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Hyundai Azera Shines

Azera Tackles The Best from Japanese Mainstream Brands at a Surprising Value
When Hyundai launches its new Azera ( entry luxury sedan in Fall 2005 it could have a real winner on its hands. The Azera replaces the XG350 with a much more distinctively styled and believable car. Unlike its blandmobile predecessor, the Azera is distinctive. Maybe it’s not head-turning, but it is an excellent piece of work from a company that is now beginning to reach its stride.

Azera F34 Blog.jpg

Value-Priced Luxury
Base priced at about $25,000 you can load an Azera up to about $30,000. That is well below cars that may be considered to be competitors (Hyundai thinks it will compete with the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima). Azera is fully equipped and features safety equipment usually optional on competitive models. Azera has eight airbags, ABS, active head restraints and electronic stability control standard.

Sales Volume Objective Ambitious

“OK, we have given you this very nice car at a very attractive price,” says Hyundai Motor Company management. “Now, Hyundai Motor America, you can sell twice as many.” This means that HMA is expected to sell well over 30,000 units of the Azera and HMC would not be disappointed if they hit 40,000 units. The value proposition is there, the car is pretty darn nice. They just may make 40,000 units.

Azera Styling Makes “Convenient Size” Seem a Bit Small
An HMA manager referred to Azera as “Sonata Plus”. A Hyundai Korean Vice President mused that he was concerned the Azera did not look substantially bigger than the relatively large mid-size Sonata. In fact, Azera is shorter than the Nissan Maxima and much shorter than the Toyota Avalon and Ford Five Hundred. It is taller than Maxima and Avalon but not as tall as the very large Five Hundred. Its interior volume is actually larger than Avalon, the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 750i (not the iL). So, Azera delivers on interior size even if it does not look much larger than a Sonata. Don’t expect Hyundai to be directly comparing Azera to Sonata when it comes to exterior size. It’s the ambience that counts.

Azera R34 Blog.jpg

Suspension Tuning – A Challenge for Many Offshore Companies – Azera Gets it Right
At the press preview for the Azera in La Jolla, California in Mid-October, I had the chance to drive an Azera along the fabulous roads East of San Diego in San Diego County and Riverside County. One of the questions Hyundai management had was whether Azera’s suspension set-up was what the car needed. Every car has war stories during its development and Azera is no exception. About 8-weeks prior to its press preview, Hyundai Motor America rejected the original suspension tuning. It was considered to be too soft and too floaty. More like the XG350 than a modern sports sedan. Three weeks prior to the preview, new suspension tuning was approved and rushed to be retro-fitted to the press cars.
The ride and handling of the Azera is not as “point-and-shoot” as the Nissan Maxima, but not as soft as the Avalon. Hyundai has achieved a good mid-point that should be well-received by Azera’s buyers.
Azera’s Performance is in the Zone
Azera has the ride and handling pretty well dialed in. So, does the powertrain match? The 3.8L V6 driving the front wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission has 263-horsepower. This is competitive with other cars in the segment and Hyundai claims 0-60mph times of 6.5 seconds. Not world-beating performance but pretty darn respectable.


  • Steve| October 19, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    2006 Azera Limited (New Oct 2006)
    I find the suspension to float and dip as you would find in a larger auto. Grand Marquis,etc. Bumps seem to have a rebound effect as if the dampening is to soft and you feel it in the steering wheel. Handling is good. Drivetrain is excellent as well as power.

  • antonio| October 2, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    i will thank for this products and the succsesfully car with every options inside !
    but i intirested for some spoiler kit and wheels
    for azera !
    thank you .

  • B| July 23, 2006 at 11:58 am

    I was looking seriously at an Azera. I guess I am one of the 2%. The ride/suspension reminded me of an American car. Had it been tighter, I would now be an owner. It is a very nice car. I did not at all like the silver in the center console.

  • David Mallia| June 2, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    I am considering an Azera. Any input on prices that you were able to negotiate would be appreciated.

  • John Dahlheimer| May 30, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    As a new Azera owner, and former owner of three Cadillacs (Fleetwood, DTS, DeVille), I’m pleased to report that thus far I’m quite pleased with the Azera. Forget automotive reviewers who maintain that any car with a ride less firm than a buckboard isn’t appropriate for true automotive purists; these clowns haven’t got a clue as to what the average automotive buyer wants. In other words, they truly know not of what they speak. This car’s suspension is great for 98% of prospective buyers, the other 2% being automotive reviewers and young drivers of rice rockets who judge a car by the size of its exhaust extension and bass speakers. For anyone else the ride and handling is perfect!

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