Hyundai expects 2012 Azera to attract Sonata owners

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 16, 2011

The redesigned Azera from Hyundai Motor America is expected to hit U.S. dealerships in January 2012. The carmaker expects that the new Azera will appeal to Sonata owners, as well as buyers of other brands who are looking for a premium front-drive luxury sedan. Hyundai predicts that the new Azera will be able to sell 18,000 to 20,000 units annually in the United States, compared with the 3,051 units sold last year.

Michael O'Brien, Hyundai Motor America vice president of product and corporate planning, estimates that there will be about 500,000 Sonata owners by the time the redesigned Azera arrives at showrooms.

He said that the Hyundai has sold 196,000 last year and that by the date of the launch, there will be another 200,000 out there, bringing the total to 400,000. If the old generations are included, that means that there are over 500,000.

In an interview at the Chicago Auto Show, O'Brien said that the Azera will attract Sonata owners who "want something better than they had before.” Pricing for the 2012 range has yet to be revealed.

But the 2011 models are priced from $26,270 to $30,850, including shipping. Hyundai also anticipates that the new Azera will appeal to premium-car buyers in the Snow Belt, something the rear-drive Genesis sedan has not achieved.

In the past, people would often say that there was no replacement when it came to displacement. However, the availability of gasoline direct injection technology changed everything. Take for example the 2012 Hyundai Azera which is powered by the GDI Lambda II 3.3-liter engine. While it does indeed have the smallest displacement for a V6 in its segment, it has the best specific output at 88.8 horsepower for every liter.

Since it has the high-pressure direct injection system, estimated at more than 2,200 psi, it boosts both power and torque while lowering fuel consumption and even emissions. This same system increases from 10.4 to 11.5 the compression ratio to have greater output and thermal efficiency. It also removes the need to have a V6 engine with large displacement.

Features in the 2012 Hyundai Azera include the roller timing chain, piston cooling jets, four valves per cylinder, and the all aluminum construction. Then there is the Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing that offers a wider power distribution. Its top ring chamfer is coated with the CrN Physical Vapor Deposition.

By having the three-stage Variable Intake System, the power curve is broadened and thereby improves the passing performance and off-the-line acceleration. EPA fuel economy has been estimated at 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. Paired to the engine is the brand’s own six-speed automatic transmission that also has the SHIFTRONIC manual control. The transmission delivers wide ratio spread and smooth shifts, which make this match the characteristics of the engine.

This is not all as the powertrain includes an Active Eco mode. This feature modifies both the engine and its transmission control in order to improve fuel economy by as much as 5%. While the Hyundai Azera measures 193.3 inches in total length and 73.2 inches wide, the wheelbase measures 112 inches.

These figures position the Azera between the Genesis and the Sonata. Hyundai generally aims to have all its models have world-class weight efficiency. The goal of this strategy is to ensure that its products deliver performance and outstanding fuel economy at the same time.

With a weight of 3,605 pounds, the Hyundai Azera is lighter by more than 200 pounds compared to the Buick LaCrosse which weighs 3,835 pounds. It is even lighter compared to the Ford Taurus by more than 400 pounds as the Taurus comes in at 4,015 pounds.

By prioritizing the weight efficiency, the Hyundai Azera is capable of offering amazing performance, agility, and fuel efficiency, combined. Featured in the Hyundai Azera are the 24-mm diameter front stabilizer bar, coil springs, and MacPherson strut front suspension.

The use of the advanced independent multi-link rear suspension results in precise geometry and thus it delivers an engaging handling ability and premium ride. By having the Sachs Amplitude Selective Dampers, the capabilities of the suspensions are maximized on the front and rear. It also enables tuning flexibility especially at smaller damper displacements.

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