By on November 16, 2011

Hyundai has been doing a lot of things right lately, but one thing they can’t do is keep a secret. TTAC showed you this car, known as the Grandeur in Korea, a year ago, warning “Buick beware.” Now that it’s arrived stateside, the threat is real and Azera is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the Hyundai family. Hyundai says the new Azera’s design was pursued following the same “fluidic sculpture” theme as Elantra and Sonata, rather than aping the Genesis and Equus’s more formal design language… although to our eyes it almost splits the difference between the two looks. Meanwhile, its 3.3 liter, 293 HP V6 separates it from its V6-free Sonata cousin, while still providing what Hyundai claims is “class leading” efficiency.

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik says they are transitioning Hyundai from a “Value brand” to a “Valuable brand” (yes, really), and this Azera is intended to help challenge cars like the Acura TL and Lexus ES as well as the Taurus and Avalon. And with no plans for new US production capacity, despite razor-thin inventories, moving the brand upmarket makes sense for Hyundai. And replacing the old dullard of an Azera was a crucial step in that direction.

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35 Comments on “2013 Hyundai Azera: Look Out LaCrosse...”


  • avatar
    johnhowington

    looks nice, but it will probably not capture the outgoing 60-somethings with decimated pensions and 401ks.

  • avatar
    86er

    Ok, didn’t we just spend yesterday discussing the death of the large car? Our other theme on TTAC is that “Hyundai has been doing a lot of things right lately”.

    With the Sonata/Azera and the Genesis/Equus, do they know something we don’t?

  • avatar
    JCraig

    I don’t think Lexus and Acura have as much to worry about as Toyota. Looks like this was made to specifically take on the Avalon. I appreciate the fact that Hyundai is making a real effort to take on the competition in nearly every segment from subcompact to flagship luxury.

  • avatar
    overdrive

    Looks like an oversized Mazda6 (which was already too big).

  • avatar
    Almost Jake

    It looks nice, not overdone like the Sonata. I’m sure it will sell better than the outgoing model (I really went out on a limb with that statement).

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Looks great in the side, 3/4, and rear views, OK from the front. A Kia version would have a nicer nose.

    Could they show us a more bland color?

    Is the 3.3L direct injection; any guesses on fuel economy, transmissions, price, etc?

  • avatar
    hifi

    While the LaCrosse looks stately and athletically proportioned (can’t believe I just said that about a Buick) this Hyundai looks like a bland me-too knockoff. This may steal some sales from the Lexus ES, but that’s about it.

  • avatar

    Did we JUST have a discussion yesterday about how large cars (that aren’t luxury brands) are going the way of the Dodo? This vehicle seems ill placed (as unexpectedly decent as the last-gen was) and makes their lineup too busy. Why buy this over a Sonata, especially when there is only a 13 horse advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Why buy a LaCrosse over a Malibu?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        wsn – I don`t know, maybe because it has a more classy, better quality interior, a more powerful engine and a longer warranty. Much the same as buying a TL instead of an Accord. There is a market for said cars, if declining.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @wsn:
        Good question, which begs two more: why buy an Acura TL over an Accord? Why buy a Lexus ES over a Camry?

      • 0 avatar

        wsn, I think you are comparing apples and oranges here. The TL, ES, and, to a lesser extent (at the moment) LaCrosse all offer something important that the Azera doesn’t: brand catchet. Sure, Acura doesn’t hold a lot of catchet, but it definitely holds more than Honda, a Buick more so than Chevy. The Azera is still a Hyundai, which is no longer a bad thing, but also doesn’t create any differentiation between other Hyundai models that are nearly as good.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        FreedMike,

        The TL is available with SH-AWD as well as with the option of a V6/manual 6 speed combo. Those are the only reasons I’d buy one over an Accord. The Crosstour offers AWD, but no manual transmission option. The main reason I’d consider an ES would be the Lexus dealer level of service, which is practically unmatched.

        On the other hand, there is neither an Acura nor a Lexus dealer in the city I’m car shopping in at the moment, so I won’t be going with either. There is a Buick dealer. It is the place where horror stories are written. I also talked to a manager there who bragged about how they were succeeding in moving older customers from Buicks to Nissans because they could make far more money by overcharging for Altimas than by discounting Buick LaCrosses. We had this conversation pre-bailout, so I actually felt sorry for Buick at the time. They were marketing the LaCrosse heavily and a huge dealer of theirs was leveraging their traffic to gouge people on Nissans. Whether it is now a point of irritation or humour, there is no way that the Buick dealership experience compares with that of real luxury brands with stand alone dealerships. Brand cache does relate to how people who actually own the cars feel about them, and they’re likely to feel differently if they were treated as Lexus customers rather than being treated as dealer customers to be pushed into whatever brand of car helps the bottom line the most that day.

        Where does Hyundai fall in all this? I don’t know, but they’re growing like crazy with some pretty mediocre products. They must be doing something right in addition to buying journalists.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I see this one as a failure. A big failure.

    I’m not one to make predictions on these things. But the ovoid insect inspired dash coupled with the bland exterior will make the Azera Hyundai’s first big flop in a while.

    Then again… Hyundai could always pump up the sales with fleet volume. Hey, it works for everyone else in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I sincerely hope this is a major flop. Not due to any ill-will towards Hyundai, but large cars that depreciate heavily are a gold mine for used car lots in this area.

