2012 Hyundai Azera Review

Spending some time with Hyundai's near-luxury sedan.

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August 11, 2012

2012 Hyundai Azera Review

The car isn't a road rocket, but merging and highway passing aren't problems.

Hyundai has been expanding upmarket of late, and while the original Azera was an attempt to tap into the near-luxury market, it wasn't quite on target--hence the 2012 redesign.

Hyundai likes to tout its 'fluidic sculpture' designs, and after seeing how 'fluidic design' turned the Sonata mid-size sedan into a looker, Hyundai went back to the well with the Azera.

The Azera shares a lot of its architecture with the slightly smaller Sonata. It looks a bit like the Sonata and shares some driving dynamics, but it's not exactly the same car. It offers all the amenities that one would expect in this class--amenities that Sonata doesn't necessarily have.

2012 Hyundai Azera Performance Hyundai gave the Azera just one engine, a 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 293 horsepower, and it motivates the Azera well enough. The car isn't a road rocket, but merging and highway passing aren't problems.

What is a problem is steering feel. While the Azera has good road manners and competent handling skills, the steering itself feels vague and way too lightweight/over-boosted. The low-effort steering is great at parking lot speeds, but there is no communication in hard cornering. It generally helps to know what the tires are doing, but the Azera insists on keeping that a state secret.

In terms of ride, the Azera is comfy, if a bit on the soft side. That's not surprising in the near-luxury class.
2012 Hyundai Azera Exterior Like its little brother, the Sonata, the Azera is a looker. It's got a gaping wide grille; sleek, curvy lines; and taillights that run from one side to the other. The front end looks aggressive, and the overall look shows that cars for middle managers need not be boring.
2012 Hyundai Azera Interior As on the outside, Hyundai has bestowed the Azera's cabin with flowing lines and curvature. The center stack has a faint hourglass shape, and the dashboard sweeps into the center stack with a flourish.

Cabin materials are class-appropriate, and the ambiance generally feels upscale.
2012 Hyundai Azera Final Thoughts Hyundai improved the Azera by leaps and bounds over the previous generation, but the problem is that the Azera's in a class of cars that includes the Buick LaCrosse and the recently redesigned Toyota Avalon. That means the Azera needs to stand out. We think it does in terms of styling, and Hyundai's extensive new-car warranty will be a strong selling factor. All Hyundai needs to do is tweak the steering somewhat, and the Azera can rise further above the crowd.
2012 Hyundai Azera Specs, Features, Prices Engine: 3.3-liter V-6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway

Base Price: $32,000

Available Features: dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, navigation system, heated front seats, rearview camera, heated rear seats, keyless entry and starting, rear-obstacle detection, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof.

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