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First Drive: 2014 Hyundai Azera Limited

2014 Hyundai Azera Back in 2006, when Hyundai first launched the Azera, it was their answer to a mid-full size luxury sedan. After they revamped the Azera in 2011; it was the transition in which we started to see Hyundai in a new optimistic light. Unchanged for 2014, there is an underlining problem with the Azera, it has a large competition market; the Ford Tauras, Chrysler 300,  Toyota Avalon, and there is even some sibling rivalry with the  Kia Cadenza. Does the Azera still have a fighting a chance? Since the 2011 revamped, the Azera has positively aged well.  It maintains to be a striking good looking sedan with a coupe-like profile. The Azera carries multiple design cues throughout the body that really adds a bit of elegance and attractiveness. From the sophisticated HID headlamp design, the polished aluminum body trim and the crisp bold creases throughout; its apparent Hyundai put a ton of effort into the Azera’s scheme. We especially grew to admire the chic chrome grille and optional 19” hyper silver alloy wheels. The trunk wrapped LED taillights also added presence and the integrated dual chrome exhaust gave a hint of sportiness. This overall design was tied very nicely into our Porcelain White Pearl paint job.

When it came to interior design, Hyundai must have taken a field trip to the Space Station. The interior is full of space age modern enhancments and hard creases. The soft touch two-tone dash has a clean aerodynamic flow filled with attractive dark gray garnish and faux carbon fiber trim. Our fully loaded Azera Limited featured outstanding comfortable Camel perforated leather seats. And Hyundai didn’t take any shortcuts when it came to comfort; both driver and passenger had multi-way power adjustable heated and ventilated seats. Rear passengers also get first class treatment with excellent leg room and comfortably soft heated seats.  As part of the $2,150 Premium Package on our Azera, we were upgraded with the 19” wheels, a fantastic full roof panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors and a power rear sunshade and manual rear side sunshades. Once in the captain’s chair and engage the push start, the memory driver seat and steering wheel will glide you into you’re starting position where you are welcomed with bright blue back lite gauges. And as the sun goes down the Azera lights up with a pleasing ambient lighting system. The Azera featured a top notch 8” touch screen Navigation and infotainment system. Much like the Kia Cadenza’s operating system we tested last year, it shared a lot of the same influences. The operating system is one of the best in the business with excellent voice recognition software and a high quality rear back-up camera. The only let down was the woman on the other end getting get mad if spoken a command to early… no joke.

To get the most out of the Azera’s relaxing features we embarked on a 400 mile journey to the southern part of Arizona. Just before we set off, we topped off the tank with Premium Grade fuel, providing us nearly 420 miles of range. We set the dual-zone climate control to a comfy 77 degrees and engaged the bum coolers. Driving the Azera proves it’s no performance sedan. Though equipped with a 3.3-liter direct injection V6, the Azera produces a notable 293 horsepower connected to an adequate 6-speed transmission. Strangely, the Azera doesn’t feel like it uses all of its power.  When you put your foot down, the Azera isn’t aggressive in its acceleration; instead it whisks you from 0-60 in just over 6 seconds very smoothly. And from inside the cabin, you won’t hear much from the engine – that is until you pass 4,000 rpms and then you will hear the V6 humming a noble melody.

One of the best features to the Azera is its ride quality. While on the highway, the needle barely hovering 80 mph, there was no road noise and very little wind noise. If there were any bumps, we didn’t feel them; the suspension is that utterly smooth. Once the roads started to get a bit twisty, the Azera started to feel and act like a large sedan… partly because it is. There was a noticeable amount of body roll given with the soft suspension and the steering started to feel vague and light. But, like mentioned before, its not a performance sedan. And being a large sedan, we were very impressed with the Azera’s fuel consumption. EPA rates the Azera at 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway; we nearly hit the EPA mark as we averaged 19.4 mpg city and 31.6 mpg highway. We were also impressed with the Azera’s braking abilities providing a quick responsive stopping distance when needed. So the lingering question, can the Azera still perform as an alternative to its competitors and sister sedan? We like to think so… the Azera has tons to offer in its sumptuous driving comfort and modern technology. Starting at $31k and topping out at $38k, as shown with our tested Azera Limited being fully optioned, it was hard to find something we didn’t like about it.

2014 Hyundai Azera Limited: $34,750
Destination: $895
Notable Standard Features:
3.3L V6 with 293 Horsepower
HID Xenon Headlmaps
Leather Heated & Cooled Fronts Seats w/ Heated Rear Seats
Dual-Zone Clmiate Control
8″ Touch Screen Navigation
Carpeted Floor Mats $110
Premium Package: $2,150
Grand Total: $37,905


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