2011 Los Angeles Auto Show: 2012 Hyundai Azera Debut

By Jacob Brown | November 11, 2011
What's New Hyundai’s large front-wheel-drive sedan, the Hyundai Azera, is finally adopting the fluidic design of its smaller siblings, the Elantra, Sonata and Accent. With it, the 2012 Hyundai Azera brings many other updates to the large, premium sedan class that allow it to finally play ball with the establishment. From a refined 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 engine to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Azera steps up its sophistication in the full-size segment. While coming standard with a long list of standard luxury items, Hyundai continues to call it a large sedan with "premium-car influence." Obviously, the company doesn't want it stepping on the toes of the slightly larger Genesis sedan. The Azera offers up many features rarely seen in its price segment, including standard leather, heated front and rear seats, navigation, and Bluetooth. It is expected to cost a little more than the outgoing car, but it will be on-par with rivals like the Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Avalon, while bringing a premium appeal to those customers who value being wafted over highways in comfort ahead of taking corners at high rates of speed. Who It's For Positioned as a step up from the Sonata for people who may need more space, luxury, or refinement that what that entry has to offer, the Azera gives Hyundai’s lineup a midpoint between the $20,455 Sonata and the $35,200 Genesis V-6 sedan in both size and price. As the Sonata has gone exclusively to four-cylinder engines, the Azera has become the cheapest way for Hyundai shoppers to get into V-6 power. While prices have not yet been announced, we fully expect the new car to be priced above the current car’s $26,270 base price. Hyundai has said, however, that feature for feature, it may be cheaper in upper option packages. The only option is the aforementioned 3.3-liter V-6, which out-powers the Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima, and Toyota Avalon.
Key Features The Azera stands out from the crowd with its size, space, amenities, and luxury—all at a price that will likely undercut its main rivals, feature for feature. Included are:
  • A massive blacked-out panoramic sunroof that stretches almost the entire length of the cabin.
  • Active cruise control that uses radar guidance to slow the car down automatically when it detects other cars getting too close.
  • 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat with adjustable thigh support, ventilation, and heat. Passenger and rear seats also receive available heating elements.
  • LED tail lights, LED running lamps up front, and high-intensity xenon headlights.
  • Standard leather seating surfaces.
What We Think Hyundai’s fluidic design language translates well to the full-size Azera. It looks elegant and imposing, no longer carrying the “me too” style that the previous car had in emulating other cars in the market. Likely to carry a price thousands of dollars less than the Toyota Avalon, it will be a formidable competitor—with a caveat. Sales have suffered recently due to a much-improved Sonata below it and a popular Genesis sedan above it. Hyundai hopes to pull new shoppers into its fold with the Azera, leading us to wonder how exactly. The new car is bigger, more sophisticated, and likely not much more expensive. But will it be another wallflower, or will Hyundai be able to break out of the mold set before it with the 2012 Azera? We’ll soon find out.