The 2018 Hyundai Azera
From its quiet cabin and refined powertrain to its handsome restyling, the Azera has grown up, and has plenty to offer. The new Azera somewhat surprised us. Yes, the previous model was a success, a good wholesome vehicle with not too much to complain about but Hyundai have really upped their game with the new model. It really has put on its big boy pants and stepped into a whole new range of competitors. With an incredibly low starting price of BHD12,333 for a car that offers you just about everything a Mercedes E-class does, its not something to turn your nose up at.
Outside, the Azera has a significantly different and more formal, profile. While the previous model was rakish and wedgy, the new model adopts an upright version of Hyundai's new corporate grille, along with a long hood and more vertical windshield. The flanks also receive long, flowing character lines that give it a muscular appearance. At the back, the Azera gets a new version of the full width taillights that the model has had since the nameplate's introduction two generations ago.
The cabin feels airy, thanks to large windows, pale nappa leather interior and the rather large panoramic sunroof. The driver’s seat has an adjustable thigh support, and a boon for the long-legged. They are plush and both heated and ventilated. Behind the rear seats resides a 16-cubic-foot trunk, which is on par with the large-sedan competition. The cabin is high in quality and has an upscale feeling with leather on the upper door panels, steering wheel, dash and the centre console. Overall a very polish and serene place to spend time covering distances both long and short.
As for the driving experience, the Azera offers a ride that is incredibly smooth and controlled. The suspension soaks up all bumps and transmits little disruption to occupants; turn the steering wheel, gives you a weighty tight turn, and allows you to feel tied down to the road. Our Azera 19-inch wheels offered a forgiving ride quality, and the car felt high up on the road despite being a 4 door sedan. This is something we like!!
The 3.5-liter V-6 makes 293hp and 249 lb-ft of torque, and while it’s not the most powerful engine in its class, it’s refined, quiet, and reasonably efficient. The eight-speed automatic is sporty and quick to react. A 3L variant is also available and that will give you 250hp and around 210 lb-ft. It really depends on what it is your looking for with this car… We say more is always more, but we're petrol heads.
This car has a wealth of tech to go along with it, many that are yet to be seen on even more luxury brands. Not only this but it has a plethora of safety features as well. Its got an 8-inch infotainment system which is incredibly user friendly, as well as a 4.2-inch instrument cluster in front of the driver.
The heads up display is incredibly helpful as is the wireless charging station, and the Infinity audio system which is loud and perfect for enjoying your tunes on full blast.
Another feature we loved was the Mecca compass, random but helpful for the more religious traveller. The puddle lamps are cool too as they help illuminate the outside of the car, ensuring not to step in anything on your way up to the vehicle. Advance Smart Cruise control maintains the set speed and distance not only while driving but also in stop and go traffic. Blind spot detection allows an audible warning to sound when changing lanes, as well as the lane departure warning system.
The around View Monitor uses a multi camera system with a near 360-degree view of the car to assist when parking. The Driver Attention Alert warns the driver if it can recognise the signs of fatigue, and advises the driver to take a break. Amazingly enough the smart high beam assist automatically turns the high beams on when needed and back off again when faced with on coming traffic.
The big four-door has been on the road since the 2012 model year, and it's held up remarkably well, in features and in styling, especially compared to dated rivals. The Azera's new bod is a more dramatic-looking companion and less-expensive then mainstream sedans. It has the technology and luxury features that hoist it up in our ratings, and keep its scores solidly between those of true luxury cars and mass-market sedans. Well done Hyundai!!
© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS SEPTEMBER 2017