Unless you live somewhere way out in the boonies, you’ve either seen or heard tell of the Hyundai Equus—the brand’s $60,000 super star pack leader designed to compete alongside the like of the Mercedes-Benz S Class! What you may not have known until now is that what reached the USA in 2009 (for model year 2010) is the second generation of what has been Korea’s IT car since 1999!
Because of Hyundai’s humble debut in the 80′s as an affordable solution to owning a new car, leadership was smart to warm the north America markets little by little. The grew from a the compact market, turning heads with the Sonata, which back then seemed to go directly after all who had eyes on the Honda Accord, but maybe not quite an Accord budget. Sonata has since grown to become a force to beckoned! I’ll never forget parking beside a previous generation Accord (prior to the new 2013 models) while testing a Sonata. While in a rush to get into the grocery store, I was held captive by the owner of the Accord, who was completely taken by the design of the 2012 Sonata.
Premium Style: The New Azera
Then came the Azera. At first, I had little for the Azerza’s quirky design, or shall I say dreams of “Grandeur,” the name it was introduced under in its first generation in Korea–another Mitsubishi collaboration. The slope like rear between it’s 2006-2011 US arrival did nothing for me. But when the curtain opened and out rolled the 2012 model during the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, gasps for air could be heard throughout the entire crowd of media while cameras flashed repeatedly!
Boasting the brand’s signature look of fluidity, Azera tackles the premium class with class and much style, based at $32,000. Under the hood, Azera comes standard with a 293 horsepower 3.3 liter V6 engine with 255 lb-ft of torque and a six speed transmission that delivers a smooth, yet never power deficient ride.
Between the interior and exterior design, the power and the performance, as well as such perks as the $4K Technology package that brings in a set of 19″ rims, a panoramic sunroof, cooled and heated front seats that feel as good as the chic ambient interior cabin lighting looks at night, a power rear sunshade with manual sunshades for the side windows for back seat passengers to stay comfortable by day, Xenon headlamps with LED and more. But the standard price already includes rear camera, fully keyless entry and start/stop, Hyundai’s Blue Link technology with such cool features as voice text messaging and location feature from the push of a button on the steering wheel. So for around $36,000, the Azera places you in a class with the big boys and girls.
Sport Luxury Class: The Genesis
When the Genesis concept showed up at the 2007 New York Auto Show, the attempt was clear: To go toe to toe with BMW’s 5-Series, at a fraction of the cost, while soaring in looks and performance. That led to the production debut for model year 2009.
Still in it’s first generation, the Genesis is more like a one point five up on the Azera! Based at $34,200, for the 3.8 model with 333 horses under the hood harnessed and an 8-speed Shiftronic transmission delivering 19 miles per gallon city / 29 highway, this baby soars in terms of beauty and performance. for 2012 Hyundai has added a LED accents to the headlights, which go adaptive Xenon with a cornering feature when you add the $4,000 Technology (think 17-speaker audio system, navigation system, fully integrated Bluetooth, front and rear parking assistance to help you judge distance to impact, a lane departure warning alert and a really cool electronic parking brake designed to hold the vehicle in place, and more). If you were to add another $4,800 you’d come in right around $44,000 with a hot-ass whip equipped with such creature comforts as rear power sunshade, power folding side mirrors fow ehn you need to slip in to tight spaces, those rain sensing wipers that slow down or speed up as needed, a powered glass sunroof, leather dash and door inserts and a thing or two more.
We could take it up yet another notch with the 429 horsepower/5.0 liter Genesis R-Spec. Based at $45 thousand and some change, the 0 to 60 in somewhere between 4.7 and 5.5 seconds–engine is the same as the top dog–Equus.
Also of note is Hyundai’s warranty:
- 5 years/60,000 mile new car
- 10 years/100,000 powertrain
- 7 years of anti-perforation
- 5 years of roadside assistance
And while you may have heard of the challenge with the MPG numbers, the brand rose to the occasion with a voluntary program to adjust fuel economy ratings by reimbursing customers who purchased qualifying 2012 vehicles, including Genesis and Azera.
Add that up with the current Holiday Sales Event taking place at dealers nationwide to clear out the old and make way for 2013, where nothing major has been announced on any vehicles mentioned, and it’s your time to score big on a hot new whip!
- 2012 Hyundai Azera (motortrend.com)
- First Test: 2011 Hyundai Azera (motortrend.com)
- 2011 Hyundai Azera (motortrend.com)
- Breaking: Hyundai, Kia Changing MPG Numbers Due to Testing Error (wot.motortrend.com)