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The Hyundai Azera was completely redesigned just a couple of model years ago; yet over that time, nearly all of the comfort-oriented, full-size, front-wheel-drive sedans that compete with it have been redesigned. And despite the introduction of showy new versions of the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon, most notably, the 2014 Hyundai Azera still stands up well for those who want a lot of comfort and features for the money.Overall, the Azera remains one of the better efforts in this class—a half step down from luxury brand, but a solid step up from mass-market mid-size sedans—don't need to be so floaty and motion-sickness-inducing. Hyundai has positioned it toward 'design-minded consumers,' and Azera definitely hits an aesthetic high water mark for the brand. Designers looked to build on the 'fluidic sculpture' theme, but there's been a lot of attention paid to the details, with nicely sculpted LED taillamps, side mirrors with build-in turn-signal indicators, and HID xenon headlamps. Inside, the layout is definitely more cockpit-like than in most other large sedans, but the dash pushes outward at the corners to help free up a little more space. Cool-blue accent lighting keeps with the ambiance, and there's a very distinctive two-tier layout, with some combinations pairing a lighter-tone lower tier with a darker upper tier that matches the upholstery.
Shoppers looking for style and comfort generally want good, confident straight-line performance, and the Azera has that and more. The 3.3-liter 'Lambda' V-6 makes 293 horsepower, as well as 255 pound feet—on regular gasoline—and is smooth and responsive, thanks in part to a six-speed automatic transmission, which includes a Shiftronic manual mode. The transmission has a wide range of gear ratios to allow quick takeoffs, strong passing ability, and relaxed cruising. In previous drives we've noted that the electric power steering is confidence inspiring (although Hyundai notes that it's been retuned for this year), and special Sachs amplitude-selective campers not only help filter out minor bumps.
The Azera has the seating space, smooth ride, and luxury-car feel, overall, whether your passengers are fussy family you need to soothe or business contacts you'd like to impress. It's a luxury car, in terms of seating, ride, and interior appointments. Front seats are adjustable to a wide range of sizes, and you can get heated-and-cooled ventilated functions. In back, there's lots of sprawl-out legroom, as well as just enough headroom for adults—thanks to two carved-out headliner recesses. Getting in and our of the back seat isn't as easy as some might hope, though.
So far, based on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, the 2014 Hyundai Azera offers great safety and security. It earned top 'good' scores in frontal, side, and rear impact testing, plus roof strength, and in all frontal and side testing; and in the roof-strength test it withstood 4.76 times its weight. A rearview camera system is included, as are blind-spot mirrors this year, and dual rear side-impact bags are among the nine standard airbags.
The Azera is now offered in two models: Azera and Azera Limited. The base 2014 Azera includes push-button start, proximity-key entry, Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats, full leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, heated front and rear seats, and a six-inch audio display system with six Mobis speakers. Limited models upgrade to the 450-watt Dimension sound system, which includes XM satellite radio, HD Radio, iPod/USB connectivity, and an auxiliary input jack, along with a navigation system, eight-inch touch-screen display, rear reading lights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a power sunroof, rear parking assistance, and power-folding side mirrors. A Premium Package adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking assistance, a power rear sunshade, and manual rear side-window sunshades.
- Strong, smooth powertrain
- Refined ride
- Nicely detailed design
- Good feature list
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- Tight center position in back seat
- Tough ingress/egress in back
- Lacks leading-edge tech features