2013 Hyundai Azera Review
Providing value in the near-luxury segment.No Comments
The car was far more engaging and interesting during cornering.
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.
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.
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.
Middle-management wasn't always this fun.
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