- Plenty of standard features
- Smooth ride quality
- Quiet and spacious cabin
- Large trunk
- Long warranty coverage
- Abundance of hard interior plastic
- Indifferent driving dynamics
For the past few years, Hyundai has been redesigning vehicles and rolling out new product like it's been on a Red Bull bender. Lost in the mix, however, has been the large Azera sedan that time -- and seemingly Hyundai -- forgot. But for 2012, Hyundai has finally gotten around to sprinkling the Azera with its fairy dust, and the results are quite impressive.
Slotting in just above the already commendable Sonata and below the more expensive Genesis sedan, the 2012 Hyundai Azera is meant to provide a bit more space and luxurious ambience than the typical midsize sedan. Compared to the previous Azera, the 2012 car is about the same size, but its exterior styling and interior design are much more dramatic and appealing. It's also more expensive than it was before, but with that price increase you get an impressive number of features (leather seating and a navigation system are standard, for instance) and a more powerful, fuel-efficient V6 engine.
On the road, the Azera feels like the large sedan it is, which can be considered praise for its solid poise on the highway as well as a demerit when trying to weave through tight confines. The Hyundai Azera does, however, pull ahead of the competition when it comes to its spacious cabin that has enough room to comfortably seat four tall adults. There's also ample trunk space for their accompanying luggage.
Rivals in the Azera's arena are few, and for the most part, fall just shy of besting the Hyundai. The 2012 Toyota Avalon is likely the Azera's closest competition from a sales volume perspective, but loses points for its elevated interior noise, uninspiring driving dynamics and so-so cabin. The refreshed 2013 Ford Taurus is also worth mentioning, but its compromised visibility and even larger feel keep it out of the top spot. If personality and performance rank higher on your must-have list, the 2012 Chrysler 300 will likely suit you better. We'd also recommend checking out Hyundai's Genesis. But in the end, the 2012 Hyundai Azera rises to the top for its all-around goodness.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2012
The 2012 Hyundai Azera has been completely redesigned. Highlights include more dramatic styling, additional standard features and a more powerful V6 engine.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2012 Hyundai Azera is classified as a large sedan and is offered in a single, well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, a 10-way adjustable driver seat, an eight-way adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, a chilled glovebox, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a navigation system, BlueLink telematics and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, an iPod/USB audio interface and HD radio.
The only Azera option is a Technology package, which adds 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, a power rear sunshade, manual side window sunshades, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver seat memory functions, a driver seat cushion extension, ventilated front seats, rear parking sensors, interior ambient lighting and a premium Infinity 12-speaker sound system.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
Both from the outside and within, the 2012 Hyundai Azera can easily be thought of as a well-fed Sonata. The quality of the leather upholstery is nice enough to convince you that you're in a true luxury sedan, but the abundance of hard plastics will bring you right back to reality. Much of the Azera's interior design is reminiscent of the more commonplace Sonata, which for some could be a more interesting alternative to more austere luxury cabins.
Styling and materials aside, the Azera is exceptionally roomy. A multitude of driver seat adjustments ensure a comfortable position for any body type and there's enough head- and legroom to accommodate 6-footers in any seat. The 16.3-cubic-foot trunk is similarly generous, making it one of the largest in its class.
Standard safety features on the 2012 Hyundai Azera include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. Hyundai's BlueLink (which is similar to GM's OnStar service) also provides SOS assistance and automatic crash notification.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Azera came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is average in this class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Azera its highest score of "Good" for the car's performance in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Powering the 2012 Hyundai Azera is a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered and sends power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds instrumented testing, the Azera accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is a bit quicker than average for a large sedan. Fuel economy is about average for the segment, at an EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg in combined driving.
The 2012 Hyundai Azera accelerates to highway speeds with confidence, but lacks the kind of power to be considered truly impressive. The automatic transmission executes gearchanges smoothly, but also rather slowly, which reinforces the car's leisurely attitude. So, too, does the soft suspension that soaks up bumps and ruts with ease. But the Azera is still well-behaved and very predictable if driven hard or when avoidance maneuvers are needed. Furthermore, it doesn't feel floaty on the highway. Altogether, the 2012 Hyundai Azera drives and feels very much like the aspiring luxury sedan it is, with no surprises for better or worse.
The redesigned 2012 Hyundai Azera capitalizes on the Sonata's strengths and adds a healthy dose of spaciousness and luxury. It's a great pick for a large sedan.