• A redesigned large sedan to compete with cars like the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus
  • Well-equipped with lots of standard features including leather and navigation
  • First application of Hyundai's powerful and fuel-efficient new V6 engine

Hyundai's debut of the flagship Azera at the LA Auto Show gives the company reason to celebrate. Consider this list: Tucson, Sonata, Equus, Elantra, Accent and Veloster. With the Azera, these make seven all-new or completely redesigned models in the past 24 months, the second time Hyundai has achieved the goal it calls "24/7."

The new Azera brings several significant improvements over its predecessor, which was introduced for 2006. The large sedan, which shares a class with cars like the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus, is completely redesigned inside and out. Its powerful and efficient V6 is all new, and the Azera includes a bounty of standard features.

Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" design language, also seen on the smaller Sonata sedan and the Tucson SUV, is now visible on the Azera. The look is decidedly modern and sophisticated compared with the more conservative previous model, with swooping character lines and a third side window that visually stretches the greenhouse. Chrome trim dresses up the Azera from the grille to the integrated dual exhaust. A crease above the rear wheel flows into the sharp trailing edge of the trunk lid.

Inside, the overall design is familiar from the Sonata, but the center stack is arranged with two dials, one for climate control and the other for audio. The Azera's segment-exclusive standard navigation with backup camera are displayed and controlled on a seven-inch touch screen.

Other standard features include leather interior, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilting and telescoping steering wheel with multi-function controls, power heated front seats and a host of safety equipment, including nine airbags.

A new Lambda II 3.3-liter V6 endows the Azera with 293 horsepower. Direct injection and the Azera's standard six-speed automatic allow a class-leading 23mpg combined fuel economy rating.

Other models in Hyundai's seven-model new car marathon have been successful at attracting both returning Hyundai owners and new customers. Pricing is always an important factor and has not been announced, but our first look at the Azera suggests that the flagship sedan will follow suit.

What it means to you: Hyundai brings the stylish well-appointed Azera with standard leather and navigation to the large sedan segment.

See more LA Auto Show news.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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