2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review
It’s amazing to see how far Hyundai has come in the entry-luxury arena in just over 10 years. Those with selective retention may or may not (depending on whether or not you actually bought one) recall Hyundai’s first shot at a near-luxury car for North America—the 2001 Hyundai XG300
That car had all the right ingredients — blended precisely the wrong way.
The XG offered styling cues from a luxury car, a very generous offering of standard equipment, a V6 engine, and was priced to undercut Maxima, Camry and Accord—while simultaneously offering more luxury features than those perennial front-runners in the mid-size sedan marketplace. And, it was all wrapped in the quirkiest example of quirky Korean styling to ever besot this continent. Further, its Hyundai nameplate didn’t do a lot to convince Toyota, Honda and Nissan buyers to abandon their tried and true marques.
Still, for a company struggling to get its footing in a new segment of the marketplace, the XG300 was a baby step in the right direction for Hyundai.
When the XG300 (by then XG350, thanks to a displacement increase) played out in 2005, that baby step was replaced by a confident stride, the 2006 Hyundai Azera. More spacious, more luxurious and infinitely better looking than the XG models, Azera made everybody sit up and take notice of Hyundai. For the first time, Hyundai finally got a solid grasp on the near luxury sedan.
For 2012, the company introduced the second generation of the lovely sedan, and if you thought the first one was nice, wait’ll you get a load of this one.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Models And Prices
When it comes to choosing your Azera, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is there’s very little choosing to do, the Hyundai is offered in but one state of trim. The bad news is there are no choices; you get the car configured the way Hyundai’s product planners thought best for this market.
Happily, they equipped the car really well; standard features include a lovely set of 18-inch alloy wheels, along with luxurious touches like automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system.
Given the Azera’s market intentions, naturally you’ll also find leather upholstery for the pair of heated eight-way power front seats — with lumbar adjustment driver for the driver. The Azera’s rear seats are heated too.
There is but one option package available—although there are also a number of port installed detail options. The Azera’s option package is called the Technology Package ($4,000). Its components include 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, Xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a 14-speaker Infinity surround audio system, and a power tilt and telescoping feature for the steering column. It also includes memory for the driver’s seat, exterior mirrors and the steering column. Completing the Technology Package are ventilated front seats, a seat cushion extension for the driver, a power operated rear sunshade, manual rear side window sunshades, and ambient accent lighting for the interior.
Port installed options include details like a first aid kit, an iPod cable, a cargo net, wheel locks, mudguards, a cargo tray for the trunk, and carpeted floor mats.
For 2013, Hyundai Azera pricing starts at $32,250 plus $895 for shipping and handling. The total MSRP is $33,145.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Design
The most successful embodiment of Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture styling language yet, the 2013 Azera caresses the eye with gently flowing curves, tastefully applied chrome, and a graceful, swept-back treatment to its handsome face. In case this is news to you, the human eye loves to follow the outline of a curve — this is why your most successful designs, the ones we consider organic — always incorporates them.
And yes, so does the design of the 3013 Hyundai Azera. Long, light, low, and graced with an undulating beltline, the Azera’s styling benefits nicely from a sleek, extended roofline crowning a profile accented by a third window and trailed with wraparound LED taillights. The design is complex yet simple; its side profile includes delightful details like those flowing lines so evident in the rear quarter panel. The gracefully feminine shape is counterpointed by the Hyundai’s masculine face — which is comprised of a dynamic, winged chrome grille and HID headlamps. It almost looks like a falcon in flight.
The overall effect is a definitive implication of motion.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Comfort And Cargo
The interior picks right up on those themes with a tasteful blend of leather and subdued metallic trim. The dash mimics the grille in the way it spreads like a pair of wings from the center stack with an integrated monitor for the navigation and entertainment functions.
Occupant’s comfort and convenience are attended to with such niceties as a chilled glovebox, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system, a touchscreen interface, BlueLink emergency communications and the standard 10-speaker audio system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and HD radio.
Spaciousness was the watchword when the interior design was laid out. Thanks to an abundance of legroom both front and rear, the Azera feels bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. The trunk borders on cavernous at 16.4 cubic feet, and if that’s not enough, the rear seatback folds forward with a 60/40 split, so you can both improve cargo capacity while still carrying at least one passenger in the rear seat.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Features And Controls
Another thing Hyundai is doing to make sure its cars are uber-competitive is incorporating all of the latest technology. Within the Azera, you’ll find HD radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, navigation, a backup camera, voice text messaging, smartphone app integration, and of course, emergency assistance (Hyundai calls it Blue Link) as standard equipment.
Remarkably, even with all of these features, the Hyundai offers an intuitive interface to control them. Redundancies are built in for most of the Azera’s major systems, including steering wheel controls for the audio, cruise control and telephone. Meanwhile, the center stack’s switches are both logically positioned and clearly defined.
