The current crop of full-size sedans are venturing out of their comfort zone in terms of styling. But that wasn’t something you could say a few years back. Automakers played it safe with bland and boring design as not to scare buyers away. Hyundai decided to challenge the status quo when it came to designing the second-generation Azera full-size sedan. When it was introduced for the 2012 model year, the Azera was a shock to the system with sharp lines and a distinctive profile. Since then, other automakers have introduced full-size sedans that you would be glad to show off and not hide in the garage.
But looks can only get you so far. How does the rest of the Hyundai Azera compare to the competition?
Hyundai has gotten parts of the Azera’s interior right with a premium design and the use of soft-touch plastics and faux-wood trim. However, there are some cheap feeling plastics being used in certain parts interior which puts a damper on the upscale feeling Hyundai is trying to go after. The center stack underwent some changes for 2015 with Hyundai adding some new buttons and knobs to make it easier to control various aspects of the vehicle. An eight-inch touchscreen is standard on all Azeras and boasts a simple interface and crisp graphics to make it easy to use.
In terms of comfort, the Azera mostly scores well here. Seats come wrapped in perforated leather and provide a good level of support. Driver and passenger get power adjustments, along with heat and ventilation. Rear seat passengers will find a decent amount of legroom, but headroom is tight for tall people due to the shape of the roof. For comparison, the similarly sized Hyundai Genesis has bit more headroom thanks to a different shape of the roof.
Power comes from a 3.3L V6 with 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic gets the power to the front wheels. The engine needs to be given some revs to get the vehicle moving. But once moving, the engine feels up to the task of dealing with most driving situations. The six-speed automatic provides smooth shifts, but it tended to hold on to gears much longer than we wanted it to. Fuel economy numbers for the Azera stand at 19 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. My average for the week in the Azera landed around 22.4 MPG.
The Azera’s ride is reminiscent of old Buick and Lincoln sedans where it seems to glide over bumps and imperfections. Road and wind noise are kept out the cabin, providing something akin to a library. Handling is similar to other full-size sedans as the Azera shows a little bit of body roll in the corners. Where the Azera falls flat is in the steering as it feels way too light and numb. Now this would have been ok a few years back, but competitors such as the Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, and Toyota Avalon show that its ok to have some weight and feel for the steering.
The Hyundai Azera is still a very capable full-size sedan with a some sharp looks to go with it. But sadly, the model is overshadowed by new models which offer a bit more room in the back and better steering. The Azera is worth a look, but only after you spent some time looking at some of the other full-size sedans on offer.
Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Azera, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Engine: 3.3L GDI Dual-CVVT DOHC V6
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 293 @ 6,400
Torque @ RPM: 255 @ 5,200
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/28/22
Curb Weight: 3,871 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
Base Price: $38,200
As Tested Price: $39,220 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00