2007 Hyundai Azera Limited – Test drive and new car review – 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited

25 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited – Test drive and new car review – 2007 Hyundai Azera Limited
Hyundai Azera

Hyundai’s big sedan deserves to be judged on the content of its character

Call me a cockeyed optimist, but someday I hope that cars can be judged on the content of their character and not the place of their origin. I don#8217;t think it#8217;s helpful to consumers when car reviews are modified by #8220;It#8217;s all right for an American sedan#8221; or #8220;For a Japanese car, it sure seems expensive.#8221; For those who want a good, solid sedan that straddles the border between practical and luxurious, I present the 2007 Hyundai Azera: $25,195 base, $29,415 as tested, and by the way it happens to be made in South Korea. EPA estimates 19 MPG/28 MPG city/highway; I averaged 22.4.

At First Glance: Azera is easy on the eyes

The Hyundai Azera may not be the most distinctive sedan on the road, but it certainly is handsome. With its sculpted hood and a character line that flares out into bulging shoulders at the rear of the car, it has a certain presence that makes it easy to mistake for a more expensive car.

Further helping to create this illusion is the bustle on the trunk (link goes to photo) that we#8217;ve seen on German sedans as of late, the fanciful Venetian Blue paint that cloaked the test vehicle, and the 17-inch aluminum-alloy 10-spoke wheels. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the lack of available amenities that were once the sole realm of luxury vehicles but now are in the mainstream, such as xenon headlamps and rear parking sensors. What#8217;s with the omission?

Lots of people are willing to pay extra for that stuff.

That last feature is important because the Azera is a big, long car. a fact highlighted by its longish front and rear overhangs. It#8217;s a fact that you have to get used to if you#8217;re more accustomed to maneuvering a vehicle of compact proportions into tight parking spaces.

But its large caboose allows for a capacious 16.6 cubic foot trunk that will swallow all your belongings, with its hinges nicely housed so that they don#8217;t crush your stuff and 60/40 split-folding rear seats for longer items. My biggest complaint about the car came with the sound that the trunk makes when slammed shut #8211; a tinny, insubstantial thunk that makes the license plate rattle as if it were about to fall off.

Continued below#8230;

In the driver#8217;s seat: Nice. Very nice.

Quality of the Azera’s interior is up to the standards we expect from Toyota, Honda and Nissan

Image #169; Liz Kim

Piloting the Hyundai Azera (I drove the uplevel Limited model) was a pleasure thanks to a 10-way power driver#8217;s seat, power adjustable pedals, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel and heated front seats that made finding ideal comfort very easy.

The Azera Limited#8217;s cabin, furnished in a nice beige leather and faux-wood trim, looked decidedly upscale and had unexpected goodies like a power rear sunshade and power folding side mirrors.

The gauges were clean and well lit, and details like the stitching on the creamy leather seats and audio controls on the steering wheel were pleasing touches. The audio and climate controls on the instrument panel were well organized and easy to operate, and the buttons felt properly dampened and refined.

Hyundai claims the largest passenger volume in its class for 2006. Rear seat passengers were quite pleased with the accommodations; even those long of limb will find comfort with 38.2 inches of legroom. There aren#8217;t many amenities back there but the wackiest of gadgets won#8217;t make your passengers happy if they aren#8217;t comfortable.

My quibbles with the cabin related only to minor details, such as the placement of the ignition that made the small key fob rattle against the dash at the slightest movement. And an optional navigation system would make lots of sense for a family sedan with luxury pretensions. Otherwise, the Azera#8217;s build quality, comfort and refinement levels impressed me.

There was no need for a modifier #8211; #8220;It#8217;s nice for a Korean car.#8221; The Azera is a great family sedan, no matter the country of origin.

On The Road: Strong pull, pleasant manners

Hyundai Azera

What may be the Azera#8217;s key advantage is its 263-horsepower V6 engine. It really packs a punch and is quick off the line. It#8217;s matched to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift feature; I found it worked best when I left it in Drive and didn#8217;t futz with the manual function.

Providing very smooth, quick acceleration, it handled freeway merges and propulsion from stops without breaking into a sweat. The cabin is well insulated and makes for a serene ride; at idle the engine is so quiet that you can forget that it#8217;s on.

Steering felt tight and immediately responsive; it has an average turning diameter for a car of this size at 37.4 feet. The Azera#8217;s suspension was oddly tuned; it had a hard time sorting out bumps and soaking up road irregularities while delivering lots of body movement over undulating pavement. The result was for a harsh yet floaty ride. On the other hand, it attacked decreasing radius on-ramps and curves with more athleticism than I expected from a family sedan.

Its performance doesn#8217;t match up to the sporty Nissan Altima 3.5 SE, but it was very amusing nonetheless.

Keeping you safe from overenthusiastic maneuvering is a full complement of safety systems that come standard (as they should, especially on a family sedan), with active safety features like stability control and sophisticated brakes, and passive features like eight airbags and active head restraints to earn it a top crash test safety rating.

At Journey#8217;s End: What#8217;s not to like? Not much

16.6 cubic foot trunk means you can buy plenty of presents with all the dough you saved by buying a Hyundai

Image #169; Liz Kim

The family sedan market is the most hotly contested in the American automotive landscape, and mid- to large-size cars with upscale intentions abound — cars like the Buick Lucerne. Mercury Montego, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. But it’s the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord that top the list of best-selling vehicles, and both offer high-end models (Toyota Camry XLE and Honda Accord EX-L ) that pamper their owners, albeit at a price tag higher than that of the bigger Azera.

With its intelligently designed overall package, the Toyota Camry XLE still makes the best logical sense in this arena. But recommending the Camry is like nominating Meryl Streep for an acting award #8211; it#8217;s so expected, boring and common that you want to see something different. Something unique. Something that the neighbors never even considered.

I nominate the 2007 Hyundai Azera for that distinction.

Hyundai is no longer in the business of pushing inferior cars at rock-bottom prices. It has been building solid, competitive vehicles for years. Still, there are those who are queasy about the company#8217;s history.

If you can get over the #8220;But it#8217;s a Hyundai. #8221; bias, and you really should be able to at this point, the Azera offers terrific value for the money. With the best warranty of the bunch, a smooth and powerful engine, and a spacious and luxurious cabin, I#8217;d have little hesitation recommending it to anyone who asks. — Liz Kim

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