Full 2007 Hyundai Azera Review
What's New for 2007
The Hyundai Azera returns for 2007 with just a couple of minor revisions and a new entry-level GLS trim. The electroluminescent instrumentation in Limited models has a cleaner design this year. Additionally, all models now get standard steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a tire-pressure monitor.
Hyundai's first attempt to go after the big boys of the sedan world came in 2001 when it introduced the XG300 (later renamed the XG350). Armed with a lengthy standard features list, the XG was meant to be a budget alternative to segment leaders like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The car's bland looks and uninspired performance made this effort a failure, but Hyundai was undeterred. The company returned to the drawing board, replacing the XG with an all-new model, the Azera, in 2006.
The second time's the charm, it seems, for the 2007 Hyundai Azera is much more universally appealing than its middling predecessor. Longer and wider, this Hyundai sets its sights on the full-size-sedan market, with as much real-world interior room as cars like the Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300 and Buick Lucerne.
The Azera may be inexpensive, but don't think that means it looks or feels cheap. With its tasteful chrome grille and crisp body lines, this sedan looks more like an Acura than a Hyundai. Inside, things are similarly upscale. With tasteful use of faux wood and metallic piping, the Azera's cabin is pleasing to look at and brimming with a full complement of available premium features, such as rain-sensing wipers and a power-tilt/telescoping steering wheel. On the road, this Hyundai rides and handles with a poise and refinement that belies its modest price tag.
So how does the 2007 Hyundai Azera stack up against segment leaders like the Avalon and 300? Well, the Toyota is still the way to go if you plan to put three people in the backseat (because of its flat rear floor) or you desire high-end features like a navigation system and adaptive cruise control. And the rear-drive Chrysler will be more appealing to buyers for whom style and performance are most important. However, for full-size sedan buyers whose tastes fall somewhere in the middle, the Azera is a strong candidate. It's stylish yet unassuming, comfortable yet agile, and luxurious yet modestly priced.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A full-size sedan, the 2007 Hyundai Azera comes in three generously equipped trim levels: GLS, SE and Limited. The GLS comes with full power accessories (including front seats), air-conditioning, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a six-speaker audio system with CD player. The SE adds chrome body accents, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and heated mirrors. The Limited sweetens the pot by adding leather upholstery, heated front seats, wood-grain interior trim, electroluminescent gauges and a power rear sunshade.
The SE is eligible for the Premium and Leather Package, which provides leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-speaker Infinity sound system with CD changer and a sunroof. Azera Limited buyers may choose a Premium Package that includes the Infinity stereo and the sunroof. The Limited also offers the pricier Ultimate Package, which includes the sunroof, a more powerful stereo, a power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding outside mirrors and memory settings for the driver.
Powertrains and Performance
The GLS comes with a 3.3-liter V6 making a respectable 234 horsepower while the SE and Limited trims boast a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 263 hp. Both V6s send their power to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission that offers a manual mode. We've timed an Azera Limited at 7.1 seconds for the 0-60-mph run. Fuel economy for the 3.3 rates 21 city and 28 highway, with the 3.8 rating 19 and 28, respectively. Our experience with our long-term Limited has shown that Azera is hard-pressed to break 20 mpg in mixed driving.
Hyundai equips every Azera with antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The 2007 Hyundai Azera scored four out of five stars in NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests and received a perfect five stars in side-impact crash testing. In IIHS tests, the Azera earned a top score of "Good" for its protection of passengers in frontal offset crashes, and a score of "Acceptable" (the second-highest rating) in side-impact testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
Hyundai infuses the Azera's cabin with robust doses of luxury. With good-looking faux wood and metallic piping, materials quality is above reproach, and those who opt for leather seating will find themselves swaddled in soft, double-stitched hide. And the car is roomy enough to allow an L.A. Laker to ride in comfort. With 44 inches of front passenger legroom, the Azera has the highest measured front legroom in its class. Those seated in the rear get 38 inches. One of our few complaints about the Hyundai's interior concerns the overly high seating position up front, which can be awkward for taller drivers with long torsos.
For the money, the 2007 Hyundai Azera offers impressive levels of refinement and composure. Road noise is minimal even at high speeds, allowing for quiet conversations in the cabin. Although this Hyundai never feels as athletic as cars like the Nissan Maxima and Chrysler 300, acceleration is brisk, and there's always ample power on tap from the V6. The Azera's handling is on the soft side; however, the car feels predictable and secure around turns and the steering has a slick, accurate feel. For buyers more interested in comfort than sportiness, the confident Azera won't disappoint.