Hyundai Azera
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Overall

Hyundai’s classy Sonata-like sedan features plenty of bells and whistles already built right in; gives the Genesis four-door a run for its money.

Drivetrain

A 293-horsepower V6 is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. That’s it, that’s all.

The Azera fills a near-luxury niche in Hyundai’s lineup and is positioned between the Sonata and the Genesis in the automaker’s sedan pecking order. Still it’s a tough path for the Azera to follow since it practically trips over the Genesis in price and content. In fact, the premium-priced front-wheel-drive sedan begins at about $33,000, which is within an earshot of bigger rear-drive Genesis. Both cars come standard with V6 engines: a 293-horspower version for the Azera that trumps nearly every other competitor in the segment; and a 333-horse version for the big “G”. Those 40 extra horses likely wouldn’t mean as much in a zero-to-60-mph sprint considering the Genesis weighs 220 pounds more than the Azera and both register nearly identical fuel-consumption stats. So what gives? Well, if you’re a fan of front-wheel-drive and prefer Hyundai’s Sonata-like styling, called Fluidic Sculpture, you’ll appreciate the Azera’s particularly attractive looks, inside and out. In fact, it’s arguably the most attractive of Hyundai’s front-wheel-drive models. It’s also the most content-rich of the bunch, with plenty of standard equipment, headed by dual-zone climate control, a leather-covered interior, heated front and rear seats, seven-inch touch-screen navigation system and rearview camera. Among the limited list of options is a panorama glass roof, manual side- and power rear-window sunshade, 19-inch wheels (18s are standard and a 14-speaker “Logic 7″ surround-sound audio system. As for safety, Azera comes with nine airbags, including a driver’s knee cushion. Then there are the special impact-reducing front seats that apparently eliminate the need for active front headrests (the seat-back itself is built to absorb a rear-end hit).

Base price (incl. destination): $33,150
Type: Full-size four-door sedan
Engine (hp): 3.3-liter DOHC V6 (293)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 20/29
Safety: Front airbags; front/rear side-impact airbags; drivers-side knee airbag; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 3,600