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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
My blog is about my life as a teacher, coach, and typical 22 year old trying to connect the dots of life. This has been a way for me to sit back and reflect on the lessons that I learn through teaching and coaching. I like similes and analogies. so when I am able to apply a lesson learned, in the class and on the court, to my life, I carry the analogy with me, reflecting back on the experience.
Azera, the Gentleman’s Express
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About this blog
By Rachel Sanders
Rachel Sanders was born and raised in Crookston, MN. She attended Crookston Public Schools and graduated with the class of 2010. She attended two years at the University of North Dakota, and spent her final two years of college, graduating from ...
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To do what I was made to do
Rachel Sanders was born and raised in Crookston, MN. She attended Crookston Public Schools and graduated with the class of 2010. She attended two years at the University of North Dakota, and spent her final two years of college, graduating from Mayville State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education in Mathematics Education. She is in her first year teaching, and was extremely blessed and excited to receive her first teaching job with the Staples Motley School District. She teach Algebra 1 and Geometry at Staples Motley High School. She also coach 7th grade Volleyball. She's an avid Green Bay Packer fan and Fighting Sioux Fan. Her family consists of her parents, Rich & Ruth of Crookston, and brother and sister-in-law, Jake & Jensen of Eagan, MN. She enjoys bonfires on cool fall nights, music, spending time with little kids, and any time I get with my family.
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By Silvio Calabi
April 7, 2013 5:20 p.m.

Elegant, yes? The view from other angles is just as pleasing. Hyundai’s 2013 Azera is as pretty as sedans get, and the beauty is more than just skin-deep.

Elegant, yes? The view from other angles is just as pleasing. Hyundai’s 2013 Azera is as pretty as sedans get, and the beauty is more than just skin-deep.



To gaze upon Hyundai’s shapely Azera is to realize how few cars today are truly pretty. In a market that values fuel economy, luxury, green-ness, low lease payments or whatever, “pretty” evidently doesn’t cut it any longer. Even Ferraris look a bit grotesque these days. The Azera, though—that’s pretty. No gaping grille, no swollen goiters, no painful angles; it is thoroughly harmonious.

But, as mother used to warn us, pretty is as pretty does. As it happens, though, the Azera does quite well, thank you.

Till the Genesis appeared, in ‘08, the Azera was Hyundai’s flagship, its most expensive car. Then both were upstaged by the luxury-liner Equus, and the Azera became merely a “premium” car, albeit one that gets close to 30 MPG on the highway.

Today Hyundai offers us 13 models with two, three, four or five doors at prices that stretch from $15,000 to $60,000. Most of them are aimed at families, students, young professionals and Capitalists—automakers’ prime quarry—but now Hyundai has a Boomers’ blue-plate special. The Azera is for grownups who no longer have expense accounts, but still have expense-account tastes.

The Azera backs up its looks with a creamy V-6 tuned for 293 horsepower and connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually. Suddenly dumping this much power into the front wheels inevitably causes torque steer, but Hyundai has engineered the mad zigzagging down to a mild, easily controllable pull. (We retirees rarely open the throttle that quickly anyway. Unless we’re vintage racing.) Furthermore, understeer—the tendency of a nose-heavy FWD car to plow through tight corners—is non-existent, at least in public. On the interstate, the Azera holds its speed and line effortlessly; in town and on secondary roads, the handling, steering, launching and stopping become invisible.

With its spacious charcoal-and-cream interior, the Azera is as satisfying and as “premium” inside as it is outside. No one should be stymied by the controls on the steering wheel and the center console, or by the satnav. The seats are excellent. In the front, the headrests can be adjusted fore-and-aft; rear passengers get two semi-bucket seats plus reading lights, soft-touch grab handles, a fold-down armrest and ample foot and leg room. Driving or simply being driven in the Azera is an exercise in comfort and serenity.

Then we tried something different: I sat in the car with the spec sheet in hand and mentally deleted all the added features. The 19-inch wheels became standard 18s; the dual-pane skyroof with its electric shade was replaced by featureless headliner. The audible backup sensors disappeared, along with one of the driver’s-seat adjustments, the seat memory, the 3-stage cooling in the front seats and the powered tilt-and-telescope on the steering wheel. The rear-window shades went away. So did with the mood lighting, the carpet floor mats, the higher-grade stereo, the Xenon headlights and the iPod cable. The sticker price dropped by $4,100.

Was the “stripper” Azera still a premium car? Was it worth $32,250? For that matter, was the loaded car worth $37,225?

There’s no denying the desirability of some of those extras—I’m partial to the huge sunroof and the high-intensity headlights—but what remained was impressive. If the parking sensors are gone, there’s a still a backup camera. The computer screen and GPS stay. The sound system now has seven speakers instead of 12, but all the wireless connectivity remains. The front seats are still leather, still heated and still adjusted via Mercedes-style controls. The HVAC system is still automatic and still has two zones. The self-dimming Homelink rear-view mirror is there too, as are the automatic high beams, the push-button ignition and the auto-unlocking doors. The air-bag count remains at nine. So it seems that the answer to all three questions above was “yes.”

The Azera doesn’t break new ground in performance or technology. What it does is come up behind the establishment in this segment—Toyota’s Avalon, Nissan’s Maxima, a Honda product or two, various Buicks, Fords and such—and hip-check them aside.

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