2012 Hyundai Azera Ride and Review By John Heilig


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2012 Hyundai Azera

SEE ALSO: Hyundai Buyers Guide

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG
THE AUTO CHANNEL

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2012 Hyundai Azera
Engine: 3.3-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 293 hp @ 6,400 rpm/255 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic
Wheelbase: 112.0 in.
Length/Width/Height: 193.3 x 73.2 x 57.9 in.
Tires: P245/40R19
Cargo volume: 16.3 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway/16.4 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.
Curb weight: 3,605-3,825 lbs.
Sticker: $36,875 (includes $875 delivery charge and $4,000 in options for the technology package)

My Top 5 Reasons to buy this car
1. Very quiet
2. Good performance
3. Near luxury
4. Hyundai fluidic styling
5. Nice package

The Bottom Line: While the Hyundai Azera is technically a premium large sedan, it competes in the same price class as the premium entry-level cars from other manufacturers. And in this class, it outshines the competition in silence, performance and styling.

By coincidence, I happened to have scheduled the Hyundai Azera at the same time that I was attending the introduction of a 2013 mid-size sedan from another manufacturer, who will remain nameless.

Now, the Azera is classified as a premium large sedan, but in fact, it competes most favorably with the mid-sizers. The prices are about the same, and if you discount the $4,000 technology package, the Azera comes in at about $32,000, which is nudging the top edge of the "normal" mid-size sedans. All this is to show that the Azera is a hell of a car, with all the attributes of an entry-level luxury car, yet with the size of a larger car.

The mid-size I'm talking about has a 3.5-liter engine that develops 265 horsepower. The Azera's 3.3-liter engine puts out 293 horses and is quieter doing it. Both are connected to the what-has-become-normal 6-speed automatic transmission.

With all that, you get Hyundai's signature "fluidic styling" that identifies it as a Hyundai in the same family as, among others, the Sonata and Elantra. The sculpted sides and hood really stand out from the crowd. Put the engine, transmission and luxury touches and the Azera delivers excellent ride quality. It is silent on the highway with little or no road noise intruding into the cabin.

The driver and front passenger ride in heated and cooled seats, while the rear seats are "only" heated. The front seats are comfortable, and in the rear there is excellent leg room as well as a flat floor, so a third passenger can ride back there in comfort. The rear seats also have some side support. All doors have inserts for water bottles. The adjusters for the power seats are on the front doors, just like in a Mercedes-Benz. We liked the sun shades on the rear side windows and the rear window. The sides are manual while the rear is operated with a button on the dash.

Hyundai has equipped with Azera with a large trunk of 16.3 cubic feet. The rear seats fold, using a release in the trunk, to expand the volume. However, the framing restricts the "hole" between the trunk and the folded rear seats.

The navigation/audio/HVAC screen is clear. I was somewhat disappointed in that I couldn't find my destination on the navigation menu (it said the road didn't exist), yet I could find it on line. We drove the Azera in some pretty hot weather and the HVAC system cooled us nicely. In addition, the audio side of the menu also worked well with SiriusXM as well as an iPod. Storage area include a deep center console/arm rest and a glove box that is crowded with all the manuals. There's a large sunroof that extends back to the rear seats. Only the front half of the roof opens, however. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Korean manufacturers, as exemplified by kissing cousins Hyundai and Kia, are really doing a nice job with their cars of late. While the Azera is a large sedan, it's priced much lower, yet it retains the ride quality of a larger car.

2012 The Auto Page

Complete specifications on the 2012 Hyundai Azera 3.3L and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

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