The Azera is Hyundai’s latest attempt in its quest to revamp a stale reputation for something more memorable. Does it pass the test? Read on to find out...
WHOEVER SAID class had to cost? It has become evident that automaker Hyundai has come a long way from their days of bland, anonymous looking automobiles and has ventured into the realm of subtle sophistication and affordable luxury. Simply put: this isn’t just your grandpa’s sedan anymore.
The 2010 Hyundai Azera, part of the company’s new lineup of midsize sedans, is targeting a different niche this time around. At first glance, you’ll notice its long, sleek design complemented by clean lines and chrome finishing. But its aerodynamically-efficient body isn’t just for show; this ride is a missile waiting for launch. The new, larger and more luxurious design provides impressive amounts of interior room, features and power for a price that’s thousands less than those of competitors. After years of churning out affordable — albeit somewhat boring — quality vehicles, the Korean automaker is finally realising the power of style in its bid to infuse class into its new lineup.
But if the design doesn’t sell you, we imagine the interior might just have you hooked. Although luxury has not always been at the forefront of Hyundai’s business model, they are stepping up to the plate in providing a new generation of essential gadgetry and gizmos — including built-in monitors and iPod/USB audio jacks — for a new younger class of customers. The Azera has what we like to call the ‘comfort factor’, providing drivers with a bevy of tech options that will have you feeling like you’re flying first class on your favourite airline. Proof that luxury really stems from the details, you’ll love the dual-zone automatic climate control — a great solution for passengers who might not feel obliged to share one AC temperature. Kick in a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, GPS, Bluetooth and a Logic 7 surround-sound audio and navigation system, you might not ever find a reason to step out of the car. Most importantly, this car is deceivingly spacious with enough legroom to kick back and relax in style.
When it comes to drive and handling, the Azera simply shatters all preconceptions. Personally, there is nothing better than having low expectations about a new car model only to find yourself swooning over it after an intense test drive, but that’s exactly what this car delivers. Engine capabilities on the Limited model include a 3.8-litre V6 engine producing 263 horsepower (more than BMW’s 5-series) and 257 lb-ft of torque, giving this car an unexpected boost in the field of power. Like a rocket, the Azera delivers speed and curve-hugging control that one would usually expect from a tricked out sports car. But deception seems to be the theme of this new model, giving drivers the opportunity to really max out in speed and acceleration supported by a top-notch breaking system.
While we expected the Azera to deliver modest driving capabilities and even lower luxury amenities, we were outwitted by its sexy new design and strong road performance. There is real beauty in its overall capabilities, setting the bar for a merger between aesthetics and raw power. While older generations still might find comfort in this classic family sedan, we predict a resurgence of interest from young motorheads looking for speed and class