- Strong, smooth powertrain
- Refined ride
- Nicely detailed design
- Good feature list
- Tight center position in back seat
- Tough ingress/egress in back
- Lacks some leading-edge tech features
The 2017 Hyundai Azera has near-luxury features and style, and a full-size back seat.
The Hyundai Azera soldiers on for the 2017 model year, while a replacement waits in the wings for 2018.
The big four-door has been on the road since the 2012 model year, and it's held up remarkably well, in features and in styling, especially compared to dated rivals like the Ford Taurus. Like its newer competition—Maxima, Avalon, and Impala—the Azera is a more dramatic-looking companion to less-expensive mainstream sedans.
Offered in base and Limited versions, the Azera has technology and luxury features that hoist it up in our ratings, and keep its scores solidly between those of true luxury cars and mass-market sedans.
We give it a 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Hyundai Azera styling and performance
The Azera is heavily sculpted, with a lot of attention paid to the details. Its lovely set of curves wears a front end that ties it more closely to the Genesis lineup—fitting, since it's Hyundai's bridge between its brands.
Inside, 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.
The Azera offers more than adequate straight-line performance from its 3.3-liter V-6, which makes 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque on regular gasoline. It's smooth and responsive, thanks in part to a 6-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. Fuel economy is as high as 28 mpg combined.
The Azera's ride and handling give priority to comfort. Its electric power steering has a confident feel, and its well-tuned suspension filters out minor bumps without floating over the road. It's a comfortable ride that feels well-controlled.
Azera comfort, safety, and features
The Azera seats up to five passengers. Its front seats can be adjusted to fit a wide range of body types, and can be fitted with heating and cooling. In back, there's lots of sprawl-out leg room, as well as just enough headroom for adults. Getting in and out of the back seat isn't as easy as it should be, for a car of this size. Blame it on the softly tapered roofline.
On the safety front, the Azera hasn't been tested comprehensively in a while. The NHTSA hasn't scored this year's model at all; the IIHS offers some "Good" ratings, but without data from its tough new small-overlap test. A rearview camera is standard.
Azera sedans come in base or Limited trim. The base car gets power features, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, power front seats, navigation, leather, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, and a 6.0-inch audio display system with six speakers. Hyundai also includes the latest version of its Blue Link system on all Azeras; the system works with a smartphone app and can allow for parental controls to be set for vehicle use.
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, a hands-free trunk opener, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a power sunroof, rear parking sensors, and power-folding side mirrors.
2017 Hyundai Azera
The Azera's expressive design still looks good.
The Hyundai Azera is one of the more expressively designed vehicles in its family, and it still has one of the most attractive interiors Hyundai makes. Shy of its Genesis-brand vehicles, we should add.
We give the Azera a 7 out of 10 here, with kudos for its exterior and interior styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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 that matches the upholstery. There are soft-touch and matte surfaces within reach of the driver and passenger. It's all tasteful, with interior brightwork kept to a minimum, and done in a cloudy matte-metallic finish. Models with the Tech Package include blue ambient lighting tucked under that top tier of dash and door trim, as well as in footwells.
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 sheet metal, 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.
For 2015, Hyundai updated the Azera's shape with a fresh front end that factored in more angular lines to the formerly softly creased nose. New LED fog lamps were added on Limited versions, and the grille was reshaped into a more rectangular shape with a gentle arc at its bottom.
2017 Hyundai Azera
Calm but not clumsy, the Hyundai Azera will remind you of plush domestic cars of the past.
Now that the Sonata 4-door has gone 4-cylinder only, Hyundai's Azera is its only remaining sedan with a 6-cylinder engine. It's not the only reason the Azera feels more substantial than the Sonata, but its quick, refined attitude remains a cut above, even though it's a design that's five years old.
We give it an 7 out of 10, with points awarded for above-average engine and ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The 3.3-liter V-6 in the Azera is the only powertrain Hyundai offers in the big sedan. It's rated at 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, and factors in a host of technical goodies like direct injection, four valves per cylinder, dual continuously variable valve timing, double overhead cams, and a three-stage variable intake system.
The V-6 has a dual personality of sorts, revving high and eagerly, making its peak power at 6,400 rpm, just short of redline. Yet it already makes 200 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm, so it's also quite torquey at low revs—at least compared to Hyundai's former V-6 engines. Hyundai likes to point out that it has a higher specific output than other engines in this class, but that's mostly offset by its smaller displacement. It is hooked to a 6-speed automatic that shifts pretty smoothly.
The Azera's driving character is responsive enough to meet most drivers' expectation, but it's also easygoing enough to compare well with cars like the Avalon and LaCrosse. The transmission includes a Shiftronic manual mode, although it's responsive in "Drive" and has a wide ratio spread for relaxed highway cruising or quick takeoffs. The electric power steering system in the Azera feels more comfortable and better tuned than what's used in other Hyundai front-wheel-drive products, with a good sense of center and predictable weighting.
