Hyundai has been relentless in the past few years in rolling out new or improved vehicles. That trend continues this spring with the launch of the revamped Azera sedan.
For a while, the Azera had been somewhat neglected by Hyundai, relegated to the sidelines as the hugely popular Sonata, compact dynamo Elantra and luxury contender Genesis got most of the action.
Now, however, Azera has found its groove again.
Hyundai says it is filling a space in the market between the Sonata and Genesis, which are nearly $15,000 apart in price.
If customers see it in that space, Hyundai will have yet another big hit on its hands.
The Azera starts at $32,875 – pretty reasonable for what you get, which is a nice looking, solidly performing premium sedan.
The Azera is about four inches longer than Sonata and three inches shorter than Genesis, so physically it is also positioned between them.
The Azera also uses what Hyundai calls its “Fluidic Sculpture” styling, which made the Sonata, Elantra and Accent so popular.
Hyundai executives who showed the new model to journalists in Las Vegas recently said the inspiration for the styling of the Azera was wings in flight, which is evident on the dashboard and across the entire design.
It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, power-adjustable leather-upholstered, heated front and rear seats, rearview camera, navigation system, Bluetooth and the Blue Link telematics system.
The adjustable steering wheel lends itself well to creating driver comfort.
Roominess in the cabin is quite impressive, as large folks can sit comfortably in front and back.
The Azera comes with a 3.3-liter V-6 engine that makes 293 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters. The transmission’s shifting is buttery smooth and the engine is plenty powerful.
Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city, 29 highway, and regular unleaded gas is acceptable.
Hyundai says it’s going to put some real marketing muscle behind the Azera now, which is good because 1) this car deserves it and 2) it’s going to have to do that to stand out in a field that includes some formidable competition such as the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Buick LaCrosse and Nissan Maxima.
The Azera hits U.S. showrooms in March.