The 2012 Hyundai Azera isn't a hybrid or a luxury-branded car. But it's tops among 2012 non-diesel, non-hybrid large sedans in government fuel economy ratings with 20 miles a gallon in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.
The new Azera also has so many standard luxury features, including 293-horsepower V-6, light-emitting diode headlight accents, navigation system and rearview camera with large, 7-inch, in-dashboard screen display, that it might be confused with a high-tech, luxury sedan.
The roomy Azera four door now is attractively styled like the smaller and better known Hyundai Sonata mid-size sedan and has more front-seat legroom - a total of 45.5 inches - than a Cadillac Escalade or Ford Expedition.
To be sure, the Azera doesn't have every luxury feature. The suspension doesn't offer driver-selectable settings, the automatic transmission has six speeds, not eight, and the car is front-wheel drive, for example.
But the Azera's starting retail price of $32,875 is more akin to prices for "premium" sedans, rather than big sedans from luxury brands that start upwards of $42,000.
In fact, the $32,875 Azera starting price includes luxury-like smooth leather-trimmed seats, sizable 18-inch alloy wheels, eight-way, power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front and back seats, Bluetooth phone connectivity and driver seat adjustable lumbar, not to mention a cooled glovebox and nine air bags.
In comparison, the 2012 Toyota Avalon large sedan with a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $33,955 and 268-horsepower V-6 and 17-inch wheels, lists navigation system, heated front seats and driver lumbar adjustment as options.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse, which is a mid-size sedan according to the federal government classification but has an exterior with similar dimensions to the Azera's, has a starting retail price of $31,045 with 182-horsepower, four-cylinder engine.
This base LaCrosse has six air bags and no standard rearview camera, navigation system or power-adjustable front-passenger seat.