Hyundai has done it again. Much like they did with the Elantra and the Sonata, they took the slow-selling Azera, completely changed it, and made it a spectacular automobile. The Azera was first introduced in 2005, but has been a non-factor for Hyundai, until now.
The new 2012 Hyundai Azera is the perfect fit between the Sonata and the Genesis. This is a large, front-wheel drive car that has stunning lines and looks like it could be a Mercedes or Lexus at a glance. My test car is black on black, which adds to the beautiful, head- turning look of the car.
Azera only offers one powertrain at this time, which is a 3.3-liter direct injection V6 that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This combo produces 293-horses and provides strong, steady, and quiet acceleration.
The Azera comes standard with a lot of really nice features like pushbutton start, leather interior, heated front and rear seats, navigation system, touchscreen operation, steering wheel controls, backup camera, and Bluetooth. Azera also comes standard with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system that gives you web access when you are connected to your smartphone.
Also standard are 18” alloy wheels, integrated chrome-tipped exhaust, multi-adjustable power front seats, HD radio, iPod connection, and an active setting for maximizing fuel economy. The Azera also comes with a host of safety technology including electronic stability control.
My test car has the Technology Package, which gives you 19” wheels, HID Xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, and upgraded stereo, air conditioned front seats, driver’s seat extension, power rear sunshade, interior ambient lighting, and a panoramic moonroof. This moonroof system is incredible and one of my favorite features. On this all black car, you simply can’t tell from the outside that the entire roof is glass. On the inside, the power, cloth covers separates in the middle and disappears toward the front and rear of the car. It is quite a conversation piece.
Inside the car, the interior and attention to detail will make you think you are in a $75,000 car, it is incredible. There is no learning curve to operate anything, and everything you need is at your fingertips between the controls and the touchscreen color monitor. The front legroom of this car is amazing and even with the front seats all the way back, the rear seat legroom is very good. All seats are reminiscent of sitting in your most comfy recliner. With the moonroof, people who are 6’2 would be comfortable in this car and people even taller would love it if they have long legs.
Azera is incredibly quiet, it drives great, it handles well, and I would have bet this car was rear-wheel drive. There is zero torque-steer with this car. Perhaps the most shocking thing was the size of the trunk, it’s massive. You could make yourself a spare bedroom in there.
I have driven cars that were well over $50,000 that I did not like nearly as well. The Azera will be a smash hit, I guarantee it. When people shop features, the ride and drive, the interior and exterior looks, price, and especially the 10 year/100,000 mile warranty, the Hyundai Azera is going to win out most of the time.
What I liked most: Interior and exterior looks, and the way it drives.
What I would change: Put adaptive cruise control in the Technology Package.
MSRP: Base price $32,875, as equipped $36,875.
Fuel Economy: Rated at 20 City/29 Highway, doing 30 on the highway at times.
2012 Hyundai Azera in a few words: An outstanding car and outstanding value.
Car Pro Rating: 5 out of a possible 5 Stars.