The all-new Azera replaces the XG350 as Hyundai's flagship model. The new car features more mainstream styling than its predecessor; an all-new 263-hp 3.8L V-6 with 5-speed automatic transmission; and a boatload of standard equipment, much of which is usually found only on expensive luxury vehicles. Hyundai expects buyers to turn to the Azera not only as luxury-car alternative, but also as a way to get more room and standard equipment for the same price as a less expensive mid-size car.
Twenty years ago, the notion of Korean automaker Hyundai building a car to compete directly with the likes of Nissan, Honda, and Toyota would have sounded like fiction. Yet, that's exactly what Hyundai is doing. The Azera is brimming with high-content features, from a new 263-hp, 3.8L V-6 with variable-valve-timing up front to fashionable LED taillights in back. Between them you'll find a 5-speed automatic transmission, electronic stability control, ABS, alloy wheels, eight airbags, power-adjustable front seats, and dual-zone climate control. And that's just the standard equipment on the base SE model. The upscale Azera Limited adds heated leather seats and a wood-trimmed steering wheel, among other niceties. The Azera is styled to fit in with its mainstream Japanese-brand competitors, and its suspension is tuned for a soft, quiet ride.
Hyundai's research has found that buyers are visiting Hyundai showrooms not to find a similar car at a lower price, but to get more car for the money they're already planning to spend. So it's no surprise that the Azera's option list includes many features usually reserved for high-end luxury cars, including an electric rear sunshade, power-adjustable pedals and steering column, rain-sensing wipers, and a 10-speaker Infiniti audio system. As with all Hyundais, the Azera is covered by a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.
The Azera competes in the Large Conventional segment against vehicles from a variety of domestic and import nameplates. Buyers in this segment want many of the attributes found in high-end luxury cars, including power everything and a high level of comfort and convenience, but do not feel the need to pay extra for a premium brand name.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM this segment was a domestic stronghold in 2005. Top sellers included the Chevrolet Impala (246,481 sales in calendar year 2005), Chrysler 300 (144,048), and Pontiac Grand Prix (122,398). The Azera's predecessor, the XG-Series, sold 17,039 copies. The new Azera, a late arrival in 2005, sold 606 units in the last two months of the year. Other competitors include the Ford Five Hundred and Crown Victoria, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Mercury Montego and Grand Marquis, Dodge Magnum and Charger, Kia Amanti, and Buick Lucerne.
|SE (A5)||5 speed automatic||$24,335||263-hp / 3.8L 6-cyl||19/28|
|Limited (A5)||5 speed automatic||$26,835||263-hp / 3.8L 6-cyl||19/28|