- The 2012 Hyundai Azera makes a major play for premium territory with a dramatic redesign and engine improvement — and a much bigger price tag.
- The 2012 Azera will go on sale in February, starting at around $32,000; the current model starts at $26,270.
- The 2012 Azera will feature only one engine choice and one trim level with more upscale standard equipment, including a navigation system and leather seating.
LOS ANGELES — The 2012 Hyundai Azera, which debuts at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, may no longer be the poor sister of the Hyundai lineup. Hyundai's lowest-volume vehicle in the U.S. is making a major play for premium territory with a dramatic redesign and engine improvement and a Lexus-like price tag.
The 2012 Azera will go on sale in February, starting at around $32,000, said Hyundai Motor America spokesman Miles Johnson in a phone conversation with Edmunds.com. A formal pricing announcement will be made in January. The base 2011 Hyundai Azera starts at $26,270, including a $775 shipping charge.
The 2012 Azera will feature only one engine choice and one trim level with more upscale standard equipment, including a navigation system and leather seating, Johnson noted.
The Azera has been polished up courtesy of Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" design language, putting it more on a par with the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra. A major horsepower boost is also in store for the 2012 Azera. It gets the new 293-horsepower 3.3-liter gasoline direct-injection engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. The base 2011 Azera has the base 260-hp 3.3-liter V6 or the optional 3.8-liter V6. The 3.8-liter V6 has been deleted for the 2012 model year.
"The strategy here at Hyundai has been (engine) downsizing with smaller-displacement V6s," Johnson said. "We're trying to lead the industry in downsizing."
The EPA has not yet posted fuel-economy numbers for the 2012 Azera, but Hyundai estimates that it will earn 20 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway. The outgoing model with the 3.3-liter V6 returns 20 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway, says the EPA. The 2011 Azera with the 3.8-liter V6 returns 19 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway.
The 2012 Azera gets standard 18-inch alloy wheels, HID xenon headlights and an optional panoramic sunroof. Hyundai said it is targeting the Lexus ES 350, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima and Ford Taurus with the redesigned Azera.
Edmunds.com says: The weak link in the Hyundai lineup gets a boost — but customers may be in for a bit of sticker shock.