Buyers of the redesigned 2012 Hyundai Azera has more upscale features, style and horsepower compared to the outgoing model but it comes with an additional price of $6,600. The base Azera is available for as low as $32,875, which includes shipping cost. The Azera is positioned between the Genesis and Sonata sedans.
The 2012 model is the first revamped variant since U.S. sales started in 2005. A gasoline direct-injection 3.3-liter V-6 is the only engine in the Azera. This replaces a 3.3-liter V-6 and optional 3.8-liter V-6 on the outgoing model. The new engine delivers 293 hp, which outperforms the bigger engine in the 2011 Azera.
It also achieves slightly better fuel economy compared to the older 3.3-liter. The front-wheel-drive Azera is on a longer wheelbase compared to the Sonata. The Azera is also wider and longer than the Sonata. In addition, the Azera has isolated back and front subframes for a quieter cabin. On the other hand, it is only the back subframe that is isolated on the Sonata.
Among the features that are standard on the new model are the heated back and front leather seats and a navigation system with a rearview camera and a 7-inch touch-screen. The automaker asserts that good interior packaging provides the Azera with a bigger total interior and passenger room volume compared to the Nissan Maxima, Buick LaCrosse, Toyota Avalon, Lexus ES 350, Acura TL and Ford Taurus.
Its exterior dimensions are more or less in the middle of that group. Mike O'Brien, vice president of product planning for Hyundai Motor America, revealed that they now have 1.25 million customers for the Sonata. He added that the core role of Azera is "really as a good move-up step from Sonata buyers."
On the inside of the Hyundai Azera, advanced connectivity is offered with standard navigation fitted. In addition, installed on all Azera versions is the touch-screen navigation that includes a backup camera. This is seen as a distinct feature as no other vehicle has such an offer. The navigation unit is simple and intuitive to use with two ways to manage it.
First is through the WVGA 7-inch display that has touch-screen capability. The second is by the voice activation using a microphone mounted to the headliner. Furthermore, the system offers flash memory amounting to 8 GB and even has a sound system which allows for compact discs to be played. Even without compact discs, it is still possible to listen to music as occupants can use Bluetooth to stream audio files.
Both the driver and the passengers can use their own devices since there are auxiliary inputs and even socket for USB and iPod. For certain smart phones, Bluetooth also allows wireless streaming of music from the device to the head unit. It is even possible to use a Bluetooth-enabled phone in order to confirm a reservation or simply look up a restaurant in the area.
Aside from the technological features, there are excellent passive safety systems inside. A good example of this is the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, also known as LATCH system, for the children’s seats. Available as well are the three-point seatbelts. Airbags are included of course, and there is a total of nine. They include a driver’s knee airbag, side curtain airbags for the front and the rear, seat-mounted side-impact airbags also on the front and rear, and the dual front.
To ensure the safety of everyone inside, the Azera is fitted with a highly advanced braking package. Part of the package is the four-wheel disc brakes measuring 12.6 inches for the front and 11.2 inches for the rear. An Anti-Lock Braking System is included as well. There is even the Brake Assist system which ensures maximum braking force is applied should the system determine that a panic stop is triggered.
Another part of the braking package is the Electronic Brake-force Distribution. What this system does is to use the current loading conditions of the vehicle and then make the necessary adjustments to the braking force delivered by both axles.