One caveat however; if you’re getting out of a car with a central control dial and a video monitor the Azera will confuse you a bit because neither of the large dials on the center stack interact with all of the features contained within the monitor. One of them activates the audio system and controls its volume, the other one activates the climate control system and can be used to set fan speed.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Safety And Ratings
On the safety front, you’ll find nine airbags and impact reducing seats as integral parts of the protection suite. You’ll also find antilock disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution.
The Azera’s Vehicle Stability Management setup works in conjunction with the electronic stability control system and the electronic power steering system. The Azera will actually counter-steer for the driver in emergency maneuvering situations; say, if the VSM system detects the car pulling off the intended track because of slippery conditions or in violent lane change situations.
Naturally, the 2013 Hyundai Azera is also equipped with front and rear seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. If a crash proves unavoidable, and its severity is such an airbag deployment occurs, Hyundai’s BlueLink system (which is similar to GM's OnStar service) will automatically phone for assistance on your behalf. Blue Link also provides remote access, theft recovery, and geo-fencing.
Geo fencing permits the owner of the Azera to pre-establish boundaries outside which they can receive notification if the car travels. It also enables the owner to monitor the speed at which the car has been driven to help parents keep an eye on their driving-age children — or anyone to whom the Azera is loaned.
NHTSA has yet to crash test an Azera, however the IIHIS has and awarded the Hyundai its top rating of “Good” in frontal offset, side impact and roof strength testing.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Engine/Fuel Economy
Powering Azera is a 293-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine, which delivers 255 ft.-lbs. of torque at 5200 RPM on regular unleaded fuel. The engine employs direct injection as well as variable intake and variable valve timing. This enabled Hyundai’s engineers to get more power out of it without increasing displacement. In fact, the 3.3-liter fitted to the 2013 model makes more 10 more horsepower than the 3.8-liter fitted to the 2011 Azera and gets better fuel economy as well.
Hyundai’s proprietary six-speed automatic transmission funnels the output of the engine to the front wheels. The six-speed demands no undue attention, shifting smoothly and efficiently. Always in the right gear for the situation, it’s basically transparent to the driver—which, in a car like this is a very good thing.
Fuel economy estimates are 20 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway, and 24 miles per gallon combined.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Driving Impressions
As a near luxury—family-oriented sedan, the Azera provides a comfortable and quiet ride, with smoothness as its primary attribute. Steering and braking feel are more than adequate for this class of car.
As long as you keep in mind Hyundai’s Genesis is the sport sedan in the family — much the same way as Lexus splits the tasks of performance and comfort between the GS and ES models in its lineup. In fact, that’s exactly the strategy. Azera is about comfort and style, while Genesis chases the rear drive performance car segment intenders.
Now this is not to say the Azera is a wallowing pillow on wheels. The car got skills. Even when it is pushed beyond the role its looks seemingly pigeonhole it into, the 2013 Hyundai Azera rewards the driver with better than expected performance. Powerful and smooth, the engine motivates the graceful sedan without hesitation. Acceleration is strong, passing power is plentiful and the engine is both refined and quiet in operation. The brakes are both strong and capable, and the Hyundai’s steering is precise.
Yes, it’s a bit soft when asked to corner hard, but again the Azera isn’t a sports sedan, it’s an entry-level luxury car—think Lexus ES, and you’ll have absolutely the right idea.
With that said, if there’s one place we could point to as an opportunity for improvement, it’d be noise. Hyundai models are typically more prone to road noise than their competitors. And while the Azera is nice and quiet for a Hyundai, the Lexus bests it handily in this regard.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Final Thoughts
To say Hyundai has come a long way from the days of the XG300 is a considerable understatement. The 2013 Azera is a very reasonable consideration when cross-shopped against the aforementioned Lexus ES 350. Hyundai’s representatives also name cars like the Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon, Buick LaCrosse, Acura TL, and Ford Taurus when asked to identify the competitive set for the Azera.
Interestingly, and quite uncharacteristically for a Hyundai, the Azera is actually more expensive than most of those cars. However, there’s price and then there’s value. When you equip those other cars with all the kit offered as standard equipment on the Azera, the pricing disparity shifts decidedly in favor of the Korean.
Further, it can be justifiably argued none of those cars can match the Hyundai in terms of good looks — save perhaps the Maxima and the Avalon. Another consideration is the overall quality of the interior. While the sculptural quality of the Azera’s interior is quite nice and you get leather upholstery for the seats, there are places where the product team at Hyundai cut corners with hard plastic and it’s a bit on the evident side.
Still though, you’ll be hard pressed to find a car equipped as well as the 2013 Hyundai Azera at its price point. Further, you won’t find a single one can match the Hyundai’s five-year/60,000 mile fully transferable overall warranty coverage, along with its 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty coverage, along with five years of emergency roadside assistance.
2013 Hyundai Azera Road Test And Review: Pros And Cons
• Excellent value
• Handsome styling
• Powerful engine and good fuel economy
• Comfortable and spacious interior
• Outstanding warranty coverage
• Road noise level is higher than the competition’s
• More plastic than this class of car should have
• Price point higher than competition (though you do get more for the money)