With Hyundai pushing the Sonata in television ads and the company’s Genesis getting praised in both its sedan and coupe forms, it’s easy to overlook the South Korean automaker’s Azera.
And that’s too bad because if you’re in the market for a full-size sedan that is packed with lots of convenience features and provides a comfortable ride, the Azera needs to be on your list.
The Azera debuted as a 2006 model as a replacement for the company’s XG sedan, slightly longer and wider and with a considerable amount of interior room. It came in two trim levels — the SE, which served as the base, and the more-decked out Limited.
When it entered its second generation in the 2012 model year, the Azera came with only one well-equipped trim level, and that remains the case now as well. The 3.8-liter V6 offered in the first generation models is no more.
Mated with a six-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually, the 2013 Azera comes with a 3.3-liter V6 that drinks fuel at a rate of 20 miles-per-gallon city, 29 highway, and 23 combined, which is a slight improvement over the previous generation and makes it competitive in its class. It also features an Active Eco mode which the company says will help increase fuel mileage by about 5 percent
But a smaller engine doesn’t mean the Azera is lacking in power. Though its competitors’ engines have slightly larger displacement (3.5 and 3.6 liters), the 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque sent to the Azera’s front wheels top all but the Buick LaCrosse’s 303 and 264, respectively, in the class.
That’s enough power to allow you to make passes on two-lane highways comfortably enough and without throwing a scare into your passengers. Basking in the leather-lined, roomy interior while enjoying a ride that has been designed for comfort, they’re not likely to notice any way.
Ride comfort is only one thing shoppers in this segment usually put a premium on. The other is space. The Azera delivers there as well.
There’s a nice amount headroom both front (40.3 inches) and rear (37.6), though you lose about an inch from the front and about a quarter-inch from the rear in models with the panoramic sunroof. Legroom is measured at 45.5 inches in the front, 36.8 in the rear. Both front measurements are best in its class.
And there’s also a good amount of trunk space (16.3 cubic feet) as well.
That combination of comfort and space makes the Azera an exceptional highway cruiser, idea for the family vacation or just a weekend outing.
In addition, the Azera offers an outstanding list of standard features for its base price of $33,125 (including destination and delivery), including an intuitive-to-operate navigation system with a 7-inch touchscreen display, rear backup camera, Hyundai’s new Blue Link telematics system (think GM’s familiar OnStar), heated front and rear leather seats, XM satellite radio, keyless entry, a cooled glovebox, and an array of safety features like Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management.
Other than small items like a cargo net and carpeted floor mats, the only option offered is a technology package that includes 19-inch wheels over the standard 18-inchers, a panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, rear-parking sensors, a 14-speaker Infinity Logic 7 surround-sound audio system, power adjustable tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel column, and ventilated front seats, among other things. That package adds $4,000 to the cost.
With its exterior good looks and all that good stuff on the inside, there’s an awful lot to like about the Azera. Some have said too much, since if you don’t care about features like, say, a navigation system or XM radio, there is no stripped-down, cheaper version of the Azera offered.
But the fact that data from J.D. Power shows that the Azera spends an average of only 16 days on a dealer’s lot before being sold is evidence that apparently is not much of a problem. It’s like Mae West once said: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”