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Hyundai Azera

Broadcast date : 14th May 2006

The Koreans have certainly learnt a thing or two about styling in the last decade. It seems unbelievable that this elegant car could come from the same manufacturer that brought us the ungainly S-Coupe only a decade ago.

Yes, this is a Hyundai, and itís the new Azera flagship.

What that means is that you get plenty of space, pace from a well-sorted 3,3 litre V6 engine and, circa 2006, a certain degree of grace.

The Azera reminds you of a Mercedes-Benz in profile. That and a little bit of Toyota Camry without the Camryís giant appendage of a boot. Itís inoffensive firstmost, with a subtle balance to the design that grows on you. 

Thereís a hint of both Merc and BMW at the front end, a sort of marriage between the Benz shield-shaped grill and the sternly squared off headlights of the BMW 7 Series.

The rear-end is previous-generation E Class, apart from the tail lights which have been nicely executed. Although we could do without that reflective link joining the two tail lamps, which is oh sooo late 1980s.

Fine detail work is evident throughout. Panel fit is good, there are highlights on the door handles that donít offend, and shut lines are consistent. And the ride has a similar elegance that is well-sorted in the comfort department.

The noise from the large V6 engine also speaks eloquently of refinement.

The interior includes lots of wood, leather and brushed aluminum Ė all voguish finishes amongst the top German brands to which the Azera obviously aspires.

The front seats are electrically adjustable and quite comfortable, and the driverís seat includes height, tilt and lumbar adjustment, which the passenger up front has to do without.

There are a number of unusual features too such as the emergency fuel flap release and the interior boot release, just in case you happen to be held prisoner by the local crime lord.

Rear seat space is more than adequate, it has six airbags and, the colour choice on our test model was extremely tasteful.

The Hyundai also has park sensors at the rear, all the latest electronic safety aids and panel fit befitting of its luxury status.

The Azera has been launched in one model form only and thatís the 3,3 litre V6. Itís fitted with a five-speed automatic transmission that offers really excellent shifting, and goes a long way to enhancing the overall luxury feel of the Azera.

The other surprise with the Azera is its engine smoothness. This V6 is very refined and revs effortlessly to 6300 rpm. And it has instantaneous throttle response from rest, while road-holding is okay without offering sports car levels of grip.

When Car Magazine tested the Hyundai Azera, there were a couple more surprises in store. Who would have expected an 8,2 second 0-100 time, or a top speed of 234 km/h?

Fuel consumption is very dependent on your driving style, where you drive it, and how fast you drive it.

On a freeway cruise you can look to around the 10 litres per hundred mark. Punch it around town, though, and that figure can rise to as high as 16 litres per hundred.

Hyundai Azera 3.3 V6

  • Engine: V6 Petrol, 3 342cc
  • Power: 173 kW @ 6000 rpm
  • Torque: 304 Nm @ 3500 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
  • 0 Ė 100 km/h: 8.2 Seconds
  • Top Speed: 234 km/h
  • Fuel Consumption: 10.9 l/100 KM (CAR Magazine Figures)
  • Price: R 299 900
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