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The Hyundai Azera Surges to the Top

Hyundai's all-new near-luxury sedan, the Azera, has been received with critical acclaim. Consumers and critics are calling the Hyundai Azera the highest quality, most luxurious Hyundai to ever appear in the highly competitive US market. A recent award from the automotive consultant group, AutoPacific has underscored what many are quickly learning: the Hyundai Azera is a car that leads in customer satisfaction.None of this is a surprise to Hyundai, but it may be as surprise for you. Read on for a look at Hyundai's darling near-luxury sedan.Near-luxury, you say? Yes, it is a category reserved for cars that have many luxury appointments and high engineering standards without the price.

Retailing at just over $27,000, the Hyundai Azera is a bargain when compared to similar cars from BMW and Lexus, but not quite the engineering and technological marvel of these two competitors, however. Yet, the Hyundai Azera is offering plenty for consumers at prices well below that of its would-be competitors.So, what has Hyundai dished up with the Azera? Plenty:.

If you like performance, then the Hyundai Azera delivers. Try this on for size: a 3.8L V6 that produces a hefty an impressive 263 horsepower and 255 pounds of torque; terrific for a car of its size.If you like speed, the Hyundai Azera beats out the Toyota Avalon by registering a zero to 60 time of 6.

5 seconds. Compare that to 6.9 for the Avalon.If you like authenticity, then the Azera's real wood and aluminum trim will inspire you.

No plastic trim, no faux wood?the Hyundai Azera incorporates Lexus-like luxury into its cabin.If you like cabin comfort, the Hyundai Azera's lengthy feature list is sure to please. A leather-wrapped steering wheel, power front seats, a 60/40-split rear seat, dual automatic climate control, and a CD/MP3 player are some of the creature comforts offered with the SE.

Order the top of the line Premium Azera and you get a rear window sunscreen, a 6-disc Infinity sound system, adjustable pedals, rain-sensing wipers, folding side mirrors, and much more. Keep in mind that even with all of these "extras" the price of the Azera holds well below the $30,000 level.Styling is all new for the Azera which is on a stretched version of the Sonata platform. The Hyundai Azera replaces the dated XG350, a car big on luxury but disappointing on engineering.Yes, the Hyundai Azera boldly goes where no U.

S. marketed Hyundai has gone before. This is good news for a leader and a car that will certainly cause Toyota and Honda to stand up and take notice.

.Copyright 2006 ? Matt Keegan is a freelance automotive writer covering the classics, new models, and industry trends.You can maintain your car ? domestic or foreign -- with the help of high quality auto parts from AFE, Green, and K&N.

By: Matthew Keegan

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