Seven new models in 24 months. It’s safe to say that Hyundai is on a roll. The Azera is the latest in a line of new product introductions, and one that represents a completely modern approach to what was once a staid, dull market segment. Its advanced powertrain, purposeful design and luxury-car features make it the standout in a segment once dominated by cars that took root in the 1970s.
From a design standpoint, the Azera breaks tradition. With its undulating beltline -- the body line just below the window opening -- and sleek roofline to gives the Azera a long, low profile, further accented by available 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. The bold chrome grille is flanked by a pair of HID headlamps.
Inside, the 2012 Azera (MSRP $32,000) establishes itself, offering features and materials normally only found on top-shelf luxury vehicles. The design of the interior takes cues from the outside, with flowing surfaces and a flow-through center fascia and dashboard, enhanced with 3D Carbon interior details. Accent lighting inside provides a warm, inviting ambiance for driver and passenger alike. The first-class seating is enhanced with leather seating surfaces for all positions, with 10-way adjustability for the driver and eight-way adjustments for the front passenger. The driver’s seat provides a seat cushion extension and an integrated memory function for the seat, as well as the steering wheel and the exterior mirror positions.Front seat occupants enjoy 45 inches of legroom and 40 inches of headroom. Ventilated seats for front passengers are optional, and heated seats for front and rear passengers are standard, as are second row air vents and a cooled glovebox.
The Azera features the Hyundai Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine. While offering the smallest displacement of any V6 in this segment, it provides best-in-class specific output (measured in horsepower per liter). Only one other vehicle in the class provides more horsepower, and it needs a third of a liter more in engine displacement, and a two-mile-per-gallon fuel economy penalty to offer it. The EPA estimates that the Azera provides 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. The Azera engine is linked to the Hyundai six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® manual capability.
Engine technology isn’t the only thing that provides those outstanding fuel economy numbers. Weight efficiency is a Hyundai engineering goal, and it’s evident in the curb weight. The Azera tips the scales at 3,605 pounds, more than 200 pounds lighter than the Buick LaCrosse, and more than 400 pounds lighter than the Ford Taurus.
The Azera tracks the highway with a MacPherson strut front suspension, with coil springs and a front stabilizer bar which is 24mm in diameter. The multi-link independent rear suspension offers a premium ride and outstanding handling capability. Sachs Amplitude Selective Dampers (ASD), allow the Azera a suspension to be tuned for improved ride comfort without the compromised handling seen in some full-size cars. The Azera rides on 18-inch Hyper silver alloy wheels, with 19-inch Hyper silver alloy wheels and 245/40R19 tires as an option. The Hyundai VSM system manages both Electronic Stability Control and the Motor-Driven electric Power Steering System to automatically counter-steer when the Azera encounters “split-mu” road surfaces where the road is slippery on one side and dry on the other.
Safety is a significant commitment for Hyundai engineers. It’s an ethic evident in the impact reducing seat system that eliminates the need for active front head restraints and helps reduce head and neck injuries by 17 percent. Nine airbags including front, front and rear seat-mounted side-impact, front and rear side curtain, and a driver’s knee airbag protect occupants in the event of a crash. The Azera brakes via four-wheel discs (12.6 inch front and 11.2 inch rear), with the aid of the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) including Brake Assist, providing maximum braking power when the system detects a panic stop.
Azera provides owners with a standard touch-screen navigation system, with an integrated backup camera. It’s a standard feature unique to this entire segment. Two audio systems are available, including the standard Dimension AM/FM/Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with seven-speakers and iPod®/USB/auxiliary input jacks. The Infinity 550-watt, Logic 7 audio system with 12 speakers, including an eight-inch subwoofer and external amplifier is optional. XM Satellite Radio is integrated into the head unit. Bluetooth hands-free technology with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is an Azera standard feature. Rounding out the technology is Hyundai Blue Link, which is standard on the Azera with a free 90-day trial period. Blue Link provides seamless connectivity technology like voice text messaging, POI web search download, turn-by-turn navigation, and monthly vehicle reporting. The agent-assisted voice-recognition system helps drivers search while remaining connected to the task of driving.
The 2012 Hyundai Azera is a fresh face in the large vehicle segment. It offers the features and design that was once only reserved for the luxury class, and delivers it with innovative power and outstanding fuel economy. Visit with us today to drive one for yourself.