Hyundai Azera Overview
After a shaky start in the mid-'80s, Korean automaker Hyundai has redeemed itself fully since the start of the new millennium. Its vehicles have been earning well-deserved reputations for providing plenty of value through long lists of standard features, respectable performance, long warranties and prices that are lower than the norm. The Hyundai Azera, one of the company's newer models, certainly continues this trend. The Azera is a bit larger and more luxurious than the average midsize family sedan, slotting above the Sonata in Hyundai's lineup. It's been designed to provide impressive amounts of interior room, features and power for a price that's thousands less than those of many competing vehicles. Buyers who have owned a domestic full-size sedan in the past and are looking for a new vehicle will certainly want to take a look at the Hyundai Azera.
The 2010 Hyundai Azera equipped with the 3.8-liter engine has the kind of remarkable acceleration that can get you going quickly and easily. When we found ourselves in a sudden traffic jam, the brakes were strong, sure and precise. The Azera also handled well in parking situations and was agile to maneuver. We thought the suspension, however, was a little bouncy and somewhat harsh on broken pavement; we also feel that for a near-luxury model the cabin had a bit too much road noise. On the other hand, the visibility is excellent, engine response terrific, and we like the manual-shift mode of the automatic. It places comfort, luxury, safety and value as high priorities and is well suited both for commuting and long-distance trips. The car could also appeal as an alternative to entry-level models from Japanese luxury brands.
The Hyundai Azera is a full-size, five-passenger sedan available in GLS and Limited trim levels. Even the base model comes with an abundance of standard Hyundai Azera Accessories, including 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats and a six-speaker stereo with CD player, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio jack. A sunroof, leather upholstery and heated seats are optional on the GLS and standard on the Limited, which also gets a bigger engine and premium stereo. A bevy of high-end items like power-adjustable pedals and steering column, driver memory functions, Bluetooth, Logic 7 surround-sound audio and a navigation system are also available. Even when fully equipped, though, the Azera remains at a very reasonable price. The GLS options list includes the Premium Package, which adds leather seating, heated front seats and a power sunroof.
The Azera Limited offers the Navigation Package, which adds an Infinity 605-watt Logic 7 Surround Sound audio system combined with an LG navigation unit. The 2010 Hyundai Azera GLS uses a suede-like seat-surface material that could pass for the real deal and is just as soft to the touch. The Limited Edition adds plush leather seating surfaces and just the right aesthetic touches of wood trim. The cabin is comfortably cozy and has a big, open feeling. The beige interior - beige-on-beige with unexciting vinyl - is not exactly stimulating, but the soft curved shapes of the dash are easy on the eyes and the controls are simple to understand and operate. The rear seat is roomy enough for three, with a 40/60-split seatback that pulls down easily for additional storage. The trunk is huge, with enough room to accommodate a family's worth of summer vacation luggage or a couple of sets of golf clubs.
The Azera GLS is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 234 horsepower and 226 pound-feet of torque. A 3.8-liter V6 engine powers the Azera Limited, producing 263 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque. All Azeras feature a five-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Acceleration with the 3.8-liter V6 is brisk -- the Azera reached 60 mph in 7.2 seconds during track testing. On the move, the car is roomy and quiet. Hyundai likes to boast that this car has more interior volume and a bigger trunk than many full-size luxury sedans. Like all Hyundai vehicles, the Azera comes with impressive warranty coverage. In editorial reviews, the Hyundai Azera has received favorable commentary about its excellent interior design and materials, refined and quiet ride, powerful V6, strong brakes, roomy backseat and value for the money.
The Hyundai Azera debuted in 2006 as an all-new replacement for the XG350. Initially, there were two trim levels offered: Azera SE and Azera Limited. These grew to three the next year when they were joined by the entry-level GLS. For '08, it was back to two trims, when the GLS received more standard features and essentially replaced the SE. That year also saw the addition of satellite radio, a navigation system and the Logic7 sound system to the features list. For '09, the Azera's steering and suspension were revised, while different interior lighting, a new grille and a welcome iPod/USB audio jack were added. The vehicle that it replaced, the XG350, served much of the same purpose for Hyundai. Although roomy and well-equipped, this model never earned much critical praise due to its blandness and mediocre handling.