2007 Hyundai Azera: 2,200 Mile Road Trip
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.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, and as you see in this photo, we spent a lot of time in the snow. The P235/55R17 Michelin tires gave surprisingly good traction in deep snow. And being a heavy car (nearly 3,629 lbs) it felt stable even on ice. I'm sure that the stability control was working over time but it didnt seem overly intrusive. One problem I ran into was that, there was little room in the wheel wells and when the ice built up in there, the tires rubbed noisily.
The interior was understated but not without a touch of elegance. Besides the comfortable leather seats and the generous rear seat legroom I liked the wood accent strip that stretched around the entire passenger compartment. In the late afternoon we even used the rear sunshade! And the trunk was deep enough for four suitcases, loads of Christmas presents and cold weather jackets.
My wife liked this car but she asked, Why would someone buy this rather than other cars like maybe a Lexus? Well, I had to use our Comparator to see what it competes with. It listed the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima as being a lot more expensive, and the Ford Five Hundred and the Buick LaCrosse as being about a thousand dollars less. You could also throw in a few other cars like the Lexus 330. My feeling is that if you cross-shopped these cars the Azera would do well in a test drive comparison test.