- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2010

The 2011 HyundaiAzera adds power and efficiency to a model known for its luxurious appointments. The updated large sedan now includes an advanced six-speed automatic transmission and other powertrain refinements raising the bar on fuel economy in its class, while still gaining horsepower.

All of these upgrades help illustrate why more and more customers are discovering how well Azera stacks up against the competition. Overall, the 2011 Azera is a strong competitor to vehicles like the Lexus ES350, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Buick LaCrosse and Ford Taurus. Spacious and luxurious, the Azera features more interior volume than expensive luxury sedans such as the Mercedes Benz E-Class, BMW 750i and Lexus LS 460. Both Azera powertrains still offer more standard horsepower than the BMW 528i demonstrating that Azera is one of the smartest premium large-sedan choices available in the American market today.

The Azera GLS is equipped with an enhanced 3.3-liter, DOHC V6 engine that now produces an estimated 250 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 233 lbs.-ft. at 4,500 rpm of torque. The performance gains were achieved by incorporating Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) that improves engine breathing on the intake and exhaust camshafts for better fuel economy and lower emissions. Depending on engine load and speed, DCVVT can extend or shorten the duration of the valve opening and closing for more power. Previously, the 2010 Azera only had CVVT on the intake camshaft. Now, the Azera GLS features a specially tuned intake manifold surge tank to take advantage of the new DCVVT configuration. As the first member of Hyundai’s “Lambda” engine family, this new engine also has all-aluminum construction and four valves per cylinder. It also features a Variable Intake System (VIS) that further broadens its power curve to improve the vehicle’s off-the-line acceleration and passing performance. Fuel economy estimates for the Azera GLS are 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway.

The Azera Limited delivers powerful performance due to its revised clean and efficient all-aluminum 3.8-liter, DOHC V6 engine, which delivers an estimated 272 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. To maximize the power spread, this engine also uses DCVVT and a Variable Intake System (VIS) to help cylinders breathe efficiently at both low and high rpms. Estimated mileage figures for the Azera Limited are 18 mpg city / 28 mpg highway.

To help Azera drivers get the most out of their vehicles, Hyundai has added a fuel economy indicator in the 2011 model. The “Eco Indicator” displays a green light to indicate when driving habits are contributing to good fuel economy.

Hyundai’s commitment to making the Azera extremely fuel efficient continues with a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control. This transmission offers smooth shifts and a wide ratio spread that ideally suits both engines’ characteristics.

Hyundai’s all-new six-speed automatic transaxle helps the company meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. Shifts are silky-smooth with an option of manual control through the SHIFTRONIC feature.

Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, adding to driver control. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear being used.

Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and CUVs, the new compact transmission puts Hyundai into an elite class of auto manufacturers who have designed their own proprietary six-speed automatic transmissions. The strength of the design is its unique layout which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed transmission on the market today.

The gearbox has no dipstick because it is filled with automatic transmission fluid that increases vehicle life under normal usage conditions, thereby reducing maintenance costs.

Developed over a four-year period, this new six-speed automatic is 26.4 pounds lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It also is 1.6 inches shorter and considerably simpler, having 62 fewer parts, which is a key to increased durability, lighter weight and lower cost.

When it comes to transmissions, more gears are definitely better.The addition of a sixth gear enables closer spacing between gear ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver strong, smooth acceleration.

The gearbox has three planetary gearsets and a unique flat torque converter that shortens the unit’s overall length by 0.47 inches. Four pinion differentials improve durability and further minimize size.

Another example of engineering ingenuity is found in the design of the hydraulic pressure control unit.Slight manufacturing deviations from one solenoid valve to the next often cause fluctuation in the hydraulic pressure and affect shift precision and quality. The transmission featured in the Azera cleverly integrates adjustment screws in the valves that enable each of the eight valves to be calibrated at the factory. This feature ensures stable hydraulic pressure at any shift point which facilitates a high degree of precision and control needed to deliver fast, smooth and precise shifts throughout the rpm range.

Azera is reborn with a more handsome exterior design. The most noticeable exterior upgrade is a new sleeker front bumper fascia, with a number of subtle design tweaks. Design updates up-front also include redesigned headlamps with LED surround accent lighting, new chrome grille and round foglights. A high-gloss window trim treatment enhances Azera’s profile. The rear of the 2011 Azera features redesigned signature LED taillights, redesigned bumper with integrated chrome tailpipes and a matching decklid. Modernized 17-inch alloy wheels and revised side repeater mirrors with all-new bright puddle lamps light the way to Hyundai’s refined premium large car with near-luxury attributes. Overall, Azera’s proportions remain elegant, purposeful and aerodynamically efficient, reducing wind noise while adding maximum stability on the highway.

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