The Hyundai Azera is a trendsetter in its own right. When I first drove it twenty months ago, it was noted for ushering in a sense of design and advanced comfort features into its segment – a surplus of those in fact – urging the rivals to live up to the value that the Azera offered the luxury aspiring, large car customer. So if you could call an affordable sedan that emulates the best of trends in premium luxury cars a trendsetter, then the Hyundai Azera is certainly one.
THE UPSIDE: Design freshness, Full-fledged gadgetry, Ample storage, Value pricing
THE FLIPSIDE: Rivals are more powerful, Layered cabin control, Segment refreshment makes Azera look tame
THE PRICE: Azera 3.0 L V6 starts at AED 94,900 / Mid level costs AED 105,000 and full option AED 112,000 / Azera 2.4 L (full option only) AED 108,000
The Drive: Hyundai Azera 3.0 L V6
A large car that generates 250 hp of power and 282 Nm of torque may not be termed powerful by today’s category standards. But the Hyundai Azera works well with its moderate power from a pretty straightforward 3L V6 engine. The 6-speed automatic transmission is a suitable mate though it readjusts itself while choosing gears slightly more frequently than you would like.
The Hyundai Azera picks up rather painfully at the start but as the torque is mostly available in the mid-range rpm, the car has no hesitation whatsoever during overtaking. Probably the only thing missing in terms of gadgetry is the blind spot monitor but with large well-designed side view mirrors, that’s no issue either. There is an auto hold option which prevents the car from rolling away even while climbing up hill.
The Hyundai Azera is more like boat, in terms of its cruising ability and even the handling to some extent. The steering is hypersensitive to your touch but not as much to the road, adding to the floating feeling of the car. When I pushed it across lanes or in and out of the parking, there was this strange feeling as though I was manoeuvering a boat into place.
In line with its siblings, the Sonata and the I-Series, there are enough curves and complicated design lines that put together a design package that is sure to turn heads. Hyundai has vested the Azera with every large car attribute including a spacious cabin and a capacious boot.
Cabin and Controls
The in-cabin butlery retains benchmark standards with advanced cruise control, a pretty efficient navigation system and a good set of Bose speakers. Tucked away between two arcs of the gauges, the driver information screen on the instrument panel is pretty comprehensive.
Despite being loaded with features, there aren’t many buttons that cram the console and much of the operation is through the 7inch touch screen on the central console. In fact the navigation is easier than most cars, as it shows roadside landmarks clearly and even the tributaries that join main roads are distinctively marked with arrows.
Creature comforts like heated and cooled seats are provided with seat adjustment controls mounted conveniently on the door, while automatically movable seats and steering make for easy access.
Thoughtfully designed storage is a practical aspect of the Hyundai Azera 2013, right from the sunglasses holder, a mid-console deep pocket, cup-holders and the central armrest well to the doorsill spaces and the a little niche for coins on the door armrest! Another impressive feature is the parting sunroof with glass than runs almost the entire length of the cabin, and a retractable front half.
Coming back to frills, the Hyundai Azera has front seat massagers as well as heated and cooled seats along with a heated steering. It would have surprised me if a car that is more inclined towards passenger pleasure and almost ignores a driver’s pet peeves would have provided things like paddle shifts or sport buttons. Thankfully, there is neither.
The Essential Hyundai Azera
As far as briefings go, looks like the design and décor departments at Hyundai were given a proper one on the Azera but the engineering blokes were left out. However, in a segment now dominated by stalwarts like the Chevrolet Impala and the Toyota Avalon, not to mention its own cousin Cadenza, Hyundai Azera is an effective contender for a place in a big sized garage by virture of its absolute cabin comfort, impressive features, stunning looks and of course value-pricing!
This car offers such a lot that you learn to enjoy what you have and stop complaining about little things like the frequent understeer. For the Hyundai Azera, you will gladly allow the driver in you to play second fiddle to the admirer of creature comforts in you!
Drive Courtesy: Hyundai Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy