- Plenty of standard features
- Smooth ride quality
- Quiet and spacious cabin
- Large trunk
- Long warranty coverage
- Some disappointing interior plastics
- No option to get all-wheel drive or more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine
If there were an automotive equivalent of an "Easy" button, the 2014 Hyundai Azera might be it. Not only is it easy to select a trim level that suits your budget, this full-size car is easy to drive, easy to live with and, yes, easy on the eyes. As such, it's easy to understand why the Azera is a popular choice with consumers searching for a large sedan.
The stylish-looking Azera is very well equipped considering its pricing, with popular features such as keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard equipment. This year's new Limited trim piles on luxury-car items like ventilated seats, xenon headlamps, an upscale surround-sound audio system and a navigation system. No matter which trim level you choose, the Azera offers generous seating accommodations, a sizable trunk and the smooth ride that most people will expect from this class of car. At the same time, this Hyundai handles respectably for its size and holds its own around tight turns. Finally, the Azera's sole powertrain -- a smooth-operating V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission -- is well suited to this large car's purpose.
As competent as the 2014 Hyundai Azera is at transporting people and their possessions, there are a number of other large sedans that perform just as well. The 2014 Toyota Avalon has a slightly more refined interior and offers a more fuel-efficient hybrid model. The 2014 Buick LaCrosse and 2014 Chrysler 300 are a little classier, while providing available all-wheel drive and different engine options as well. There are also two new entries this year: the handsome 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the 2014 Kia Cadenza, which is mechanically related to the Azera.
Finding the best large sedan for you won't exactly be easy given the number of worthy entries. But among this group we have no problem recommending Hyundai's Azera.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2014
The 2014 Hyundai Azera gets a lower starting price due to a reconfigured model lineup that now includes two trim levels. Hyundai says it's also retuned the Azera's steering for better feel and precision.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2014 Hyundai Azera is a full-size five-passenger sedan that's offered in base and Limited trim levels.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with driver lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a chilled glovebox and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, Hyundai's BlueLink emergency communications and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Azera Limited adds xenon headlamps, power-folding mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an upgraded gauge cluster, a 10-way power driver seat with memory settings, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, ambient interior lighting, an upgraded 14-speaker surround-sound audio system, HD radio, a larger 8-inch touchscreen display and a navigation system.
Limited buyers may add the Premium package consisting of 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors and manual side and powered rear sunshades.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
In some ways, the full-size Azera looks a lot like a larger version of the automaker's midsize Sonata. The interior design is similar, though the standard leather upholstery gives the cabin a definite luxury sedan vibe. The one thing that detracts from this upscale impression is the use of cheap-feeling hard plastics. Both the standard touchscreen interface and the larger one found in the Limited model are easy to use and quick to respond to commands, though some people may wish for an additional knob controller to make radio tuning or map panning easier.
The interior's principal attraction, other than the long list of standard luxury features, is its roominess. All but the very tallest adults will find plenty of head- and legroom in both the front and rear seats, and accommodating four 6-footers at once is a legitimate proposition. The trunk is equally large at 16.3 cubic feet, making it one of the biggest in the full-size sedan segment.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Hyundai Azera include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints. Hyundai's BlueLink system provides services such as remote access, emergency assistance, theft recovery and teen-driver-oriented features, such as curfew alert, speed alert and geo-fencing (which notifies you when the vehicle goes beyond a pre-determined area).
In Edmunds brake testing, the Azera came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is average in this class with all-season tires. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Azera its highest rating of "Good" for the car's performance in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Azera's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2014 Hyundai Azera has a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and it sends power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds performance testing, the Azera accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is a good time but par for the course among large sedans. Fuel economy is also average for the segment, at an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined (19 mpg city/29 mpg highway).
The 2014 Hyundai Azera offers fairly lively acceleration, while the six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth but leisurely shifts. It's an entirely suitable combination, though some rivals do offer a greater variety of engines, including four-cylinder and hybrid options.
Hyundai tuned the Azera's suspension for optimal ride comfort, and indeed, we've found that this large sedan rides quite nicely on the highway and around town. As a bonus, handling around turns is steady and secure. Overall, the Azera inspires confidence, with none of the floaty feeling you might associate with large sedans. Truth be told, though, all its competitors can make the same claim and some are a little more involving to drive.
The 2014 Hyundai Azera brings style to a segment known for conservative design. It's also suitably luxurious and plenty spacious. But depending on your needs, some other large sedans might work out better.