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2015 Hyundai Azera: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

If you haven't been paying attention to large sedans over the past few years, the 2015 Hyundai Azera has some surprises in store. Now entering its fourth year of production, the current Azera is massively more interesting than the previous model, a generic Korean cruiser that most folks have already forgotten. Indeed, it's as if Hyundai designers put the word "generic" up on a whiteboard and said to the Azera team, "There won't be any more of that."

The car's boldness starts with its rakish yet graceful exterior, which makes conventional competitors look like cars from an earlier era. Then there's the futuristic dashboard, a festival of curves and slopes that's more spaceship than sedate luxury sedan. Hyundai even throws in a standard telematics suite called Blue Link that can read your text messages aloud to you, among other nifty features.

Don't worry, the Azera still nails big-car basics like a pillow-soft ride, light steering and a cosseting back seat. But this Hyundai clearly isn't for folks who want to stay the course. Rather, it's for those who look at other sedans and see a lack of innovation. Full of pleasant surprises, the 2015 Azera just might change the way you think about Hyundai.

What's New for 2015?

The Azera receives numerous updates this year, including standard blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, hands-free trunk opening, refreshed exterior styling, an 8-inch touchscreen on all models, enhanced infotainment features and a new center-stack design.

What We Like

Ultra-modern styling inside and out; buttery ride; great front seats; limolike back seat; features galore

What We Don't

V6 could be stronger; price range overlaps with Genesis luxury sedan

How Much?

$34,895-$39,095

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive Azera is motivated by a 3.3-liter V6 engine rated at 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Azera is good for 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway in base trim, a respectable showing for a large V6-powered sedan. Oddly, the up-level Limited trim drops to 19 city/28 hwy, perhaps explained by its one-inch-larger wheels and extra 190 lbs or so of curb weight.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Hyundai Azera is offered in base or Limited trim.

The base Azera ($34,895) starts with 18-in alloy wheels, fog lights, hands-free trunk opening (via a key-fob proximity sensor), power-folding side mirrors, keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped power-adjustable steering wheel, leather upholstery, a 12-way power driver's seat and 8-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, iPod/USB and Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free voice-command functionality, the Blue Link telematics system, a rearview camera, an 8-in touchscreen, a navigation system and a 14-speaker Infinity audio system.

The Limited ($39,095) throws in 19-in wheels, xenon headlights with automatic high beams, LED foglights, a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, manual rear side sunshades, a power rear sunshade and interior ambient lighting.

Trunk space in the Azera measures a generous 16.3 cu ft.

Safety

The 2015 Azera comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and nine airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee, rear-side and full-length side curtain). A driver's blind spot mirror is also standard. The Limited comes with a handful of exclusive electronic safety features (see above).

In crash tests conducted by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Azera received the top rating of Good across the board.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we found the Azera's front seats to be unusually supportive for this segment, even featuring some lateral bolstering, and we're fans. The power tilt-telescopic steering column has plenty of adjustability for a variety of driver sizes, and the gauges are electroluminescent for luxury-class clarity.

Form has clearly trumped function on Azera's swoopy central control panel, but the various buttons are logically grouped. We suspect owners will acclimate quickly. Since the whole dashboard looks exceptionally sharp and sophisticated, we can live with that learning curve. Materials quality is what we'd consider Sonata plus, meaning that it's average-plus for this class but short of Genesis grade.

The Azera's back seat (with standard seat heaters) is one of our favorites in any car. Legroom is expansive, the bottom cushion is high and plush like on a good easy chair and headroom is satisfactory even for tall folks, despite the Azera's sloped rear roofline.

Under the hood, the V6's output numbers are fully competitive, but the Avalon and Impala subjectively feel stronger with their larger-displacement motors. The Sonata's available 2.0-liter turbo inline-4, by the way, isn't far behind. Still, although the Azera's V6 fails to raise the bar, it's an admirably refined motor that should please most drivers. There's plenty of smooth power for passing and merging, and that's largely what matters in this segment.

On the road, Azera is all about comfort and isolation from the elements. Road and wind noise are minimal, while the soft suspension filters out impacts from all but the roughest roads. Less optimally, the steering feels numb and isolated, and there's a bunch of body roll in corners. We have to give the Azera's suspension engineers their due, though, as the Azera is actually reasonably athletic for a full-size sedan once you get used to that body roll.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Chevrolet Impala -- Recently redesigned and massively improved, the handsome Impala is a compelling car, though it lacks the Azera's adventurous styling.

2015 Hyundai Genesis -- Since the prices overlap, we have to mention this car. The rear-wheel-drive 2015 Genesis luxury sedan is a great car, even in its most basic V6-powered form.

2015 Toyota Avalon -- The Avalon is a sedan after the Azera's own heart, boasting attractive styling and lots of technology. It also has Toyota's lovely 3.5-liter V6, and there's even a hybrid option.

Used Lexus ES 350 -- Ordinarily out of the Azera's league, the ES 350 becomes quite attainable if you consider certified pre-owned examples.

AutoTrader's Advice

While the Azera is a genuine bargain in base form, the Limited's elevated price pits it against some formidable foes. We'd stick with the base Azera and keep the rest in the bank.

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Certified 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited
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Used 2015 Hyundai Azera
Used 2015 Hyundai Azera
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Hyundai Azera: New Car Review - Autotrader