The Hyundai Azera, in its previous iteration up to 2012, was a bland, conservative sedan that sold because of its value for money and comfort. But that all changed with the introduction of this current model, which is curvy and contemporary, and decidedly upscale. According to Hyundai it's positioned toward "design minded consumers," and we won't argue with that; it remains one of the best-looking sedans in its class.
Like many of Hyundai's current models—and building on the 'fluidic sculpture' theme that made its debut in the Sonata—the Azera has two distinctive side creases in the sheetmetal, which don't quite meet but together form a strong expression. In the Azera, one of them starts just behind the headlamps, flowing along the top of the fender and upward to the back of the front door; meanwhile, another starts just ahead of the rear door handle, flowing upward, then across and forming the actual decklid crease around the back.
Hyundai targeted a look that would be authoritative, elegant, and powerful, it says, so the design aims to be dynamic and assertive yet reeled in a bit, with an element of discipline and restraint.
The Azera's interior feels more like that of a luxury car in that it has a very distinctive, cockpit-like two-tier layout, with some combinations pairing a lighter-tone lower tier with a darker upper tier that matches the upholstery. With the soft-touch and matte surfaces within reach of the driver and passenger. It's all kept tasteful, with interior brightwork kept to a minimum, and done in a cloudy matte-metallic instead. Blue ambient lighting, in models with the Tech Package, is tucked under that top tier of dash and door trim, as well as in footwells.
Otherwise, the colors and themes inside quite conservative--think more along the lines of true luxury cars. Of the eight exterior hues available, seven of them are hues of white, black, or gray; but we were impressed with the Venetian Red Pearl. And of the three interior schemes Chestnut Brown is in our opinion the best-looking.