July 10, 2007
All of a sudden, I don't know how to drive stick. And I'm not blaming it on the Hyundai Azera by any means. It was just the car that I tried driving in its manual mode. I love driving stick but remember when I first had to come to terms with that "extra pedal" and how much I sweated every time I stalled the car.
So I figured that driving a manual mode in an automatic car couldn't possibly be as difficult, but, boy, was I wrong. (With all the cars I get to drive, I rarely try the manual mode.) I just can't figure it out but it seems that unlike a regular manual, you can't just downshift 4-3-2-1 without braking. And after watching the other more experienced drivers handle the mode, I had wanted to try using engine braking instead of the actual brakes to slow down.
I was rolling to a stop and tried to downshift all the way to 1st gear but it only went down to 2nd gear, so I gave up, switched back to "Drive" and hit the brakes. Boo. I know it'll take practice but I don't feel a pressing need to figure this out. Paddle shifters, yes. Automanual? Not so much.
Deputy Managing Editor Caroline Pardilla at 14,105 miles
February 22, 2007
Recent blog entries might have given the impression that our long-term 2007 Hyundai Azera does little more than putter around town and go to the car wash. Last night, though, the big sedan and I both got a life, motoring to LA's Melrose district to take in the nightlife. Naturally, I liked the fact that the Azera's light yet precise steering made it easy to park. The car's turning radius felt a bit large to me, but the specs have it at 37.4 feet, so I guess I've just been spoiled by driving smaller cars lately.
On the way home, both driver (me) and passenger (Production Editor Caroline Pardilla) were entertained by the V6's deepening exhaust note past 4,500 rpm. Merging onto the freeway took on an unexpected level of excitement. Caroline also liked the design of the Azera's vents, as she was able to close their sturdy louvers completely when I flipped on the climate control.
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.
December 29, 2006
When we headed for Denver for Christmas people kept saying, "Better take an SUV!" I would have taken an SUV if one was available. But it wasn't. So we took the Hyundai Azera and hoped for dry weather. Going east we hit heavy snow climbing out of Dillon, Colo., up to the Eisenhower Tunnel (or, technically speaking, the Johnson Tunnel for eastbound travel) at elevation 11,158 feet.
We were creeping along at from 5-10 mph and everytime we stopped I thought we wouldn't get enough traction to start up again. A tractor trailer truck in front of us lost traction and began to drift across our lane so I had to power through loose snow and dodge it. The whole thing was pretty scary and I could feel the tires slip and grab beneath us. But we finally got into the tunnel on dry pavement and had no further trouble.