I wonder how many people have Hyundai's Azera on their radar screens when shopping for a family sedan.

I have to admit I haven't given the Azera much thought, but this car is a gem. I know the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry are perennial, long-standing favorites. And now the Chevrolet Malibu has emerged as an award-winning contender in the segment. But I must recommend to sedan shoppers not to overlook this underestimated offering from Hyundai.

The Azera has received awards in the J.D. Power and Associates APEAL survey for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Studies.

The big Azera is a full-size sedan you can be proud of driving. The exterior is rich and elegant, and the vehicle doesn't come with a showy price tag. It does come with a 10-year/100,000-powertrain warranty.

The bodylines are as purposeful as they are beautiful. The proportions have been designed to reduce wind noise and improve aerodynamic efficiency.

The 2008 Azera comes in two trims, the GLS and the Limited. I test-drove the Azera Limited with a base price of $27,335. It felt so good to drive this sedan. It was elegant and powerful. The Limited model has the 3.8-liter V-6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic for manual selection. The GLS trim has a 3.3-liter V-6, also joined to a five-speed automatic.

This large five-passenger sedan is well equipped with active and passive safety equipment. Electronic stability control and traction control are not offered as optional safety features. That's because these key active safety technologies come standard equipped on the Hyundai.

Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, including Brake Assist, which maximizes the braking forces, are also included on the Hyundai Azera. The active safety features on the Azera are typical of what would be loaded onto luxury brand vehicles. Not only that, but the Azera has eight airbags, plus front-seat active head restraints designed to prevent whiplash. So the Azera is not only luxurious and affordable, but safe as well.

EPA fuel economy: City: 17, Highway: 26

Base MSRP: $27,335