If luxury and features for the money are still the priority, the 2012 Hyundai Azera still ranks as one of the top large-sedan picks.
In previous model years, the Azera has been offered in GLS and Limited models, with the Limited model offering 'the works' and the GLS having a more limited set of features and (what used to be) the smaller 3.3-liter engine (a 3.8 used to be included at the top of the Azera range, but today's 3.3 actually makes more power than that did). While it might look at first glance that Hyundai has raised prices on the Azera by several thousand dollars, with the new 2012 Azera, Hyundai has essentially dropped the GLS and made the former Limited the only trim.
So essentially, the top end on a 2012 Azera, including destination, is just $36,875.
As such, the Azera is offered in just two builds: Azera, or Azera with Technology Package. The base Azera includes the navigation system and backup camera system, push-button start, proximity-key entry, Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats, full leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, and heated front and rear seats. And the standard 450-watt Dimension sound system includes XM satellite radio, HD Radio, iPod/USB connectivity, and an auxiliary input jack.
The Technology Package adds HID headlamps, larger 19-inch wheels, a big panoramic sunroof, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side sunshades, ventilated front seats, 550-watt Infinity premium Logic 7 sound with subwoofer, power steering-wheel adjustment, interior ambient lighting, and a keyfob-integrated memory system for settings.
Hyundai emphasizes that in either of these two Azera guises, the Azera includes a host of items—like the navigation system—which are standard while they remain optional in some or all of rival models.
The standard seven-inch touchscreen navigation system in the 2012 Azera runs on a full WVGA resolution and includes a 90-day trial of XM NavTraffic, as well as 8GB of built-in memory for map data. It also includes information screens for audio and climate control, though all important controls for those have redundant, traditional buttons and dials below.
All Azera models do get Hyundai's subscription-based Blue Link system, which offers a suite of services like vehicle location; remote vehicle access; emergency and roadside assistance; turn-by-turn navigation; and traffic and weather updates.
Since the Azera is just dipping its toes into the true luxury-brand market, the only down side is that there are a few high-end tech items missing from the Azera's features lineup. Things like active parking, blind-spot systems, a head-up display, or active cruise control? None of them are offered here.