The full-size sedan segment is heating up with new or heavily revised entries from most of the major automakers. With real design appeal, confident performance, and a true luxury-car ambiance, Hyundai's in the thick of things, as we explain in this video road test of the new 2012 Azera.Hyundai has positioned the new Azera towards "design-minded consumers." The Azera's sweeping front end and nicely sculptured sides are the latest iteration of Hyundai's fluidic sculpture design theme, and the interior follows form with handsome shapes and curves aplenty.
Inside, the Azera's front seats are comfortable and adjust to suit a wide range of drivers. In the back, you'll find lots of leg room for sprawling out, and just enough headroom, as the headliner has two carved recesses. The middle seat isn't as comfortable--it's more suited for a small child. Getting in and out of the large rear seat isn't as easy as you'd expect, since the handsome roofline cuts a fairly low profile.
All 2012 Azeras have a 3.3-liter V-6 rated at 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA rates the Azera at 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Acceleration is strong and smooth, and handling is tuned more finely than in the last Azera.
On the safety front, the Azera swept the IIHS' crash tests with top scores in all categories. Standard safety equipment includes nine airbags, among them a driver's knee airbag and rear side-impact bags. You'll also find electronic stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes.
With the new Azera, Hyundai has dropped the base model altogether, which means the new entry-level Azera now costs over $6,000 more than the base 2011 car. There's more equipment, though: with a base price of $32,000, all Azeras come standard with a navigation system, backup camera, leather, push-button start, and Bluetooth connectivity. Our test vehicle topped out at nearly $37,000.