Most automakers have a flagship model that represents their best efforts in style, sophistication, safety and performance. Hyundai is in a unique position as their existing flagship sedan, the XG350, is stepping aside to let an all-new sedan take the lead - the elegant 2006 Hyundai Azera.
As Shakespeare said, "What`s in a name?" In this instance, the name - Azera - provides a glimpse of what makes this sedan so special. The word "Azera" is meant to evoke a feeling consistent with Hyundai`s new global brand slogan, Drive your way?. Its construction derives from the phrase: "the era of A to Z." The name Azera also recalls the French word "azure" - the color of blue skies, an optimistic color that reflects Hyundai`s focus on the future.
"The Azera is the third of seven all-new or redesigned Hyundai vehicles to be launched in a 24-month period, completely revamping the Hyundai lineup," said Robert F. Cosmai, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "Azera will earn distinction for segment-leading standard safety features, refined styling, and content that is generally reserved for higher-priced luxury sedans."
From the first glimpse of the Azera, it is clear that this is an extraordinary sedan. The graceful lines are aerodynamically efficient, reducing wind noise while still ensuring a spacious cabin. The dramatic roofline and rear quarter set the Azera apart from other sedans in this class. All together, it is a well-balanced design that pays homage to the other Hyundai models in the line-up while also forging new ground.
"The Azera is sleek and modern, which are becoming signature Hyundai design characteristics," said Cosmai. "The Azera`s well-designed exterior matched with the ergonomic and feature-rich interior really captures the essence of the new generation of Hyundai vehicles."
On the road, the Azera delivers spirited performance, thanks to an all-new, all-aluminum 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood that delivers an estimated 265 horsepower, more standard horsepower than the Ford Five Hundred and the Buick LaCrosse. This engine is also environmentally friendly, as it is projected to achieve Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) certification levels. This high-tech V6 comes teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control. Its road manners are well-honed, with responsive four-wheel independent suspension featuring double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, all riding on alloy wheels. Clearly, the Azera has the hardware to go wheel-to-wheel with the competition.
Moving to the interior, the Azera is the most luxurious Hyundai to ever grace the highway. The interior appointments rival the finest premium brands, and it offers amenities befitting a flagship model, such as dual-zone climate control; an electronic tilt and telescopic steering column; an integrated memory system for the driver`s seat, outside mirrors, steering column and foot pedals; a power rear sunshade; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and sumptuous leather seating surfaces.
The Azera also rewards the driver with an available Infinity? audio system featuring a 7-channel, 315-watt digital amplifier, 10 speakers and a subwoofer, speed-sensitive volume, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and an in-dash 6-disc CD auto-changer.
To further enhance its luxury appeal, the Azera`s interior is tastefully appointed with attractive woodgrain trim and distinctive metal accent pieces.
Compared to the 2005 XG350, the all-new Azera is longer, wider and rides on a wheelbase stretched 1.1 inches over the XG350. The interior also benefits from the increased exterior dimensions, as it is larger than its predecessor, and has more interior room than the BMW 760i and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Available in Hyundai dealerships later this fall, the 2006 Azera offers buyers the best value in the segment with a segment-leading list of standard safety features including ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with traction control; ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), front dual active headrests, and a total of eight airbags - advanced dual front airbags, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact airbags, roof-mounted side curtain airbags for both front and rear outboard seat occupants.
"The XG350 has been an exemplary sedan," said Robert Cosmai, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. "And this all-new Azera takes luxury appointments and personal comfort to a whole new level of sophistication. In addition, it continues to offer the roominess and luxury of cars costing much more and delivers on Hyundai`s promise of superior value," he added.
The XG was first introduced for the 2001 model year as the XG300. For the 2002 model year, the engine displacement was increased from 3.0-liters up to 3.5-liters, and as a result the XG300 became the XG350. For the 2006 model year, the engineers started with a clean sheet, so rather than an evolutionary face-lift of the XG, the Azera is a fresh new vehicle from the tires up, hence the new name affirming its fresh start.
As with every vehicle Hyundai sells in the U.S., every 2006 Azera comes equipped with The Hyundai Advantage, America`s Best Warranty, a package that reflects Hyundai`s confidence in the quality of its products.
The Hyundai Advantage includes limited bumper-to-bumper coverage for five years or 60,000 miles, which exceeds the coverage on many cars costing more than twice as much. In addition, Azera buyers receive 24-hour roadside assistance coverage at no extra charge for five years (no mileage limit) and that service includes emergency towing, lockout service and limited coverage for trip-interruption expenses.
Hyundai also provides Azera buyers with industry-leading limited powertrain coverage - 10 years or 100,000 miles - and that coverage remains in effect when ownership of the car is transferred to other family members. Even if the car is sold, Hyundai backs Azera`s powertrain for five years or 60,000 miles. Anti-perforation coverage is provided for seven years/unlimited miles. There is no deductible on any of these coverages.
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 660 dealerships nationwide.
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