POPULAR HYUNDAI AZERA REMAINS UNCHANGED FOR 2013

2013 Hyundai Azera

By Tom Crosby

Hyundai Azera hit the ground running in 2012 when the second-generation model was introduced and sales skyrocketed.

Consequently, the Korean automaker made no major changes for 2013, boasting the flagship large sedan puts out more horsepower per liter than any of its direct competitors – all of whom have bigger V-6 engines – helping Azera claim it gets 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Combine that with stunning good looks both inside and out, spacious cabin and trunk, plus a robust technology interface, and Azera becomes a viable competitor with more established nameplates such as Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Buick LaCrosse, Acura TL, Ford Taurus and Lexus ES 350.

Azera comes in only one trim, positioned between Hyundai’s smaller Sonata and luxury sedan Genesis.

The Azera’s attractive profile includes sculpted hood and front fascia, character lines below easy-entry doors, swept back cat’s eye headlights and a sharply raked windshield. A pair of slatted chrome-rimmed exhausts highlight the rear look.

Not the quickest off the line, it provides excellent acceleration on the highway with a Lambda II 3.3-liter gasoline direct injection engine appropriately engaged by a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual sideslip option.

Handling is adequate for normal driving and the suspension firm and confident. Our test-drive added a $4,000 Technology Package that included 19-inch silver alloy wheels, an upgraded audio system, added rear parking sensors, improved interior comfort and added power rear sunshade and rear window manual shades.

All help the ergonomics blend with an interior Fluidic Sculpture design to create a luxurious, modern and eye-pleasing ambiance with two-tone brown and black leather and sweeping door handles.

There is more than a slight resemblance to the Nike swoosh logo. Knick-knack spaces are plentiful, a cooling glove box. Front and rear occupant seating is ample, the trunk spacious. Gauges are easy to read, and dashboard pushbuttons handle necessary functions.

Once an annoying disclaimer is agreed to, navigation controls are intuitive on the 7-inch screen, although not always accurate in picking the shortest route and once indicated a wrong-way turn onto a one-way street.

Younger auto buyers will be intrigued with Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics, which finds points of interest (POIs) quickly and accurately.

After logging into MyHyundai.com, pairing with Bluetooth, text messages can be dictated and sent, your location can be shared with Bluetooth contacts, boundaries can be set for teenage drivers with notification sent if boundaries are exceeded.

LIKES: Looks, space, ride, quiet, comfort
DISLIKES: Nav detail, disclaimer
BOTTOM LINE: Strong competitor in large sedan market, still a marketing underdog

FACT FILE: HYUNDAI AZERA 2013

  • Base price $33,125
  • Curb weight 3,605 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 112 inches
  • Length 193.3 inches
  • Width 73.2 inches
  • Engine specs 3.3-liter, V6, DOHC, CVT
  • Horsepower 293-hp at 6,400 rpm
  • Torque 255 lbs.-ft. at 5,200 rpm
  • Transmission Continuous variable transmission
  • EPA Rating 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway
  • Range 18.5-gallon tank, regular gas
  • Performance 0-60 in just over 7 seconds