Re: 2014 Hyundai Azera


Over the past couple of model years, nearly all of the comfort-oriented, full-size, front-wheel-drive sedans that compete with the 2014 Hyundai Azera have been redesigned. And while much has changed in this class--with the introduction of showy new versions of the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon, most notably?the Azera still...
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Over the past couple of model years, nearly all of the
comfort-oriented, full-size, front-wheel-drive sedans that compete
with the 2014 Hyundai Azera have been redesigned. And while much has
changed in this class--with the introduction of showy new versions of
the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon, most notably?the Azera still
stands up well for those who want a lot of comfort and features for
the money.
Overall, the Azera remains one of the better efforts in this class?a
half step down from luxury brand, but a solid step up from mass-market
mid-size sedans?don't need to be so floaty and
motion-sickness-inducing. Hyundai has positioned it toward
'design-minded consumers,' and Azera definitely hits an aesthetic high
water mark for the brand. Designers looked to build on the 'fluidic
sculpture' theme, but there's been a lot of attention paid to the
details, with nicely sculpted LED taillamps, side mirrors with
build-in turn-signal indicators, and HID xenon headlamps. Inside, the
layout is definitely more cockpit-like than in most other large
sedans, but the dash pushes outward at the corners to help free up a
little more space. Cool-blue accent lighting keeps with the ambiance,
and there's a very distinctive two-tier layout, with some combinations
pairing a lighter-tone lower tier with a darker upper tier that
matches the upholstery.
Shoppers looking for style and comfort generally want good, confident
straight-line performance, and the Azera has that and more. The
3.3-liter 'Lambda' V-6 makes 293 horsepower, as well as 255 pound
feet?on regular gasoline?and is smooth and responsive, thanks in part
to a six-speed automatic transmission, which includes a Shiftronic
manual mode. The transmission has a wide range of gear ratios to allow
quick takeoffs, strong passing ability, and relaxed cruising. In
previous drives we've noted that the electric power steering is
confidence inspiring (although Hyundai notes that it's been retuned
for this year), and special Sachs amplitude-selective campers not only
help filter out minor bumps.
The Azera has the seating space, smooth ride, and luxury-car feel,
overall, whether your passengers are fussy family you need to soothe
or business contacts you'd like to impress. It's a luxury car, in
terms of seating, ride, and interior appointments. Front seats are
adjustable to a wide range of sizes, and you can get heated-and-cooled
ventilated functions. In back, there's lots of sprawl-out legroom, as
well as just enough headroom for adults?thanks to two carved-out
headliner recesses. Getting in and our of the back seat isn't as easy
as some might hope, though.
So far, based on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
testing, the 2014 Hyundai Azera offers great safety and security. It
earned top 'good' scores in frontal, side, and rear impact testing,
plus roof strength, and in all frontal and side testing; and in the
roof-strength test it withstood 4.76 times its weight. A rearview
camera system is included, as are blind-spot mirrors this year, and
dual rear side-impact bags are among the nine standard airbags.
The Azera is now offered in two models: Azera and Azera Limited. The
base 2014 Azera includes push-button start, proximity-key entry,
Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats, full leather upholstery,
dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, heated front
and rear seats, and a six-inch audio display system with six Mobis
speakers. Limited models upgrade to the 450-watt Dimension sound
system, which includes XM satellite radio, HD Radio, iPod/USB
connectivity, and an auxiliary input jack, along with a navigation
system, eight-inch touch-screen display, rear reading lights, a
power-adjustable steering wheel, a power sunroof, rear parking
assistance, and power-folding side mirrors. A Premium Package adds
19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking assistance, a
power rear sunshade, and manual rear side-window sunshades.
The Hyundai Azera, in its previous iteration up to 2012, was a bland,
conservative sedan that sold because of its value for money and
comfort. But that all changed with the introduction of this current
model, which is curvy and contemporary, and decidedly upscale.
According to Hyundai it's positioned toward "design minded consumers,"
and we won't argue with that; it remains one of the best-looking
sedans in its class.
Like many of Hyundai's current models?and building on the 'fluidic
sculpture' theme that made its debut in the Sonata?the Azera has two
distinctive side creases in the sheetmetal, which don't quite meet but
together form a strong expression. In the Azera, one of them starts
just behind the headlamps, flowing along the top of the fender and
upward to the back of the front door; meanwhile, another starts just
ahead of the rear door handle, flowing upward, then across and forming
the actual decklid crease around the back.
Hyundai targeted a look that would be authoritative, elegant, and
powerful, it says, so the design aims to be dynamic and assertive yet
reeled in a bit, with an element of discipline and restraint.
The Azera's interior feels more like that of a luxury car in that it
has a very distinctive, cockpit-like two-tier layout, with some
combinations pairing a lighter-tone lower tier with a darker upper
tier that matches the upholstery. With the soft-touch and matte
surfaces within reach of the driver and passenger. It's all kept
tasteful, with interior brightwork kept to a minimum, and done in a
cloudy matte-metallic instead. Blue ambient lighting, in models with
the Tech Package, is tucked under that top tier of dash and door trim,
as well as in footwells.
Otherwise, the colors and themes inside quite conservative--think more
along the lines of true luxury cars. Of the eight exterior hues
available, seven of them are hues of white, black, or gray; but we
were impressed with the Venetian Red Pearl. And of the three interior
schemes Chestnut Brown is in our opinion the best-looking.
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Ed Pawlowski

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