The Azera was once the top-of-the-line Hyundai sedan in North America. That, however, was before the appearance of the Genesis and, later, the Equus. Nowadays, the Azera is the slowest-selling Hyundai, despite a face-lift and powertrain revisions last year. Fortunately for fans of soft mid-size luxury sedans, the Azera will be the next Hyundai to get the full attention of the company's able engineers and designers. The attractive Korean-market Grandeur pictured here looks more or less identical to the next Azera that will go on sale in the States in early 2012. It follows the recent swoopy design themes of the Sonata, the Elantra, and the Accent. Until the new Azera reaches dealerships, the outgoing car (whose specifications are listed in the accompanying spec panel) will remain available, likely at discounted prices. That car is available in two Trim Levels: the base GLS model comes with a 260-hp, 3.3-liter V-6; the Limited gets a 283-hp, 3.8-liter V-6. Both engines deliver highway mileage in the high twenties with the help of a six-speed automatic transmission. Dual-zone climate control, power front seats, and iPod/USB auxiliary jacks are standard on all 2011 Azeras, and available luxury items include a power rear sunshade, leather upholstery, and an optional navigation system. The 2012 model will surely be even more luxurious, but don't be surprised if it utilizes smaller engines than the 2011 edition's. If the Azera's revamp is half as successful as that of recent Hyundais, sales of the Toyota Avalon, the Nissan Maxima, and the Volkswagen Passat will likely suffer.
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