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2012 Hyundai Azera Comfort & Quality

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The 2012 Azera isn't just a large sedan; in terms of equipment, and also in terms of seating, ride, and interior appointments, it's a luxury car.

The front-wheel-drive Azera fits right in between the Sonata and Genesis in the Hyundai lineup, with its wheelbase a couple of inches longer then the Sonata, overall length 3.5 longer than Sonata, and a little added width. Yet in most ways it's a few inches smaller than the Genesis.

Whether you're carrying family or business colleagues, the Azera has the seating space, smooth ride, and luxury-car ambiance to keep everyone comfortable.

It's roughly the same length and width as the Acura TL, or about three inches longer than the Maxima, or a couple of inches longer than the ES 350. But that also makes it most of a foot shorter than the Taurus, as well as a few inches shorter than the Buick LaCrosse. Going by interior space, the story is quite different; the Azera has more interior volume than any of those other models, as well as more cargo space than all but the Taurus.

Front seats are adjustable to a wide range of sizes, and we like how Hyundai has assembled the power-seat controls, Mercedes-Benz style, along the upper door trim. Tech Package models, in addition to heated seats, include heated-and-cooled ventilated functions.

In back, there's lots of sprawl-out legroom, as well as just enough headroom for adults—just enough, thanks to two carved-out headliner recesses. If anyone ends up in the middle, they might not be as happy, as the headliner's lower there and the bench position is notably harder (the back of the center console is there, too). One other note: Getting in and out of the back seat isn't nearly as easy as you might expect it to be—especially for taller folks. You'll have to lean forward, and duck your head under the curved-down roofline—the price of the fashionable exterior styling.

Underneath the audio and climate controls, there's a large hinged bin (felted), with auxiliary and USB ports, and a hinged compartment next to the shift knob, containing a couple of cupholders. The space behind the center stack has also been used—a la Volvo—with a tray at the bottom of that, and the center console itself has the capacity to hide a camera or small purse. All doors include storage for cups and bottles, and the back of the front seats have map pockets.

Ride quality is superb, with only the most jarring bumps heard heard and felt in the cabin. And inside, it's quiet—very quiet—with nearly all road noise filtered out; likewise, you hear engine noise only when accelerating hard. The Avalon also has the lowest coefficient of drag (tied with the Avalon, at 0.28) of any large sedan, which helps keep wind noise at bay (and helps efficiency).

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