November 14, 2007
With so much emphasis put on sport sedans, their big wheels, short sidewalls, and impressive slalom speeds approaching, and in some cases, eclipsing those of outright sports cars, I found more than a little comfort driving the Hyundai Azera home last night. Sometimes, a pillowy ride is just the right thing. Remember when a cushy, all-smothering ride was once the thing that separated a good car from a cheap car? Tastes do change, but maybe we took a wrong turn.
Don't get me wrong; I love a 70-mph blast through the cones. It absolutely amazes me what's possible these days. Yet I couldn't help but notice how my shoulders relaxed, my grip loosened, and my attitude changed within about five minutes behind the wheel of the Azera. I then realized the Azera isn't about how stiff a car can be and still get away with a decent ride, but how comfortably the car rides while still achieving decent handling numbers. The last time we tested this car, it weaved through the cones at 62.6 mph. That's still better than a bunch of current sedans and even a couple sporty coupes.
November 01, 2007
I just spent a week with our Long Term Azera, capped off with a road trip from Long Beach to Las Vegas. It's a very good highway car. The engine is smooth and willing which makes hills and passing a breeze.
The stereo is also very good but there's no AUX jack - I had to use a cassette adaptor to listen to my iPod.
Other than that, the long stretches of open road flew by smooth and silent.
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 18,111 miles.
April 30, 2007
After sitting in the back of our long-term Hyundai Azera recently, I realized why rear-seat comfort is a reason why someone should consider buying a family sedan instead of the increasingly popular choice of a crossover SUV. Thanks to plenty of thigh support and legroom, decent lumbar support and contoured cushions, the Azera's seat passes my personal, "can I foresee myself falling asleep back here?" test.
In contrast, many crossovers share a dirty little secret. Their second-row seats, in meeting the modern goal of folding/flipping/packaging nirvana, are flat, hard, and as figet-inducing as wedged-up underwear.
The Azera might not have all-wheel drive and a boxy cargo hold, but for a vehicle that frequently transports adults for extended periods, I'd glady choose Hyundai's flagship.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, 11,622 miles
April 04, 2007
Facing my "nightmare-covered-in-molasses" 6-mile commute home (it typically takes 30-40 minutes), the Azera proved soothing.
The power tilt/telescope wheel, plush yet still supportive seats, refined powertrain and quiet cabin maximize comfort and minimize the stress of driving in a grossly overpopulated city like L.A. Even the Azera's map pockets pivot out to ease access to things like our fuel log.
And I've gotta give props to the 315-watt, 10-speaker Infinity stereo (included with the Ultimate package). A great stereo can make a commute, dare I say, enjoyable. While dealing with 10,000 maniacs on the road, I listened to a CD of the band of the same name. I highly recommend their album titled "In my tribe".
Although I'm more of a sports car guy, I can definitely see the appeal of a luxury car. And Hyundai makes a damn fine one for under 30 grand.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 9,955 miles.
March 02, 2007
Everyone has heard by now that the Hyundai Azera is a good deal. You get a lot for the money, etc., etc.
But I'm not crazy about driving it. The suspension is too soft for my tastes.
The ride is quiet, the transmission is smooth, acceleration is quick, but boy, does it lean in curves.
Its double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension are kept soft for a comfortable ride. But sporty driving is out of the question. It's not designed for that, I know. But "comfort" in corners has a different meaning for me. I like to feel secure.
Donna DeRosa, grumpy Managing Editor
February 21, 2007
While waiting for another editor at the post office, I sat with our long-term Hyundai Azera enjoying this view of a West LA chemical plant. Driving the Azera is a bit like having a beer after work, and I mean that in the nicest way. This car is easy to drive, smooth-riding, instantly comfortable. I don't mind running around the city in it, and when other motorists grate on my nerves, its torquey 3.8-liter V6 gets me out of that situation quickly...
That said, I could do without the abrupt throttle response off the line, and the five-speed automatic transmission isn't always ready when I am -- similar to comments we've logged on the Kia Sedona, which has a version of this drivetrain.
January 16, 2007
Went from L.A. to Phoenix yesterday in our Hyundai Azera. I hadn't driven it more than a few blocks prior to the trip and I came away pretty impressed with the Azera's level of refinement, performance and comfort. Anyone who thinks Hyundai is still a second tier brand compared to Toyota should drive the Azera
Its V6 is as smooth as anything out of Japan and the shifts from the five-speed automatic are flawless. Throttle response is still a little slow, but once it downshifts the car really takes off. It's also quiet at 75mph and the seats felt fine after six hours behind the wheel. It averaged around 26mpg along the way and it made the entire 410 mile trip on a single tank. Its biggest flaw is an overly soft suspension although I'm guessing that most buyers would probably find it perfectly acceptable. It's a good deal for $30K.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
January 01, 2007
I went from the ocean to the Rockies in the 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited. Our road trip stretched from the desert to the mountains and back again -- some 2,200 miles. About 32 hours behind the wheel. A drive like this should give me a pretty clear idea of whether I like a car or not. Just south of Las Vegas we pulled off the interstate and had a picnic in the desert. I sat down and pulled my thoughts together about this car.
My initial impression was that the car was a bland imitation of other vehicles that succeeded in this near-luxury class. But as the days wore on and the miles ticked by my admiration for this Azera grew.
All the little things, the touch and feel of the controls, the muted tock-tock of the turn signal indicator, conveyed a sense of quality. If that wasn't enough, there was also the leather-wrapped and silky smooth polished wood steering wheel to remind me of the station to which this craft aspired. All that would be lost if the driving dynamics didn't back up those impressions. But they did.
There is plenty of power from the 263 hp V6. We took it to 11,000 feet and it never felt wheezy. Over the entire trip it yielded 25.2 mpg with four adults and luggage for four. With a 19.8 gallon gas tank this meant we could cruise for nearly 400 miles without a refill. The sport shift feature was a welcome addition for mountain driving but I found that it, when upshifting, the five-speed transmission overruled me, not allowing a higher gear until the revs were up. Still, for engine braking, it filled the bill.