The Azera's suspension is designed for comfort as well as relatively responsive handling. The Azera uses a MacPherson strut-type front system, and a multi-link setup in back, while Sachs amplitude-selective dampers help filter out minor bumps without reducing body control. 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. Ride quality is superb, with only the most jarring bumps heard heard and felt in the cabin. Ride quality is superb, with only the most jarring bumps heard heard and felt in the cabin.
2017 Hyundai Azera
Comfort & Quality
The Azera can host five adults—really.
The Azera has big-car interior room and luxury-car features. It's a comfortable niche between Hyundai's new Genesis luxury sedans and the more spartan-looking Sonata.
We give it an 8 out of 10, for great front and rear-seat space, and lots of storage. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Compared to the Sonata, the Azera sits about three and a half inches longer, with a wheelbase that's a couple of inches longer. The Azera is almost as wide as some luxury sedans, too. As a result, interior space is exceptional.
Adults will find plenty of sprawl-out leg room in front or in back. The Azera's front seats are adjustable and will fit a wide range of body types. We appreciate the high-mounted power-seat controls, up on the door trim as they'd appear in a Mercedes-Benz.
In back, head room is the limiting factor, although there's just enough for taller adults, thanks to two recesses carved into the headliner. If anyone ends up in the middle, they might not be as happy, as the headliner's lower there and the bench position is notably harder (the back of the center console is there as well).
Ingress and egress is disappointing, and it's the only real price of the fashionable exterior. Taller folks will have to lean forward and duck their heads under the curved-down roofline when getting in.
It's a very thoughtful interior, otherwise. Under the audio and climate controls, there's a large hinged bin with a felted interior housing auxiliary and USB ports, and a hinged compartment next to the shift knob containing a couple of cupholders. The space behind the center stack has also been used—a la Volvo—with a tray at the bottom, and the center console itself has the capacity to hide a camera or small purse. Cupholders and bottle recesses, along with map pockets, are included along all doors, too. And there's a useful pinch point that lines up about where you might splay your knees.
And inside, it's quiet—very quiet—with nearly all road noise filtered out; likewise, you hear engine noise only when accelerating hard. The Azera also cuts through the air easier than any large sedan (tied with the Avalon, at 0.28), which helps keep wind noise down and efficiency up.
2017 Hyundai Azera
There's not enough crash-test data to score the Azera for safety.
The Hyundai Azera hasn't been crash-tested in some time. in previous years it's done well, but newer tests haven't been performed.
We're abstaining on a safety score until more data is in. Given the Azera's age, we doubt it will undergo more tests. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The NHTSA hasn't scored the Azera for the 2017 model year. The IIHS has given the Azera top "Good" scores in moderate frontal, side, and rear impact testing, but hasn't subjected it to its tougher small frontal-overlap test. That means it can't be named a Top Safety Pick.
The Azera includes a total of nine standard airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and separate rear side-impact bags. Electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and an impact-reducing front-seat design are all part of the standard kit.
We don't think outward vision is as good as in some rival models—although the rearview camera system helps make up for it. Perhaps to compensate further, Hyundai recently added standard blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist functions.
2017 Hyundai Azera
Hyundai's warranty sets the Azera apart from its rivals.
Hyundai sells the Azera in two versions, a top Limited model and a base one. In both cases, it's Hyundai's long 5-year/60,000-mile basic, and 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, that make it such a strong value.
We give it an 8 out of 10 for loads of standard equipment, decent infotainment, and that excellent warranty. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Every Azera has the usual array of power features; climate and cruise control; leather; power front seats; heated front and rear seats; navigation; a hands-free trunk opener; and an AM/FM/CD audio system with Bluetooth audio streaming and six 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. The Azera Limited also adds rear reading lights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, 19-inch wheels, a power sunroof, rear parking assistance, a panoramic sunroof, and power-folding side mirrors.
Adaptive cruise control and stop/start were new to the Limited model for the 2016 model year. No changes were made for 2017.
The Azera also gets 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. The system now includes a smartphone app for remote control.
2017 Hyundai Azera
The Azera posts average fuel economy figures.
The Hyundai Azera earns middling EPA ratings that seem lower when compared to some rivals. We give it a 6 out of 10 here, based on official figures. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The EPA rates the 2017 Hyundai Azera at 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined. It posts those numbers on regular unleaded.
The Azera has an Active Eco feature, which helps somewhat with gas mileage. Activated by a button, the car's drivetrain draws out throttle and transmission responses, and runs accessories (such as climate control) more conservatively. Hyundai says it's enough to trim fuel consumption by about 7 percent.
Active Eco isn't factored in its EPA scores.
In contrast, Toyota offers a hybrid version of both its Avalon and Lexus ES sedans, both in the same size class as the Azera. The Avalon posts a 40-mpg highway number. To get that kind of economy, you'll have to move down a size class to the Sonata Hybrid, which also offers a plug-in drivetrain.