2013 Hyundai AzeraPosted on July 26th, 2013
Premium five-passenger sedan
By Nina Russin
The second-generation Azera raises Hyundai’s bar to new heights, rivaling high-end sedans such as the Lexus ES 350 and Lincoln MKS in style and performance. Since it lacks the luxury nameplate, the Azera is more often compared to with premium products including the Toyota Avalon and Buick LaCrosse.
One thing is for sure: the Azera is a lot of car for the money, with a powerful direct injection V-6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, a host of comfort and safety features, priced just over $32,000. Hyundai’s new assurance program that adds three years of Connected Care on top of the ten-year/100,000 mile warranty makes the sedan’s value hard to match.
The test car comes with a technology package that adds 19-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, an Infinity premium sound system, driver’s seat cushion extender, driver’s seat memory, power rear sunshade, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and ambient interior lighting. Carpeted floor mats and the $875 delivery charge bring the final MSRP to $37,225.
Test drive in Phoenix
I spent the past week driving the Azera around the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area as well as a section of the Gila River Indian reservation south of town. While Arizona weather is normally dry and sunny, the monsoon season can bring torrential rains. Such was the case this week, when a particularly vicious storm made the national news.
I don’t make a point of hitting the roads when rain is coming down in droves. Because Phoenix doesn’t have much of a sewer system, these storms often bring flash floods severe enough to float cars.
But sometimes I have the misfortune of getting stuck in one. I found myself on the 10 freeway south of town when this particular storm hit.
The highway isn’t a bad place to be if one has to be driving through a monsoon since it’s relatively flat. Although visibility was diminished, I was able to see the lines on the road well enough to drive. The Azera was absolutely rock solid in terms of traction. Despite being a front-wheel drive, I noticed absolutely no tendency for the car to understeer, even on a waterlogged road. It was very impressive.
In more temperate conditions, the Azera offers driving enthusiasts a lot to love. The 3.3-liter V-6 engine produces 293 horsepower and 255 foot-pounds of torque for excellent acceleration off the line, and plenty at the top end for passing slower vehicles.
The six-speed automatic transmission is seamless, with no noticeable shift shock during normal driving conditions. The top overdrive gear is big enough to produce 29 mile-per-gallon highway fuel economy: an impressive number for a 3800 pound car. Average gas mileage during my 150-mile test drive was 22.5 miles-per-gallon, slightly short of the 23 mpg EPA estimate.
The sedan has massive brakes, with 12.6-inch rotors up front and 11.2-inch discs in the back. That came in handy during the monsoon. Although disc brakes are self-drying, I was still impressed with the sedan’s stopping power under these unusual conditions.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. The standard rear backup camera provides a wide-angle view to the back when the driver shifts into reverse. Lines superimposed over the image show the vehicle’s trajectory according to steering inputs.
I wish that the sedan had come with blind spot monitoring because the feature makes it easier to monitor the cars in adjacent lanes on the highway. However over-the-shoulder visibility is pretty good. I had no problems seeing over the cowl for a clear view out the front.
The four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link setup in the back. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat while cornering. I didn’t have the opportunity to drive the sedan over any bumpy roads, but I found the ride quite pleasant.
The Azera interior is cavernous, with ample room for five adults. Comfort and convenience features are what one might expect from a luxury car, including heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory, a great sound system with HD and XM satellite radio, Bluetooth interface, etc.
Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fishing for the key fob: a feature I really appreciated when I had to exit and relock the car during the monsoon.
I found the driver’s seat quite comfortable for drives up to an hour. The seat extender reduces leg fatigue for taller drivers.
There is plenty of head, leg and hip room in the second row, even in the center position. The seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for long items. While I don’t consider sedans bicycle friendly, there would be enough room to fit a road bike with the wheels removed in a pinch. The trunk is quite large with the back seats in place, with plenty of space for luggage, golf bags and some small camping equipment.
The car’s only Achilles heel is the center stack screen, which disappears when the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses. I had to to remove mine whenever I needed to read something.
The Hyundai Azera comes with front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee airbags, antilock brakes, traction control and stability control. Hyundai Assurance adds Connected Care, which automatically notifies police and emergency medical personnel in the event of a serious collision.
Hyundai builds the Azera at its Asan, Korea assembly plant.
Like: A stylish, spacious five-passenger luxury sedan with excellent power and performance, and a high level of standard convenience and safety features. Hyundai Assurance and the ten-year/100,000 warranty add additional value to this very strong competitor in the premium market.
Dislike: Center stack screen is difficult to read if the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses.
Base price: $32,250
As tested: $37,225
Horsepower: 293 Hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 255 lbs.-.ft. @ 5200 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 20/29 mpg city/highway
One response to “2013 Hyundai Azera”
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