2012 Hyundai Azera Preview - "A Yes Brainer" +VIDEO
Hyundai launches second generation 2012 Azera entry luxury four-door with V-6 power, loads of leather and a plethora of premium features
By Thom Cannell
The Auto Channel
Originally known as the Hyundai XG, their then-luxury model became Azera in 2006. Predating the ultra-luxury Equus and less sporty and larger than Sonata, though larger, Azera targets mid-sized vehicles like Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon and is cross shopped against Lexus ES350 and Acura TL. Nothing we’ve seen says the new model won’t penetrate even more deeply into this segment, rather we think it is even better positioned to eat into market share of all mid-sized cars. The reasons are simple, few, and powerful.
First is an upscale all-leather interior that, in very brief acquaintance, feels every bit as supple and thick as you’d expect from Cadillac, Audi, or Coach. Second is a stout V-6 engine and 6-speed SHIFTRONIC transmission for power and fuel economy (Hyundai expects an EPA rating of 20 City/29 Highway/23 Combined) which places it at the upper end of competitive power and torque. Last is a combination of design excellence and expected value.
Watch the Hyundai Azera promo video
Design is always influenced by personal taste. That said, buyers have been rewarding the American-designed styling Hyundai calls “Fluidic Sculpture” with their hard earned cash, dealers can scarcely keep Sonata and now Elantra in stock. Although Hyundai declined to price the 2012Azera, outgoing 2011 Limited models list in the $28-$32,000 range and we expect similar pricing.
Exterior design, created by Hyundai’s California studio, is slightly restrained compared to Sonata. Sculptural aspects start at the arched three-bar chrome grille, sliding into HID headlamps with LED accent lights encased in a wraparound that extends into muscular front wheel arches. Door panels are relatively calm, using a tight accent line created by lightly shaped metal that leads the eye from front wheel into a highly arched rear deck that recalls Camaro and BMW 7 Series. Wraparound tail lamps seem familiar, with centered crystalline backup lights. The deck is high, producing more downforce and lots of trunk space, and creating a very tight rear slope to the backlight. Besides creating a tight angle at the C pillar, it draws the eye and visually creates speed and tension. It also makes room for a panoramic dual-panel sunroof that splits the padded ceiling to reveal a push-back glass panel. Other features include heated side mirrors with inclusive integrated turn signals a’ la’ Mercedes, sculpted chrome-tipped dual exhausts, standard 18” alloy wheels with a 19” upgrade.
Interior design employs a motif based on a cockpit for driver and passenger with a soaring, winged center stack that captures a standard navigation system and HVAC outlets. Sculptural elements continue with bilateral curves extending into the driver’s hooded binnacle and simple curved dash for the passenger. Azera uses soft blue ambient lights in footwells, door panels, and at the passenger’s knee panel to light entry.
The center stack, naturally dominated by 7-inch Navigation screen with backup camera, uses Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics which, like Ford’s SYNC is based on Microsoft’s auto platform. Its features are similar, with maps, destination, and route button controls, as well as software features like emergency alerts, maintenance alerts and on-route traffic, stock, sports, weather, and of course Bluetooth and streaming audio Bluetooth and the ability to control your iPod or USB device. The audio system includes XM satellite service (three months free), HD radio and touch screen navigation. Equally naturally, and equally mandatory, is a tilt-telescope steering wheel and controls for audio and cruise. The instrument panel informs of open doors, failing tires, the usual speed, RPM, battery and temperature status,
Included are heated front and rear seats, manual side window shades are included and manually operated and the power-operated rear sunshade retracts when you reverse. Another new feature, one you’ll soon grow to love, is proximity detection: the car knows one of its drivers is near and, with a single button touch, unlocks the door.
Power If you must know, the Hyundai-designed Lambda II 3.3-liter engine is smallest in its segment, yet produces 293 hp and 255 pounds-feet of torque. This means a large power density, the best in its class and done with direct injection and dual continuously variable valve timing. According to Hyundai powertrain engineers, there is capacity for more power if ever needed.
Ride and handling and active safety are controlled by Macpherson struts front and multi-ink five-link rear suspensions, both with premium Sachs dampers called Amplitude Selective Dampers which vary their stiffness according to the length of the damper stroke. That’s techno-speak for it rides softly on smooth pavement and can absorb bad pavement with ease. Vehicle stability control is standard, as are rear parking assist sensors, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, traction control and brake assist to speed up emergency stops and decrease stopping distance, and front seats designed to reduce head and neck impact injury potential by 17%. Nine airbags are fitted to Azera including side-curtain and driver’s knee protection.
The 2012 Azera will offer only a standard “well equipped” model and the Azera Technology Package and we’ll test drive one, and report, soon.
Watch the unveiling of the new Azera at the 2011 LA Auto Show
2012 Hyundai Azera Specs
2012 Hyundai Azera ENGINE
Type Dual-CVVT (Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing) DOHC V6
Materials Aluminum block / aluminum cylinder heads
Horsepower 293 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 255 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Bore & Stroke 92.0 × 83.8
Valves per cylinder 4
Compression Ratio 11.5:1
2012 Hyundai Azera TRANSMISSION6-speed electronic automatic with OD lock-up torque converter, shift lock and SHIFTRONIC® manual shift mode
Final drive 3.041:1
2012 Hyundai Azera SUSPENSION
Front MacPherson Strut SACHS ASD shock absorbers and 24-mm stabilizer bar
Rear Multi-link SACHS ASD shock absorber and 17-mm stabilizer bar
2012 Hyundai Azera STEERINGType Rack & pinion, power-assisted, engine-RPM-sensing
Overall Ratio 14.5:1
Turns, lock to lock 2.9
Turning circle (curb to curb) 36.5 ft.
2012 Hyundai Azera BRAKES/TIRES/WHEELS
General Dual-diagonal, split circuit, power-assisted braking system
Front 12.6-in. Rear 11.2-in. ABS Four-wheel, four-channel, and four-sensor with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and TCS Tires 18-inch wheels: P245/45R18 19-inch wheels: P245/40R19
2012 Hyundai Azera EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase 112.0 in.
Overall length 193.3 in.
Overall width 73.2 in.
Overall height 57.9 in.
Track, front 18-inch wheels: 63.2 in.
19-inch wheels: 63.1 in.
Track, rear 18-inch wheels: 63.3 in.
19-inch wheels: 63.1 in
2012 Hyundai Azera INTERIOR DIMENSIONS
Front (w/ sunroof) 40.3 in. (38.3 in.)
Rear (w/ sunroof) 37.6 in. (37.3 in.)
Front 45.5 in.
Rear 36.8 in.
Front 58.3 in.
Rear 56.4 in.
Front 54.6 in.
Rear 54.2 in.
EPA passenger volume 107.0 cubic ft.
EPA cargo volume 16.3 cubic ft.
EPA total volume 123.3 cubic ft.
Fuel 18.5 gallons
Oil 6.3 quarts
Coolant 5.2 quarts
Transmission 8.2 quarts
2012 Hyundai Azera CURB WEIGHT
Curb 3,605 – 3,825 lbs
GVWR 4,785 lbs
2012 Hyundai Azera EPA FUEL ECONOMY
,br .City Highway Combined
3.3L 20 mpg 29 mpg 23 mpg