November 09, 2007
Once in a while my back likes to play tricks on me and stops bending. That's one of the reasons I like seat heaters so much.
All this week when I woke up in the morning, my back has been nice and inflexible. But the 5-level seat heaters in the Azera really help.
They warm the seat backs as well as the cushions. So by the time I get to the office, I feel a lot better.
I wish my desk chair had seat heaters. And my couch. And my kitchen chairs. And...
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 18,250 miles
August 27, 2007
About 83.7 percent of reviews and road tests concerning a new Hyundai starts out with something to the effect of "Hyundais used to be garbage back in the 1980s, but have gotten progressively better ever since. This [insert model name] is yet another example of exponential improvement." Much has been said on this blog hailing the Azera's interior design and quality, but after driving it back-to-back with the all-new Veracruz SUV, I must say that yet another improvement has taken place.
August 13, 2007
Take a look down as you open any of the 2007 Hyundai Azera's four doors and you'll get a nice surprise: refined-looking door jambs. They're shiny. They're also helpfully embellished with the name "Azera," just in case you've forgotten which car you're in.
It's a swank, high-end touch from a car whose price is anything but.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 15,095 miles
August 06, 2007
The value of long-term vehicle testing was reaffirmed during my weekend with the Azera. I was impressed by the '06 model that was part of our full road test -- and although our '07 shares most of its virtues, I've noticed some quality issues that weren't apparent during a single week of testing.
-For starters, our long-term Azera has some very obvious dash/door panel misalignments.
-There's also the leather staining issue we reported in a previous entry. We've seen no improvement after three cleaning attempts, so it is almost certainly a defect. We'll likely seek a remedy under warranty at the car's 15,000-mile service visit.
-Even when the bass isn't turned all the way up (I put it at +5 on a scale of 10), the speakers reproduce lower frequency tones with much buzzing and sludginess. I would expect this in a Kia Spectra. In an Azera with the optional Infinity sound system (part of the $2,550 Ultimate Package), this poor performance is unacceptable.
-The suspension loses some composure when you travel above 80 mph and allows the car to bob up and down over highway expansion joints. One could argue this isn't a problem since most U.S. speed limits are lower than that. However, for this kind of money ($29,770), you could buy a sedan of German lineage that would feel more solid and secure during those rare opportunities for high-speed travel. I'm thinking Chrysler 300 or Volkswagen Passat.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 14,930 miles
July 05, 2007
I thoroughly enjoy driving the Hyundai Azera Limited in our stable, infinitely more than the Camry. They are similar cars (four-door midrange sedans) that seek similar audiences, but to me, the Hyundai is an infinitely nicer car. The thing I like the most is its sight lines, which are so much better than those in the high-waisted, big-butt Camry. Because being able to see around the sides and rear of a car while you're driving is a fundamental safety issue, something that, presumably, the target-buyer-parent-with-kids would hold as a concern.
But I also really enjoy the Hyundai's look, from the big tough-looking exhausts to the tasteful wood accents on the steering wheel, center stack and sides. I really enjoy this cabin.
July 02, 2007
As summer rolls around, the Azera is proving itself to be a pretty decent warm-weather companion. Driving around town this weekend, the car's air conditioning was on full blast, and it did a great job of keeping things pleasant in the cabin.
Did have one gripe with the controls, though. The car's HVAC controls have a single "mode" button that controls how the air flow is delivered.
June 13, 2007
I got into our long-term Hyundai Azera last night, and this is what I sat down in.
I don't think I've ever seen a leather seat look so grimy after just over 13,000 miles. I went at it with some Meguiar's leather wipes and saw no improvement. Next step is to use a more serious leather cleaner -- the kind that comes in a bottle and requires elbow grease.
We didn't happen to have any on hand or I would have tried this first.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
May 21, 2007
Little details can play a big part in shaping overall impressions. Hyundai has these little details working in its favor with the Azera. Hyundai's full-size sedan is very affordably priced, but it offers a few styling cues and features that sneak into your subconscious and whisper "Luxury car, luxury car" in a pretty convicing way.
