Daily Archives: July 9, 2008

Value, warranty give Azera high marks in class

The Azera is a full-size sedan that continues to elevate the rising consumer confidence in Hyundai vehicles. The Korean manufacturer has rebuilt itself from a rather auspicious beginning in the early eighties into a real competitor in the American market.

Where it was once fraught with quality issues, it is no longer a brand precariously teetering on extinction — but rather a brand excelling at offering value with some of the most far-reaching warranties in the market.

Clearly, the Azera garnishes its overall high marks for value. You get a lot of good, reliable vehicle with Hyundai Azera. Add to that the newer, better options available to enrich the driving experience as well as the highest frontal offset impact safety rating in the class and it is not hard to see why the Azera should be on consumers’ radars.

On the outside, I would put Azera in the middle of the road for looks. There is very little going on here that is establishing an attitude or inspiring enthusiasm. Having said that, it is amazing what good value will do to temper acceptable, and even likable, exterior style. Azera does nothing to make itself look bad, but there is little that is really memorable about its exterior style.

As Hyundai’s flagship sedan, the Azera does offer more roomy interior spaces than a typical midsize family sedan. This extra cabin room is where the most obvious value in Azera comes through.

Inside the cabin, Azera is roomy and quiet. I found there to be very little road noise inside, with the exception of some pavement under construction, the cabin setting is pleasingly calm.

Drivers will find a refined dash design that is easy to see. I found controls and switches to be easily accessible and the new steering wheel controls offer additional convenience. Seating in my Limited trim level tester was for five with plenty of room for front and rear passengers. The rear seat 60/40 split offers extended storage from the huge trunk.

Refinement in the cabin can be found in the optional leather upholstery that added an appreciated level of sophistication to this Hyundai. Seats in front were heated and power adjustments for the driver made getting comfortable a breeze.

All Azeras come standard with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine. Delivering 263 horsepower to the front wheels, I thought the five-speed automatic transmission did a nice job of handling quick accelerations very smoothly. For most people, acceleration from this V-6 is going to be plenty to keep them happy. Hyundai says Azera will reach 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, while my tests were not scientific, I’d have to agree with them. It has some surprising pop given the price tag on the Azera is thousands less than cars the same size.

The Azera’s powerful V-6 is another part of that touted ‘value’ equation I mentioned. If you can deliver solid performance and reliability and big interior spaces, most consumers will, and should, dismiss a few shortcomings on the exterior styling. I was willing to overlook plenty given the price.

Fuel economy is less than impressive at 15 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

Base priced at $24,235 to $27,335, the Azera delivers a big bang for the buck with outstanding safety and the class’ best long-term warranty.

BY JOHN STEIN SouthtownStar Auto Editor
Source: Chicago Sun Times