by Roger Biermann
The Hyundai Azera has long been the brand's halo model when it comes to luxury models. That was up until the moment Hyundai launched its Genesis sub-brand, a sub-brand dedicated to - you guessed it - luxury cars. That's left the Azera in quite some predicament - cannibalized for sales by Hyundai's own models. It should come as no surprise then that the 6th generation Hyundai Azera won't be coming to the USA. In fact, at the end of 2017, the 5th generation Azera currently for sale will cease to exist anywhere in the USA but in used car lots. The current-gen Azera hosts a 293-hp engine
The Azera is a large luxury sedan, and it epitomizes everything it's supposed to, with copious amounts of space and seating for four adult occupants and one child in the middle of the rear bench. The seats are comfortable, with plenty of room to stretch out, forwards and upwards.
Trunk space is pretty decent too, with up to 16.3 cubic feet back there. The only packaging faux pas for the Hyundai Azera's interior seems to be blind spot and rearward visibility thanks to chunky B- and C-pillars.
Interior materials are for the most part seriously premium, but they're let down by hard plastics around the cabin, and coarse stitching doesn't lend a premium feel. With only two trims available, one might be worried it's an all or nothing affair in terms of spec, but even the base model features heated and ventilated leather seats, with power operation and memory function. The base model also includes an 8-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
If you're after a full-size sedan that you can have some fun with, the Azera isn't the car for you - move along. It's decidedly comfort-oriented and comes with an automatic handicap of being front-wheel drive with considerable dimensions, and to that end, it suffers from body lean and understeer when pushed. The steering feels oddly weighted and notchy in its movements - no smoothness or directness here, and it's completely numb due to an electronically power-assisted steering setup.
But, it soaks up large bumps tremendously well, that soft suspension coming into its own on long cruises. Severely pockmarked roads highlight damping that's a little slow, but on most surfaces, it'll be nothing less than ultra smooth. Thanks to superb noise insulation, you'll also be kept in a world of your own, with excellent cabin refinement pairing with soft suspension to create a faraday cage of sorts to isolate you from the world. Notably, the sheer length of the new Azera sedan means that it's not easily maneuverable.
The 2017 Hyundai Azera derives its urge from a gutsy 3.3-liter gasoline V6 engine that kicks out 293-horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. But it does so through a 6-speed automatic transmission and only front-wheel-drive - missing out on the all-wheel-drive market entirely. Throttle calibration is a little iffy at times, which results in jerky low-speed traffic driving, but the engine itself is smooth, refined, and offers enough grunt for the Azera's size. The large sedan manages a run from 0-60 mph in around 6.2 seconds according to independent testing. You don't really buy a full-size sedan with the idea that it'll be frugal in terms of gas mileage, and the new Hyundai Azera isn't the best performer in this department, either. The 2017 Azera returns EPA estimates of 20/28/23 mpg in its base format, with the Limited trim dropping a point on city and combined cycles. When the Hyundai Azera sedan's fuel tank is full, it'll allow for around 426 miles of total range. If you're on the lookout for something more frugal, the Sonata Hybrid is a good option.
This is where the Azera makes up ground compared to competitors. 2 trim levels exist; with the Base giving you heated and ventilated leather seats with power adjustment, full smartphone integration, dual-zone climate, and power-adjustable steering. As usual, moving up trim levels brings notable upgrades and the Limited spec gives you Xenon headlamps, 19-inch alloys, a sunroof, rear sunshades, and ambient lighting. In the way of safety, a rearview camera is standard, as is blind-spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. Lane departure and forward collision warnings are Limited-specific.
The IIHS subjected the Azera to review in terms of safety, awarding it four ratings of Good. The NHTSA did not conduct a review of the Azera. If you're worried about having mechanical problems down the line, the Hyundai Azera is a car that comes standard with a class-leading five-year or 60,000-mile warranty. There are no reliability reviews for the Azera from JD Power.
The Hyundai Azera exudes comfort and luxury at a price point lower than just about any competition when specified comparatively. There are two Hyundai Azera models in the USA; the Base and the Limited. The Hyundai Azera's price at base-level starts at $34,100, while the top-level Limited has an MSRP of $39,300. The Azera's price is slightly lower than that of the Nissan Maxima at its entry level. But sadly, it seems value for money and comfort can't save the Azera from Hyundai's own Genesis brand. A good car, but one few in the US will remember when it's gone.