By on January 17, 2011

Hyundai’s Azera has long flown under the radar in this country, offering a near-luxury option that’s (at least) as stolid as it is solid. But because the Azera has never connected with America’s love of flamboyance, few know that the Grandeur, as it’s known in Korea, has a long, proud history full of grandiose names. Did you know the Grandeur was originally a rebadged Mitsubishi Debonair, and that these two suave nameplates were jointly developed for at least one generation? Only the second domestically-produced front-drive sedan on the Korean market, the first generation had to be made from Mitsubishi knock-down kits so the Korean automaker would have a luxury car ready to transport dignitaries in time for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. It unseated the Daewoo Royale (an Opel Rekord/Senator mash-up) as Korea’s top luxury car, and eventually became the country’s best-selling car.

Yes, the “Azera” has had a more storied history than its near-invisible styling, marketing and name in this country seem to suggest… but back in Korea it’s making waves again. The latest Grandeur launched last Thursday, and our man in Korea, Walter Foreman, has sent us the latest production-model press shots, which give a far better sense of the car than the last set of spy shots and renderings. And though Hyundai says it expects to sell 100k Grandeurs in 2011, Reuters reports that a US launch is not going to happen until 2012. In light of the new design direction, perhaps they’re taking the time to rethink the “Azera” nameplate…

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24 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Delay-sions of Grandeur? Edition...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Beautiful Park Avenue, when will the Ultra model be released? 

  • avatar

    I like it. Only problem is, at first glance from the front it looks very Sonata-ish.

    • 0 avatar

      Thinking the same thing. I don’t mind the Sonata, but a McDonald’s supersize-me-for-$0.75 Sonata is not necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      Well it’s like complaining that a Merc S Class looks a bit like the C-Class…
      but you’re right, they do look alike, but in the flesh (saw it and drove it last month during a factory and R&D visit) it looks much better than the Sonata, it somehow gives a better platform for the design language, and the bulges at the rear really make its presence felt. however the interior is a bit so and so… too dramatic in terms of design for the segment i think…it’s cool, but for the size of the car there should be some restraint in terms of how sophisticated the design should be. a more grounded simple looking interior with some cues of the sonata’s would have been more fitting….

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Could it be . . . the return of tailfins?  Oh, Hyundai, turn those horizontal creases skyward and return America to the days when men were men and cars were space ships!

  • avatar

    A name change may well be in order. I suspect that as it currently stands, ‘Azera’ has virtually no associations or resonances, good or bad, with North American audiences. To most it would probably sound less like the name of a car that they can identify and connect with and more like an expressive utterance for a ‘sneeze,’ a vague, puzzling notion like ‘grue,’ or perhaps even just plain old gibberish. It would be different if the name had some long standing with North American audiences like F150 or CRV, or if it had some other connotations like Accord or Civic, but as it stands now I would venture to guess that to most people it’s just a bunch of empty syllables.

  • avatar

    A Sonata with a window kink and chrome at the bottom of the doors. How original! Will probably out Buick the LaCrosse in most road tests.

  • avatar

    How does this fit in the model line up with the Genesis? Competing products? – Yes I understand this is front wheel drive to the Genesis rear but apparently most people don’t know the difference!

  • avatar

    If it were a person it would be female with big hair, implants, and cheap makeup applied with a trowel. It would be employed as a checkout technician at the biggest FoodMart in Cleveland. It’s middle initial would be N. for Needy. I could go on . . .

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Nice looking car!

  • avatar

    The current Azera is very much a Buick wannabe. This new one looks a lot sportier. Hyundai would probably sell more Azeras if they advertised the car, but the current one really doesn’t fit into Hyundai’s new mojo. This should sell well as an alternative to the RWD Genesis, and for people who insist on a V6. Since Hyundai really doesn’t sell many $33,000 Genesis (most are the loaded Tech models – go try to find a cheap one at a dealer!) there is more pricing room for the new Azera than there appears.

  • avatar

    I really don’t like Hyundai’s design.  Looks like a razor in the front with curves that are trying too hard.

    • 0 avatar

      The design you refer to is the result of years of doing a decent job and nobody really noticing.  So they went to the extreme, and now people are noticing.  I, for one, think they went way too far in their design language, almost to the point of being tacky.

      These types of designs get old really quickly.

  • avatar

    Beauiful car.  Lincoln should be worried.

  • avatar

    It’s attractive, but looks like 85% Sonata and 15% Infiniti M37.

  • avatar

    Looks nice. Sportier than a Regal, and probably with more power, better MPG and a lower price.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    Hey GM, might want to reconsider keeping Buick if Hyundai can get this off the ground…
    That is a beautiful car.

  • avatar

    Where are interior shots? Looks very nice from outside.

  • avatar
    Sgt Beavis

    I like it.

    I love what Buick did with the Lacrosse but this is going to give them a run for their money…

    Fortunately I thing the Buick boys are up to the task…

    Competition is a wonderful thing…

  • avatar

    It doesn’t look half bad.  Unfortunately, I agree with the TTAC masses…this thing is a Sonata with a 3.0 liter GDI V6 under the hood.  Question is, what the heck are they aiming this car at?  The Avalon and the La Crosse?  Personally, I think the Genesis does a fine job filling that niche.

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