation certainly was visually appealing, the latest version has a more modern and sporty appearance.  It looks like a performance sedan, much more than its predecessor.  Dual rear exhausts set flush with the back end’s bodywork are particularly eye-catching.

Power is substantial from a 3.3-liter V-6 with 293 horsepower.  The Azera handled the quick-acceleration and needed power bursts with no problems whatsoever.  Fuel mileage was OK at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the open road.

The Azera was pleasingly agile on the roadways, with the feel of a sports coupe more than a sedan.  It was rock-solid in turns under hard acceleration, and it was easy to zip around in downtown traffic.

From the cockpit, most motorists will be stunned to see what’s included in the starting price of $32,000. Besides a blizzard of safety and on-road control technology, standard perks include exterior mirror turn signal indicators, leather seating surfaces, heated seats front and rear, a rearview back-up camera and a navigation system.

Are you kidding me?  On top of everything else.  This car is a steal at 32 grand.

My tester was dressed up with another $4,000 in extras – including xenon headlights, ventilated front seats and a power-adjustable steering wheel – but believe me when I say that the basic Azera package is a feature-loaded bonanza.

Once again, I found a message/info center that totally baffled me.  Just trying to get the mileage range on the car, I ended up ordering takeout from an all-night joint in Hong Kong.  No, not really, but that’s how helpless I felt.  Tech-savvy motorists will figure the thing out in no time, I’m sure.

The Azera carries over virtually unchanged for the 2013 model year, which is fine with me because they seem to have gotten it just right in the 2012 make-over.  As usual, Hyundai Azera owners get the automaker’s standard excellent warranties, adding peace of mind to the mix.

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