- 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 a more fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine
Just a couple of years ago, buying a full-size sedan was the equivalent of buying a refrigerator: Don't expect much flash, just functionality. But cars like the 2015 Hyundai Azera have helped transform the purchase of a large car to an expression of style. The Azera is sharp and confidently shapely on the outside, while inside, you'll find design-driven functionality and high-quality materials and surfaces. Hyundai has made certain that nothing about the 2015 Azera looks or feels overtly utilitarian.
Acknowledging the breakneck pace of technology adoption, Hyundai has ushered in some new content this year, focusing particularly on driver-assistance systems. So blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert systems now are standard on all Azeras, while the Azera Limited picks up desirable driver aids like frontal-collision warning and lane-departure warning systems. All 2015 Azeras have a navigation system, and it features integrated smartphone apps like Pandora and Siri Eyes Free.
Apart from its long list of electronic features, the Azera's fundamental attributes also make it an estimable choice. Its standard 3.3-liter V6 engine is strong enough to please most buyers, and it's paired with an equally smooth six-speed automatic transmission. The ride is quite comfortable, and with ample front- and rear-passenger room and a cavernous trunk, you're all set for long road trips in Hyundai's full-size sedan.
However, there are now many intriguing choices in this once sleepy market segment. One of our favorites in this class is the Toyota Avalon, which has an appealing combination of comfort, quality and performance, along with a hybrid model for buyers who value fuel efficiency most of all. The Chrysler 300 offers a distinctive, retro-themed style, rear-wheel-drive performance and a choice of V6 or V8 power. If comfort is your overriding priority, it's hard to beat the Buick LaCrosse or Chevrolet Impala, both of which offer a plush ride quality, an impressive features list and a four-cylinder engine option for buyers who want it. There's also the Kia Cadenza, which is related to the 2015 Azera and accordingly offers many of its attributes in a different wrapper.
Although the 2015 Hyundai Azera doesn't offer any major advantages over its rivals, it's a fine all-around pick for a large sedan, especially if you're drawn to its styling.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2015
The Hyundai Azera benefits from revised front and rear styling and a hands-free trunk opener for 2015. All models get a blind-spot warning system with lane-change assist, while the 2015 Azera Limited picks up a standard lane-departure warning system, forward-collision warning system and automatic headlight high-beam control. Much of the standard content on last year's Limited model has been shifted to the base Azera. Meanwhile, the optional Premium package has been eliminated and its content added to the Azera Limited as standard equipment. Inside, there's a larger 8-inch central touchscreen, redesigned center stack and enhanced navigation and smartphone integration features.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2015 Hyundai Azera is a five-passenger full-size sedan offered in base and Limited trim levels.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, blind-spot monitoring (with rear cross-traffic alerts), keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with driver lumbar adjustment, seat-bottom extension and memory settings), a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (with 60/40-split folding capability), a chilled glovebox and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Electronics features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen interface with navigation and integrated smartphone apps (including Pandora and Siri Eyes Free), a rearview camera, Hyundai's Blue Link emergency communications and a 14-speaker Infinity audio system with satellite radio, HD radio, a CD player and USB and auxiliary audio inputs.
The Azera Limited adds 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control, LED foglights, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, a power rear sunshade and manual side-window sunshades.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
Like most sedans in this class, the 2015 Hyundai Azera's interior has a distinctly upscale feel and appearance, though it's cheapened somewhat by the brittle, shiny plastics used here and there. If you can get past that lapse, the design of the dashboard and the center stack is appealing in its minimalist execution, including the revised layout for the center stack in the 2015 Azera that adds some welcome buttons and knobs for functions (yes, there's even a tuning knob for the radio) that formerly required you to wade through the touchscreen's menus. The large (and now standard) 8-inch touchscreen electronics interface is notable for its crisp graphics, and it incorporates Google POI search, Pandora Internet radio and, for iPhone users, Siri Eyes Free voice controls.
Front-seat comfort and support in the 2015 Azera is excellent and the rich-looking standard perforated-leather seats are both heated and ventilated. Only very tall or large adults will find space lacking in any direction. The Hyundai's 16.3-cubic-foot trunk capacity is close to segment-leading, and this trunk will easily swallow large suitcases or several sets of golf clubs.
Standard safety features on the 2015 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. All Azeras come with a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts. The Azera Limited adds lane-departure and frontal-collision warning systems and rear parking sensors.
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 that provides notification when the vehicle travels outside a predetermined 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 score 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 2015 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 healthy dash but more or less an average figure for large sedans with a V6 engine.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway) for the base Azera and 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway) for the Azera Limited.
With nearly 300 hp on tap, the Hyundai Azera's 3.3-liter V6 offers plenty of punch in most driving situations, even with four adults on board. The six-speed automatic transmission is smooth enough, but it shifts in a leisurely fashion that may not please more demanding drivers. Most buyers will be content with this setup, but rivals offer a greater variety of engines, including four-cylinder and hybrid options for those willing to trade outright performance for some extra gas mileage.
Although the 2015 Hyundai Azera certainly is tuned mainly to deliver a pleasant ride, you'll find its handling around turns steady and confident. Still, rivals like the Avalon and the 300 blend sharper handling with acceptable ride comfort, and they steer a little more crisply, too.
The 2015 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.