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Hyundai Azera First Impression and Test Drive

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If you were to have ever told me that I would actually feel comfortable peering through Korean glass at the road ahead, I would have laughed and told you that it would only be on the off chance I took an unplanned road trip through Seoul.
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However, when the Hyundai Azera won AutoPacific‘s Vehicle Satisfaction Award as top rated car I broke down and decided to take one home for the night, just to take a closer look. My initial reaction was one of surprise as I walked over to a substantial vehicle with contemporary styling and opened the solid drivers door to a plush, high-grade leather interior. This is a Hyundai? I’m used to bland aesthetics and plastic wheel covers, this car actually had decent lines. I was about to realize how quickly a manufacturer could sneak up on my perceptions. The simple fact was that the Azera, Hyundai’s luxury flagship, was going to introduce me to the tenacity of the Hyundai Motor Company, and their fierce determination in this market segment.


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AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Results – Japanese Brands On Top

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The AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards honor products in nineteen categories or segments. Nine categories are cars and ten are trucks.
Overwhelming Win by Japanese Brands in Satisfaction by Vehicle Type
Overall, owners of Japanese brand vehicles rate their cars or trucks at the top of their category in ten of the nineteen categories. Owners of European brand vehicles rated their vehicle tops in two categories – Volkwagen Passat in the Premium Mid-Size Car Category and the MINI Cooper in the Image Compact Car class. The American Big Three had five wins… Lincoln Navigator won it all with the highest rating of any vehicle – car or truck; Cadillac CTS, Mercury Milan, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty. OK, that leaves two winners unaccounted for… those are from Hyundai.
The Hyundai Azera is the top rated car, even beating top class luxury cars like the Lexus LS430, jaguar XJ, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Hyundai Santa Fe is the top rated Mid-Size SUV for the fifth time in its six year history… this win comes just months before it is replaced by an all new Santa Fe to be produced in America.
So…
Japanese Brands – 10 with Suzuki having its first ever win
American Brands – 5 with Chrysler Group having zero wins
European Brands – 2
Korean Brands – 2
Check http:/.vehiclevoice.com for the complete listings.


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Honda Odyssey Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Minivans

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The Honda Odyssey Minivan wins top satisfying Minivan honors in AutoPacific’s 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The Odyssey, in a three-way tie with other Japanese brand Minivans in 2005, moves into the lead for 2006. Odyssey’s relatively sporty performance, ride and handling combined with traditional Minivan styling and innovative interior features nudge Odyssey ahead of the Nissan Quest for 2006. Honda’s perceived product quality was the deciding factor.


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Honda Civic Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Cars

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The benchmark is set higher this year in the Compact Car arena with the all new, eighth generation, 2006 Honda Civic. A new bolder exterior, improved creature comforts along with more powerful drivetrain options, earmark this generation for success and win over buyers in this product category. Praised for their longevity and economy this popular compact is poised to dominate their segment of the marketplace and welcome more Generation Y buyers than ever before. Owners of the new Civic place it at the top of the heat in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.


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Mitsubishi Raider Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Compact Pickups

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The all new Mitsubishi Raider is the top rated Compact Pickup. Maybe that is a misnomer because Raider is clearly Mid-Size and is the only Japanese-brand Compact Pickup available with a V8 engine. Raider is a derivative of the Dodge Dakota but with more aggressive styling. Styling makes the Raider a love it or hate it proposition which actually is good for a niche vehicle in a lower volume brand. Raider owners, having made a commitment to the new Mitsubishi entry, are very satisfied with their vehicle rating Raider tops in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Mitsubishi’s long warranty helps, and with its Dodge base, Raider is a downright good truck.


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Chevrolet Corvette Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sports Cars:

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Owners of the new C6 return the Chevrolet Corvette sports car to the top of the Sports Car category in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award with a decisive class-winning performance for 2006. The new Corvette is perhaps the best value in the entire Sports Car arena. The C6 Corvette is a more satisfying car than any previous Corvette – great styling, more finesse, super performance, great handling and a more supple ride. Still immediately identifiable as a Corvette, the C6 is clearly new across the board.


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Acura RSX Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Sporty Cars

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The Acura RSX is a small sporty coupe priced substantially below other Acura entries. This value, combined with a great powertrain and sports car like handling provide RSX owners with class-topping satisfaction. This satisfaction was communicated as the RSX won AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award in the ‘sporty car’ category. Interesting that this award comes soon after Acura management has announced that the RSX is being dropped.


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Nissan Titan Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Large Pickups

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Owners of the 2006 Nissan Titan rate the pickup at the top of the Large Pickup category. The 2006 model year is the third year in a row Titan has topped its segment in the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. This is an outstanding accomplishment and testament to the satisfaction Titan is giving its owners.
Titan’s achievement is truly remarkable and demonstrates the inherent differences in AutoPacific’s way of measuring satisfaction compared with others. Titan is immensely satisfying, but owner surveys conducted by others show Titan has a fair share of niggling problems. But, if you are not counting things gone wrong and looking at what really matters – how well buyers are satisfied – Titan shines. Its big, powerful V8 engine combined with outstanding styling and features provide the top-satisfying product package for 2006.
We cannot ignore that two large trucks produced at Nissan’s Canton Mississippi assembly plant won top place in their categories for both the 2004, 2005 and 2006 – Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada. This is a sweep any company can be envious of.


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Chevrolet Silverado Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks

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The Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty wins the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award among Heavy Duty Large Pickups.

A workhorse near the end of its run, the Silverado HD nosed out Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and Ford F-Series Super Duty entries. Much of its win has to be credited to its up-graded Duramax diesel for the 2006 model year.


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Lexus LS430 Wins AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Top Brand:

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The Lexus LS430 is rated at the top of the Luxury Car category in the AutoPacific 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. While some luxury car buyers opt for sportier vehicles, the LS430 appeals to people valuing its sensory deprivation chamber quietness and isolation. Providing bulletproof quality and reliability, good handling, an outstanding ride and surprisingly powerful performance when pushed, the LS430 claims the title of top Luxury Car for 2006.


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