2013 Hyundai Azera Review

Providing value in the near-luxury segment.

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May 6, 2013

2013 Hyundai Azera Review

The car was far more engaging and interesting during cornering.

Introduction
Once upon a time, the Hyundai Azera was a bland near-luxury sedan that did well as a value proposition against other bland near-luxury sedans, thanks to its low price. That all changed in 2012, when Hyundai redesigned the Azera, giving it striking looks. Whether by accident or not, the timing was fortuitous for Hyundai, as the company got out ahead of rival Toyota's well-received Avalon redesign while catching up to Buick, who had redesigned the LaCrosse to positive reviews for the 2010 model year. For 2013, the Azera remains basically unchanged, but after taking it for a week-long test drive (not quite literally, we didn't actually drive for 168 straight hours), we found our experience to differ slightly from that of our 2012 Azera test.

2013 Hyundai Azera On the Road We lambasted the 2012 Azera for having steering feel that was far, far too light, calling it vague and over-boosted. We also reamed the Azera's steering for not telling the driver what the tires are doing.

Well, something changed with the 2013--the steering felt far tighter and more accurate, which is a boon during cornering. We checked with Hyundai PR, and they told us that the steering is unchanged for 2013, but it felt different to us--different in a good way. The car was far more engaging and interesting during cornering. That doesn't mean it's a great-handling car--near-luxury front-drivers are not designed for such shenanigans--but it feels more fun than before. It still exhibits understeer and body roll, but if the better steering feel isn't a fluke limited to our test loaner, it's no longer a snoozer during cornering.

Acceleration remains powerful enough for most mundane driving maneuvers, but the 3.3-liter/293 horsepower V-6 falls a bit short of living up to the promise of its numbers.

A car like the Azera is meant to ride well, and the Azera does, for the most part. Smoothness does vanish sometimes on really rough pavement, and the highway ride isn't as buttery soft as one would expect in this class. That probably falls into the 'win' category for enthusiasts and the 'loss' column for coddled junior-executive types.
2013 Hyundai Azera Exterior We praised the car for its curvy styling last year, and our stance hasn't changed. Hyundai calls this 'fluidic design,' we call it damn handsome. We especially like the integrated exhaust cutouts in the rear, along with the taillights that stretch from side to side. It's a handsome package.
2013 Hyundai Azera Interior Hyundai gave the Azera some interior flourishes, such as an hourglass-shaped center stack and other curvy, flowing lines. Overall, we like it. We also appreciate the class-appropriate materials and generally price-appropriate ambiance.

What we don't like is Hyundai's insistence on providing its own iPod dock connector. We wouldn't mind so much if the thing didn't work loose so often, causing the audio system to switch away for our iPods/iPhone. The fact that Hyundai's system defaults to alphabetical order each time, taking us out of shuffle, further annoys.
2013 Hyundai Azera Final Thoughts It's hard not to like the Azera. It's well done, reasonably priced, looks good inside and out, and performs competently. The entries in the near-luxury class continue to improve, and the Azera remains a strong standout.

Middle-management wasn't always this fun.
2013 Hyundai Azera Specs, Features, and Prices Engine: 3.3-liter V-6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drive Wheels: Front-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway

Base Price: $32,250

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

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