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2007 Hyundai Azera Sedan

by Martha Hindes

2007 Hyundai Azera
2007 Hyundai Azera Interior

Who would think a relative newcomer could move to a toney level so fast? Not long ago Hyundai was that cute little import that was easy on the budget. For some, the appearance of Hyundai's upscale Azera sedan might have been a surprise, but undoubtedly not for the Korea-based auto maker that is in a relentless upward march toward luxury status.

Now with the flagship Azera an established upmarket contender, Hyundai adds a new GLS model for 2007. The vehicle, powered by a 234 horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 with five-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC manual mode, earns a respectable 21/28 on the mileage side. It comes on board for $24,895.

GLS starts life as Hyundai's value-priced Azera, but doesn't stint on amenities despite its position in the lineup. Standard are such features as six-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD audio with MP3 capability should one weary of all those satellite fed radio stations. For safety, it includes active front head restraints and eight airbags plus electronic stability with traction control. Upscale touches for the GLS include auto dimming rearview mirror, power seats for driver and front passenger, automatic headlamp controls plus an optional tilt and slide sunroof.

The GLS joins SE and Limited editions (with 3.8-liter, 263-HP V-6 power) in the three-model Azera family. For '07, features in the Limited's aptly named $3,100 "Ultimate Package" now include heated front seats, leather seating and power rear sunshade, plus newly added Infiniti Logic 7 surround sound with 12 speakers.

Should anyone doubt Hyundai's intentions, the company's claim to fame confirms it. Hyundai boasts more interior volume room in the Azera than similar-sized large sedan models from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. And luxury is as luxury does. After all, who can argue the point when rain sensing wipers, power adjustable foot pedals and power side folding mirrors with turn indicators are part of the statement. Glaringly absent, however, despite a thorough search of the lengthy features list, was a navigation system, the latest price of entry into the premium car venue. We presume such technology is at least on Hyundai's drawing board at this time.