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Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

Simple luxury: 2013 Hyundai Azera


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Sometimes we want our luxury sedans to be gizmo-free and gadget-deprived. We want them to have instruments we can operate without a degree in computer science. We want them to be stylish and classy. Not flashy.

And, maybe most important, we’d prefer that our luxury cars didn’t have a luxury car price tag. $45,000? How about $33,000 and change?

I defy you to get behind the wheel of Hyundai’s latest Azera full-size four-door, take it for a spin around the block, soak in the hushed purr of its V-6 engine, the Teflon-smooth thrust of its 293 horses and not utter an inner “ahhhhh.”

No one is going to describe the Azera as “state-of-the-art.” There’s no feature that breaks new ground or gets written-up in Wired magazine. It’ll never be voted a Car and Driver 10 Best.

Yet here is one of the coolest-looking sedans on the market right now. Every time I walked away from our bronzy-taupe test car, I couldn’t help taking a quick look back to take in its sleek, sexy lines.

Yes, it does have the feel of a grown-up version of Hyundai’s best-selling Sonata sedan. But it also has a lot of really cool styling details. Like the striking crease that starts in the rear door and sweeps over the rear wheel and around rear deck. Gorgeous.

Open the doors and again, there’s nothing here to wow or amaze. The Azera’s cabin is all understated elegance with a real focus on comfort and cosseting.

For rear seat riders, there’s enough legroom for it to be voted official sedan of the NBA. Up front, the seats could be in the La-Z-Boy catalog. The trunk is just vast.

Out on the road, close to 300 horsepower is beyond generous. And this 3.3-liter six-banger delivers its 255 pound-feet of torque with turbine smoothness, and averages 30 to the gallon on the highway.

There’s only one Azera model on offer, and that’s the exceptionally well-equipped $33,145 version. If you want a few more bells and whistles, the $4,000 Technology Package adds a panoramic sunroof, polished 19-inch alloys and a lot more.

Drive it, you’ll be impressed.

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