Monday, December 19, 2005
Preview: Hyundai Azera - Not keeping up with the Joneses.
Hyundai Azera Not keeping up with the Joneses. BY BARRY WINFIELD January 2006 This upstart Korean automaker has gone, in just one generation, from the XG350 to the Azera. Just like that. That’s how Hyundai does things. It’s almost as if the company owned a big computerized car processor, and the engineers feed in data—like high-end styling, class-leading interior space, more safety equipment, luxury equipment levels, competitive power output, a stiff structure, and contemporary NVH levels—and out the other end comes a car. A good car. In the case of this good car, the Azera is powered by a new all-aluminum 263-hp, 3.8-liter version of Hyundai’s V-6 Lambda engine family, which boasts more power than the Ford Five Hundred and Buick LaCrosse and more torque than the Toyota Avalon. Inside there’s enough space to allow this beanpole tester to set the front seat to his tastes and then “sit behind himself” in the rear seat. If headroom was just adequate, legroom was good. Under all that passenger space is an independent suspension system with unequal-length control arms up front and a multilink system at the rear, and it provides a ride that is supple without being floaty. The body itself is as tight as a vault, and sound levels are exceedingly low, particularly wind noise. Triple door seals and careful mirror design are major contributors here. The Azera is a front-wheel-drive car, but there’s almost no evidence of that fact in the driving experience. Zero torque steer and no tendency to spin the inside wheel when exiting a corner leave you wondering exactly where the engine puts down its power. Okay, there’s a little thrum in the rack-and-pinion mechanism along highways, hinting at front-wheel drive, and the wheel rim is too remote to compete with serious sports sedans, but at least it has the isolation part of the luxury equation down. As usual in Hyundais, the equipment level is comprehensive. There are eight airbags, leather seats, a 315-watt stereo with an in-dash six-CD changer and 10 speakers, electroluminescent gauges, and a manumatic five-speed automatic with a smooth action. Best news of all for this wannabe Lexus: a base price of about $25,000 for the SE and about $28,000 for the loaded Limited. Take that, social climbers. Vehicle type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan Estimated base price: $25,000–$28,000 Engine type: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injectionDisplacement: 231 cu in, 3778cc Power (SAE net): 263 bhp @ 6000 rpm Torque (SAE net): 255 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm Transmission: 5-speed automatic with manumatic shifting Wheelbase: 109.4 inLength/width/height: 192.7/72.8/58.7 in Curb weight: 3650 lb Performance ratings (C/D est):Zero to 60 mph: 6.5 sec Standing 1/4-mile: 15.2 sec Top speed (drag limited): 145 mph Projected fuel economy (mfr’s est):EPA city driving: 19 mpg EPA highway driving: 30 mpg Source: Car and Driver Always remember to visit for latest deals available Gary Rome Hyundai , Hyundai Accessory Store and Hyundai Performance Auto Parts.