- Sheer value for the money
- Vast backseat
- Strong acceleration
- Tactile feel of controls
- Very bland styling
- Soft but bouncy ride
- Unimpressive fuel economy
- Unremarkable for safety
The 2010 Hyundai Azera appeals to sedan shoppers on a budget who value comfort and interior space above all else.
The front-wheel-drive Hyundai Azera is a car with a very focused mission, but it takes its reason for being to an extreme. It’s pretty much catered perfectly to those who value ride over handling, and interior space over flashy design; with GM trying to change Buick’s image in the United States to make it more youthful, the Azera seems to be occupying that brand’s geriatric portion of the market—appealing to penny-pinching empty-nesters who want a big, comfortable highway cruiser.
Conservative but tasteful is a good way to sum up the styling of the Azera. Wheel designs have been updated, and last year marked the introduction of a new chrome grille design; on the inside, the wood grain and metal accents have been enhanced a bit.
There are two Azera models, both powered by V-6 engines; a 3.3-liter V-6, making 234 horsepower, moves the base GLS, while the Limited gets a 263-hp, 3.8-liter V-6. Both engines have all-aluminum construction, continuously variable valve timing, and a variable intake system. Compared to the V-6 engines that Kia used just a few years ago, they’re thoroughly modern and refined. Fuel economy is decent for a large sedan, at 18 mpg city, 26 highway for the GLS and 16/26 mpg for the Limited.
The 2010 Hyundai Azera driving experience is, in a word, numbing. Steering is light, brakes are somewhat overboosted, and there’s no real feel of the road surface yet lots of soft body motion. Because of how softly sprung the Azera is, considering its size and weight you might detect its limitations when angling around a tight low-speed corner. The five-speed automatic transmission comes with Shiftronic manual control, but you probably won’t find yourself inspired to race through canyons and over ridges.
Very ample overall dimensions directly translate to very ample interior space in the 2010 Azera. Fortunately, the large size means that the Azera has an impressive 44 inches of front-seat legroom and more than 38 inches of legroom for rear-seat passengers—as much as (or more than) some traditional-brand luxury cars that can cost twice as much. Azera models that TheCarConnection.com has seen in previous years suffered from unimpressive assembly and some trim issues, but the materials are right up there with those of other large non-luxury sedans.
The list of safety features is impressive; eight airbags, plus active head restraints, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist are all included. Yet crash-test protection hasn’t been at the top of the class. The Azera earns four-star front impact crash protection and five-star ratings for driver-side impact protection, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but ratings from the IIHS include a "good" designation only in frontal offset impact and "acceptable" in side and rear tests.
Even base GLS models of the Azera come pretty well equipped, with a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, iPod/USB inputs, an electrochromatic mirror with compass, HomeLink garage door opener, and power driver and passenger seats. The Premium package on the GLS includes leather heated seats and a sunroof, while top-of-the-line Limited models get 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, heated front seats, wood trim, a power rear sunshade, a sunroof, and an Infinity audio system. For 2010, Hyundai presents the Limited model as an even bigger step up in luxury from the base GLS, with the standard feature set now including a power tilt/telescope wheel, integrated memory system, and wood grain steering wheel and door pulls.
On the Limited, the options are confined to a new 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 sound system, paired in one of two option packages with power-adjustable pedals, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats, and for the costlier package, an LG navigation system. A Bluetooth hands-free interface remains available only as a port-installed option.