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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
As impressive as the acceleration can be, the six-speed automatic is the real star of the driveline.
Its electrically assisted rack is capable of providing a force in the countersteer direction when the vehicle’s stability-control systems conclude that danger is imminent based on vehicle trajectory, road conditions, or simple operator buffoonery.
Car and Driver
The steering may be precise, but the sense of driver engagement is otherwise ho-hum.
The steering is direct, if still a little artificial in feel.
The 2014 Hyundai Azera isn't all that mush larger than the mid-size Sonata sedan, but it does have one potentially important powertrain difference: There's a V-6 under the hood; and with it and the six-speed automatic transmission, the front-wheel-drive Azera has a refined, quick attitude. As for ride and handling, it's responsive enough, although it's clear that comfort is the priority.
On regular gasoline, the 3.3-liter V-6 makes 293 horsepower and 255 pound feet, and has a roller timing chain for durability and lower maintenance cost. It's an all-alloy engine, with direct injection, and incorporates dual continuously variable valve timing, four valves per cylinder, and double overhead cams, plus a three-stage variable intake system.
The V-6 has a dual personality of sorts, revving high and eagerly, with a higher specific output than other engines in this class, making its peak power at 6,400 rpm, just short of redline. Yet it already makes 200 pound-feet at 1,500 rpm, whixch it's also quite torquey at low revs--at least compared to Hyundai's former V-6 engines.
The best way to summarize how the Azera drives is that it's easygoing first and foremost, yet responsive enough for most drivers' expectations. The transmission includes a Shiftronic manual mode, although it's responsive in 'Drive' and has a wide range of ratios for relaxed highway cruising or quick takeoffs. And the electric power steering system in the Azera feels relaxed and better-tuned (with a good sense of center and predictable weighting) than what's used in other Hyundai front-wheel drive products. Although Hyundai claims to have made improvements in feel and precision for 2014...so we'll have to update you at a later date on exactly what that means.
Special attention has been paid to side loading, to help increase confidence on curvy roads, and body motion is better controlled than in other luxury cars with a soft ride. The Azera uses a MacPherson strut-type front system, and a multi-link setup in back, but Sachs amplitude-selective campers not only help filter out minor bumps without leading to less body control.
The 2014 Azera is a confident enough performer to satisfy most -- although it's clear the comfort is the priority. .