(The Brunswick News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 30–Hyundai is officially on the map as one of the best car companies in America.
The company solidified its spot with the release last year of the highly anticipated Genesis, a hallmark of luxury from an auto maker known for economy cars.
To be fair, the Azera is not on the same level as the Genesis, but that is by design. It is a more affordable car, while offering a very similar driving experience.
In its place as a car around $30,000 — putting it right in line with cars like the Maxima, Accord, and Camry, the perennial powerhouses of foreign sedans — the Azera thrives.
Our tester was 2009 Limited model from Carl Gregory Hyundai Chrysler and Dodge.
Its magnificently appointed interior was wrapped in black leather and accented with wood grain door handles and steering wheel.
The beautiful touch screen DVD navigation system fit perfectly into the dash and was very easy to use.
High quality dash components were a far cry from the plastic pieces in the Hyundais of old.
The overall feel of the Azera’s interior was one of sophisticated elegance. It felt more like a Lexus than a Hyundai.
Under the hood lay a silky smooth 3.8 liter V6 that pushes 263 horsepower and 257 pound feet of torque.
It was coupled with a five speed automatic transmission with manumatic stick mode that made driving the peppy sedan a blast.
Off the line, it ran through first gear quickly and pulled hard through second gear. Midrange acceleration from 40 mph was still strong and there was never a jerky moment.
The cold air intake system that comes with the engine is normally an after-market product to add horsepower. It also adds a nice sound to the engine that is subtle but very sporty.
The Azera gets 26 miles per gallon on the highway in both the Limited and GLS models. The GLS is a 3.3 liter V6 with 234 horsepower.
Adding to the sleek package is a set of 17-inch alloy wheels that are stopped by disc brakes on every wheel.
By the end of our test drive, it was safe to say that the Azera is a very attractive and powerful car that is not only luxurious, but also affordable.
Our tester tipped scales at $33,540, which considering the options and quality of the car, is a steal. Couple that with Hyundai’s award winning warranty, and you have an irresistible package.
Engine Specs: 3.3L V6 with 234 hp 3.8L V6 with 263 hp.
Cool Options: Navigation and a great V6.
Why Buy It: It is the perfect car for affordable luxury.
Prices: MSRP starting at $24,970 for the GLS Our price $33,540.
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The Brunswick News, Ga.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.