The faux cherry wood on the steering wheel is one. This convincing-looking faux wood makes another appearance on the door. The adjustable pedals (part of our car's optional Ultimate Package) are also a nice touch. The Azera has a high, potentially awkward seating position, and this option makes things much more comfy.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 12,336 miles
April 17, 2007
As I stepped out my front door on the way to the carport this morning, my ears were assaulted by the sound of power saws. It turns out that city workers were doing some tree-trimming about a half a block down. I got into our Venetian Blue Hyundai Azera and closed the door -- and was instantly enveloped in silence.
It was so quiet in there, I was sure the workers had taken a break. I rolled down the windows to check if they were still going at it, and sure enough, they were. But with the windows up, the value-priced Azera was as still as a reading room. Pretty impressive.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 10,423 miles
April 09, 2007
This weekend I spent some time in our long-term Hyundai Azera, and I am impressed by its interior. I like the polished wood trim that wraps from the front around the doors, the tasteful wood accents and steering wheel, and the fine stitching in the leather seats and on the door.
One of the big news stories from our comprehensive coverage of the 2007 New York Auto Show was the Hyundai Genesis concept, which represents Hyundai's strongest push into Lexus/Toyota Acura territory. I would say that if the Azera is any sort of starting point, Hyundai is on the right track.
However (and there's always a however) I was a bit overwhelmed by the car's bounciness. Admittedly, I am a bit of a leadfoot so at times when the car's going 80 it feels like 50. This could certainly account for some bounce over rough roads. As it turns out, the tires are actually overinflated. The recommendation is 30 psi, and the tires are all approaching 40. We'll have to adjust the pressure and check again. Stay tuned.
Doug Lloyd, Copy Editor, at 10,146 miles
February 13, 2007
Headrests rarely get any respect. Face it, you don't even notice them until you get rear ended and they save your neck from some serious whiplash. That's why I was surprised to actually notice the head cushions in the Azera. Not only are they easily adjustable and soft on your noggin, their visible stitching gives the Azera the look of a legitimate luxury sedan. It's one of those little things you would expect in a high-end Toyota or Buick, but certainly not a Hyundai.
January 26, 2007
I wrote our full road test on the 2006 Hyundai Azera. I found that car truly luxurious with its black leather seats and rich-looking faux maple trim. But our long-term Azera, while quite nice, doesn't feel nearly as upscale -- and I think the lighter color leather and darker, cherry-type faux wood are to blame. I would never order an Azera with this interior.
Once I get over the aesthetic hurdle, our Azera is easy to like. While stopped at a traffic light late last night, I was struck by how quiet it was. The radio was off, there were no other cars around, and the engine was idling so peacefully I glanced at the tach to see if it was still running at all.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor, 7,464 miles
January 10, 2007
I love seat heaters. Even if the night is kinda warm for January, if I'm lucky enough to get in a car that has them I'll turn them on. Every single time. Not many cars in our fleet, at least in the ones that I have access to, have heaters in the seatbacks, usually just in the seat bottom. Not that I'm complaining. And looking at the controls for the Azera it looked as if it only had seat bottom warmers, too. But when I flipped the switch to "3" I was wonderfully mistaken as I felt a growing warmness comfort my back. Aaaaah! Love that!
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 5,583 miles
January 04, 2007
I drove the Azera last night. My first impression was that it was faux nice. The Sonata got away with it but the Azera seemed like a little kid playing dress up.
But after driving it about 40 miles, I realized it really is a nice car
It's comfortable, roomy and filled with luxury features you would expect in a pricier sedan.
In fact, I drove a Cadillac a few days ago that had all the same interior features, like heated seats, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, seat memory controls, etc. But the Cadillac costs way more. And the Azera drove better too. Strong, smooth acceleration. Not at all scary in curves.
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.