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Car Review: 2013 Hyundai Azera

hyundai_azera_1

One of the hottest selling sedans on the road today is the 2013 Hyundai Azera, and we had the opportunity to drive one for a week to see what all the buzz is about. We learned that Hyundai continues to take on segments of the auto industry that probably didn’t see products like the Azera approaching in their rearview mirror!

EXTERIOR

The Azera is a modern and sophisticated interpretation of Hyundai’s signature Fluidic Sculpture design language, which looks very attractive when parked or being driven. With the new Azera, Hyundai continues to offer customers the highest levels of luxury, performance and efficiency, all brought together in the praised design. Azera’s Fluidic Sculpture design takes inspiration from the mechanics of flight. The exterior of the Azera is long, light and low with a very upscale appearance. The unique, undulating beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window and wraparound LED taillights. A monoform side profile includes flowing lines in the rear quarter panel. The face is masculine with a powerful, winged chrome grille and HID headlamps that integrate precise details. The stance is completed by available 19-inch multi-spoke wheels that we sported on our test model. The venetian red paint looked amazingly shiny without a mar to be found.

INTERIOR

The elegant look of the 2013 Azera continues inside where Hyundai has created an upscale ambiance, thanks to a flow-through center fascia and instrument panel that creates a dual-cockpit front passenger space. These flowing surfaces complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers. The 2013 Azera offers luxurious appointments that rival the finest premium competitor brands. It offers a roomy cabin with more than 45 inches of legroom and 40 inches of headroom for front-seat passengers. Hyundai focuses heavily on other interior details, such as an optional panoramic sunroof, which allows more natural light into the cabin and 3D Carbon interior accents. Ambient lighting compliments the vehicle’s modern appearance. Other standard luxury equipment includes power front seats, power rear sunshade and manual rear side window shades. The side shades, not found on any other car in the Azera’s segment, can be inconspicuously tucked away when not in use.

Given the functionality and design of the Azera, seat quality and comfort is of extreme importance to the feel of the car. The 2013 Azera offers first-class seating for all passengers, with leather seating as standard equipment. A ten-way power driver and eight-way front passenger seat are also included. The driver’s seat has an optional cushion extension and an integrated memory system for the seat, steering wheel and side mirrors, while the Azera’s climate and seat temperature controls keep occupants in total comfort. Our 2013 Hyundai Azera also boasted ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats standard, dual automatic climate control standard, second row air vents standard and cooled glove box standard.

Touch-screen navigation with integrated backup camera is standard on all Azeras, which are pricey optional features on all other cars in the segment. This easy-to-use unit can be controlled via the 7-inch WVGA touchscreen or voice activation by a headliner-mounted microphone. The system features 8GB of flash memory and comes matched with a sound system that plays compact discs, accesses digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio, or allows driver and passengers to access their personal listening devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. Bluetooth audio wirelessly streams music from select mobile phones to the head unit. In addition, Bluetooth-enabled phones allow drivers to look up a local restaurant and call for reservations before plotting the route. The music really pumps with the Infinity 550-watt, Logic 7 audio system with 12 speakers, including an 8-inch subwoofer and available external amplifier. An XM Satellite Radio interface is also integrated into the head unit and features channel logos and XM Data services such as XM NavWeather, XM Stock Ticker and XM Sports Ticker. Azera also offers standard HD Radio technology. The Bluetooth hands-free phone system also boasts voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming as a standard feature. Hyundai Blue Link telematics comes standard on the Azera with a 90-day complimentary trial period. Blue Link can be accessed from the buttons on the rearview mirror inside the Azera, or via the web or a smart phone. Blue Link is offered in three packages: Assurance, Essentials and Guidance.

When you compare pricing to much more expensive models in the marketplace, you really appreciate the high-end feel combined with quality materials in the $37,225 Azera we tested.

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PERFORMANCE

As good as the 2013 Hyundai Azera might look from the outside, and as comfortable and futuristic the cabin comes across, the performance of this classy sedan is something you will not forget. With the introduction of direct injection, Hyundai didn’t have to increase the displacement of their V6 engine in the pursuit of more power. The Lambda II 3.3-liter GDI engine is the heart of the 2013 Azera. It produces a best-in-class specific output of 88.8 horsepower per liter, while also boasting the smallest displacement in its class. The engine’s high-pressure (over 2,200 psi) direct injection system increases power and torque, while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

The system eliminates the need for larger displacement, and increases the compression ratio from 10.4 to 11.5 in the pursuit of greater thermal efficiency and power output. The new engine also features all-aluminum construction, four valves per cylinder, piston cooling jets, roller timing chain, CrN Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating on the top ring chamfer and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). A three-stage Variable Intake System (VIS) further broadens the engine’s power curve to improve the vehicle’s off-the-line acceleration and passing performance. EPA fuel economy estimates for the Azera are 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway / 23 mpg combined. The engine is mated to Hyundai’s in-house, 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control. This system offers smooth shifts and a wide ratio spread that ideally suits the engine’s power delivery. Azera’s powertrain also has an Active Eco mode, which modifies engine and transmission control for improved fuel economy. This translates into a more than five percent improvement in real-world fuel economy.

OVERVIEW

The 2013 Hyundai Azera has a distinct style that puts it in a class of cars that should cost much more than it does based on sheer looks alone. After you enter the cabin and experience the drive, you’ll shake your head at what the folks at Hyundai have achieved. We’re going to miss the Azera!

  

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