(or "Grandeur" in Korea) replaces the outgoing XG as Hyundai's flagship
Unsurprisingly, its main market is the USA, thus its main rivals
include Toyota Avalon, Ford 500 and Buick Lucerne. Note that I did not
take Chrysler 300 into account, because the Hyundai aims at a more
conservative crowd (i.e. the oldies) that traditionally associated with
Buick and recently shifting towards Avalon. To younger buyers who
pursue for driving excitement, these cars are not their cup of tea.
So, let's tune our mind to align with old people, and you'll find the
Azera a perfect limousine. First of all, it is cheap, very cheap. We
used to appreciate Avalon for excellent value for money, but facing the
Hyundai it suddenly becomes overpriced, because a comparably equipped
Azera undercuts it by at least 10 percent.
if you are old enough, you must like the styling of Azera. It's generic
design with a slim tail and a lot of chromed details is exactly the
classical (or outdated) design you are looking for. Open the doors, the
cabin looks clean and easy to use, without much electronic gadgets to
trouble your tired brain. Comfy leather seats relief your back pain.
Well, the materials and build quality are not as good as Avalon, but
better than Big 3's offering, so there is nothing to complain about.
Space is another strength. Considering how short Korean people are, it
is surprising how big the Azera's cabin is. Believe or not, Hyundai
even claims it offer more room than BMW 7-series and Mercedes S-class.
The Azera rides on a platform shared with its little sister Sonata, but
stretched and strengthened. A 68 percent increase of chassis rigidity
over the XG gives it better dynamics and refinement, and allows the
double-wishbone and multi-link suspensions to concentrate on absorbing
road harshness. As you may expect, the ride is set very soft to please
you the old man. Handling is markedly improved from the XG, reduces
understeer and eliminates chassis flex completely. However, when you
encounter a Chrysler 300C on the road, don't be silly to challenge it.
A front-driver is still a front-driver. An old man's car is still an
old man's car. From the excessive body roll, the overlight steering and
the lack of agility you can see it does not intend to be an exciting
motorway, the Azera is a good performer. Hyundai gave it a large V6
displacing 3.8 litres and equipped with DOHC and continuous variable
valve timing. This is no longer a Mitsubishi product but its own
engine. It produces abundance of power and torque (263hp and 255 lbft),
runs smoothly and quietly. The same goes for the 5-speed
Tiptronic-style transmission. Doing highway cruising in Azera is
relaxing, as the cabin is well insulated from noise. Old people must
The problem is: we are not old people actually, and we do not promote
this kind of inefficient American big cars. If Hyundai continue dumping
these 1.7-ton, 3800cc big cars into the market at an ever lower price
to tempt ever more people switching from small cars, then our planet
will be game over.