- Lots 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
Remember when buying a full-size sedan made you feel like you had just purchased a rental car? Those boring days of yore are gone, thanks to cars like the 2016 Hyundai Azera. This big front-wheel-drive Hyundai adds an expressive sense of style to a segment known largely for functionality. Sharp lines and creases define the exterior while the cabin is a little more straightforward in style yet plenty high on functionality. There's nothing rental fleet-ish about the Azera.
Even the base Azera comes chock full of stuff, including some desirable driver-assistance systems like a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert. The Azera Limited goes even further, with frontal-collision warning, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Further, every 2016 Azera also comes with navigation and smartphone apps like Pandora and Siri Eyes Free.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera is marked by distinctive looks, with sharp creases and curvy lines.
A 3.3-liter V6 comes standard. It's gutsy and moves the big sedan around with authority. The six-speed automatic transmission may not shift especially quickly, but it does so with uncommon smoothness. The ride strikes a nice balance between comfort and control, while ample front- and rear-passenger room and a cavernous trunk mean you're all set for long road trips in Hyundai's full-size sedan.
Not that the Hyundai Azera is the only choice out there; far from it. There are many intriguing models in this once ho-hum market segment. Standing at the top of our list is the Toyota Avalon, thanks to an appealing blend of comfort, quality and performance, along with a hybrid model for buyers who value fuel efficiency most of all. The Chrysler 300 offers a retro-themed, tough-guy exterior, rear-wheel-drive performance and a choice of V6 or V8 power. The Buick LaCrosse is a good pick if comfort is a top priority, while the Chevrolet Impala offers a four-cylinder engine option for better fuel economy. And don't forget about the Kia Cadenza: It's related to the 2016 Azera and as such offers many of the same attributes wrapped in slightly different paper.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2016
2016 is largely a carryover year for the Hyundai Azera. Adaptive cruise control with stop-start technology has been added as a standard feature to the Limited model, along with an electronic parking brake with an automatic vehicle hold function (allows the driver to remove their foot from the brake while stopped).
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2016 Hyundai Azera is a five-passenger full-size sedan offered in base and Limited trim levels.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera's front seats are highly adjustable, and come with heating/cooling. But they're not all that comfortable.
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, 12-way power driver seat (with lumbar adjustment, seat-bottom extension and memory settings), 8-way power front passenger seat, 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, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a hands-free automatic-opening trunk. 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, adaptive cruise control with stop-start capability, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, rear parking sensors, an electronic parking brake, automatic vehicle hold function (allows a driver to remove their foot from the brake while stopped), a panoramic sunroof, ambient interior lighting, a power rear sunshade and manual side-window sunshades.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera has a large touchscreen and a fairly normal-looking center stack. The controls are easy to operate.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
Like most sedans in this class, the 2016 Hyundai Azera's interior has a distinctly upscale feel and appearance, though it's cheapened somewhat by the brittle, shiny plastics used in some places. The design of the dashboard and the center stack is appealing in its minimalist execution, thanks to last year's revised center stack that adds some buttons and knobs for functions that formerly required you to wade through the touchscreen's menus. Thankfully, there's even a tuning knob for the radio. The large, 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.
Plenty of legroom in the rear seat of the 2016 Hyundai Azera, plus decent air vents. Headroom is tight for taller folks.
The front seats have excellent adjustability, but our testers still found it difficult to find a comfortable driving position during long stints in the saddle. A pity, because the perforated seats look terrific and come with both heat and ventilation. There's lots of legroom front and rear, but taller passengers will find headroom a bit snug in the backseat. 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 2016 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.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 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.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Azera came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is slightly below average in this class.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2016 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 6.8 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 in combined driving (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. Almost too much punch in some cases, thanks to an overly jumpy gas pedal calibration from a standstill. 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.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera delivers a good driving experience, thanks to a smooth ride and a quiet and powerful V6 engine.
Although the 2016 Hyundai Azera 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 2016 Hyundai Azera brings style to a segment known for conservative design. It's also suitably luxurious with plenty of room for occupants to stretch their legs.