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Heels On Wheels: 2013 Hyundai Azera Review


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2013 Hyundai Azera


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE 2013 HYUNDAI AZERA VEHICLE
To reign over the full-size sedan market, you’ve got to offer full-size attraction, and the 2013 Hyundai Azera brings exactly that with racy flare and a very reasonable price. Stylishly designed with a long list of impressive modern conveniences like heated front and rear seats and a seven-inch navigation screen with backup camera, you also get powerful results from a direct-injection V6 engine.

I drove a 2013 Hyundai Azera with the standard 293-horsepower Lamba II 3.3-liter Gasoline Direct Injection V6 engine dropping paired to a six-speed automatic transmission system with SHIFTRONIC. Available in one trim, the Azera comes with the following standard highlights: push-button start; heated front and rear seats; dual climate control; a ten-way power driver’s and eight-way power passenger’s seat; steering wheel mounted controls; Bluetooth; a seven-inch navigation screen with backup camera; and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics for streamlining everyday connectivity needs like voice text messages, web search downloads, and turn-by-turn directions. As described, starting price for the Azera begins at $32,250.

The Azera is unchanged for the model year, as the previous model brought in the new 3.3-liter V6 engine. Main competitors include other full-size sedans also carving a home on the outskirts of more luxurious nameplates – cluster the Chrysler 300 and redesigned Toyota Avalon into this category.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable: The Azera runs rampant with luxurious appointments usually reserved for pricier sedans, from soft-touch interior materials to best-in-class legroom and cargo space. It also looks incredibly sophisticated doing it with a winged chrome grille, flowing beltline and wrap-around taillights. My test drive featured a $4,000 Technology Package that added a beautiful panoramic sunroof, nineteen-inch hyper-silver alloy wheels, Xenon headlights, rear parking radar, an upgraded Infinity audio system, a driver’s seat cushion extension, power rear sunshade (classy touch), and ambiance lighting – money well-spent for a brand that continues to understand what delivering true value to the consumer means.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2013 Hyundai Azrea is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for earning crash-test ratings of “Good” in all areas. It is not yet rated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features include impact-reducing seat system and nine airbags, Vehicle Stability Management, Electronic Stability Control, Motor-Driven electric Power Steering and a state-of-the-art braking package.

Cost Issues: The Azera comes at you with one trim and price: $32,250. In a market that loves to bump the price another $10k with options, the Azera just offers one – the $4k Technology Package. It’s a refreshing if not minimalistic approach to the optional extras, but the package itself is well-rounded with a significant amount of desirable equipment and conveniences. This means the Azera tops out at $36,250 (without destination charges).

Activity & Performance Ability: Built with fast-acting acceleration, smooth shifting and a suspension tailored for smooth response, Hyundai does a pretty remarkable job of welding drivetrain characteristics into one engaging experience.

The Green Concern: Such fast-acting acceleration delivers fuel economy results at 20 miles-per-gallon city and 29 highway for a combined 23 – about average for the powertrain size, but disappointing if you want four-cylinder efficiency.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
With style that squarely knocks out similar competition, the 2013 Hyundai Azera’s full-size sedan uber-sleek design and value reaches far enough to cause consumers stuck on pricier nameplates to reconsider what this Korean-based brand can do.

2013 Katrina Ramser