2017 Azera New Car Test Drive
The Hyundai Azera is a large, near-luxury sedan that serves as a more shapely, less costly alternative to better-known four-doors, among them the Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, and Ford Taurus.
The 2017 Azera carried over unchanged from 2016, except for some revised body-color choices. Azera was introduced as a 2012 model, so it is due for an update. Two trim levels are available, Azera and Azera Limited, the latter equipped with a panoramic sunroof and other features.
Azera relies on a strong V6 and refined ride comfort to attract buyers. Also helpful is a full-size back seat, which promises more stretch-out space than some other large sedans.
All models come with front-wheel drive and a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai's 6-speed automatic transmission incorporates a Shiftronic manual mode to change gears at will, by hand. Fuel economy is about right for a sedan of this size, estimated by the EPA at 28 mpg Highway, using regular-grade gasoline.
Every Azera includes the latest version of Hyundai's Blue Link connectivity system. When used in conjunction with a smartphone app, the system can provide parental control of the car's limits when it's to be driven by a teenager (or a parking valet).
Azeras score better than average in engine capability and ride comfort. A button-activated Active Eco feature helps a bit with gas mileage. When engaged, throttle and transmission responses are drawn out, and accessories function in a more conservative manner.
Crash-test scores are lacking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has never tested an Azera. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given it top Good scores in moderate frontal, side, and rear-impact crash-testing, but the more rigorous small frontal-overlap test has not been performed.
Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is standard, along with lane-change assist. Otherwise, Hyundai trails a bit in the area of leading-edge technical features, though a rearview camera is standard. That's prudent, as outward visibility isn't quite up to par, compared to some rival sedans. Nine airbags include a driver's knee airbag and rear side-impact airbags.
Larger than the midsize Sonata, Azera is the Hyundai brand's only sedan with a six-cylinder engine, apart from Genesis, the company's luxury brand. Azera's robust powertrain, coupled with a refined presence, make the bigger four-door feel more substantial than a Sonata. Azera comes well equipped.
Azera ($34,100) comes standard with navigation with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, leather seating surfaces, power front seats with ventilation, heated front/rear seats, pushbutton start, power steering column, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Audio is provided by a 550-watt Infinity Logic 7 system with 14 speakers. Hands-free trunk opening, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-change assist also are standard. Alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $895 destination charge.)
Azera Limited ($39,300) upgrades with a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control with stop/start capability, HID headlights, automatic high-beams, power rear sunshade, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Lane-departure and forward-collision warnings also are included.