      We have plenty of retiree customers who want a big car, but whose idea of how much a car should cost hasn’t advanced much since the 80s. Right now Ford 500s, Mercury Montegos, Grand Marquis, Kia Amantis, Impalas, and various other nice but forgotten large sedans make up an important part of the business. I was hoping the Genesis would be the next contender in that ring, and it still may be given that the sales haven’t ever lived up to the hype, but having another entry in the form of this Azera would be nice as well.

      Since a lot of our older customers are cash buyers we won’t even have to worry about whatever ridiculous lowball number the banks assign as a book value.

      • 0 avatar

        Nullmodo

        I think Ford has lost touch with what its customers want and because of Ford’s premium pricing on everything, Kia and Hyundai will outsell Ford in the future. I also think Chrysler makes better, more reasonably priced products.

        I can’t think of a single Ford or Lincoln I’d want to actually spend my money on. The Mustangs are just about the only exception, but, the SRT8 offers more performance and more interior space.

        the only thing Ford could do to change my tune is make their interiors larger. I don’t care what the specs say: the Camry is a better car than the Fusion and even manages to offer a more comfortable environment than the Taurus/MKS. And I’m absolutely not a Japanese import buyer.

        I want Ford to succeed because I am a shareholder, but, everything they do makes me facepalm.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Ford’s strategy seems to be more retail sales and higher margins even if it means fewer sales overall. Ford does a lot of things better than Chrysler, but Chrysler does have a nice edge if you are looking for a big roomy car with a powerful engine without spending luxury car bucks.

        Camry vs. Fusion is moot at this point, because the current Fusion will be gone by early next year. I’m also not sure what any of this had to do with a thread about a Hyundai Azera.

      • 0 avatar

        Please – name things Ford does better than Chrysler…

        And please don’t say “Sync” cause the latest batch of sync computers suffered from plenty of recalls and dead screens. The Uconnect touch system is FAR SUPERIOR.

        In fact, Uconnect touch is better than my S’s COMMAND system and the new Command system/ iDrive/MMI.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Compare the sales and general reception of the Focus to the Caliber, the Edge or Escape to the Journey, the F-Series to the Ram trucks, Fusion to the 200 (though granted, the 200 seems to be a nice improvement over the Sebring), Fiesta to the 500, or the Mustang to the Challenger. Chrysler is eating Ford’s lunch when it comes to the Charger/300 vs the Taurus, and in minivan sales where Ford doesn’t even have an option, but that’s basically it.

        I haven’t tried the new uConnect system, so I can’t comment on it. The complete MyFord Touch rewrite coming out early this coming year will fix the stability issues with the system.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Genesis sedan residuals have been holding up pretty well; and considering it doesn’t have AWD, it’s still been outpacing the Infiniti M, Lexus GS and Audi A6 by quite a bit.

        Also sales don’t necessarily have a correlation w/ resale value; the Acura TL sells relatively modestly and yet has very good resale (same goes for the RL which hardly sells at all).

      • 0 avatar

        “Chrysler is eating Ford’s lunch when it comes to the Charger/300 vs the Taurus, and in minivan sales where Ford doesn’t even have an option, but that’s basically it.”

        OK Fair enough…

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Maybe word is getting around that the Sonata 2.0Turbo is no faster than a Camry Hybrid(slight exaggeration – it is 0.2 sec quicker to 60) while drinking gas like a Passat VR6. This car is bound to be a less pathetic real world performer.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I have to think that if you put your foot into a VR6, it’ll drink a lot faster than Hyundai’s 2.0T under load. I take real-world mpg comparisons with a grain of salt because people routinely compare apples and oranges – ie. driving styles, terrain, climate, etc., and virtually nobody drives the speed limit.

      As for the Sonata/Camry Hybrid comparison, the numbers may be right, but I don’t think those cars are cross-shopped in those configurations. The Sonata woos customers in part due to its looks, the Toyota Hybrid sells for its alleged greenness and ‘reliability’.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I know everyone is rightly having a laugh at Motor Trend’s COTY at the moment, but they did a comparison of the three drivetrain choices for each of the Sonata, Camry, and Passat. Driven in identical, real world conditions that must have favored highway miles considering that the base Camry returned over 34 mpg, the Sonata 2.0 Turbo only returned 23.3 mpg. That is for a car that took 7.0 seconds to get from 0-60. The V6 Camry achieved 24.7 mpg on the same route and went from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds. The Camry Hybrid hit 60 in 7.2 seconds, imperceptibly slower than the Turbo Sonata, while returning 36.9 mpg on the same route. Hyundai’s recent drivetrains are about features lists for the ignorant and arbitrary EPA figures.

        It is pretty funny how the Genesis turbo is considered a bad powertrain while the Sonata turbo is considered cutting edge all based on characters on a page. They perform about the same.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ is right, real world economy for the Hyundai turbo engines are disappointing. They have been good at getting flattering EPA figures. I am very surprised that a 274hp Sonata can only do 0-60 in 7.0 seconds.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        ‘I have to think that if you put your foot into a VR6, it’ll drink a lot faster than Hyundai’s 2.0T under load.’

        @gslippy,

        Respectfully, the advantages that turbos achieve on the EPA cycle over larger naturally aspirated engines of similar power rating are achieved precisely when neither engine is under load. When using the available power, the turbo needs extra fuel to burn the extra air forced into the combustion chamber by the turbocharger and the result is fuel consumption that ramps up more pronouncedly than in a naturally aspirated engine. Todays high compression turbos are good at using very little fuel when under very light load, but accessing the available power is almost certainly going to use more fuel than a good naturally aspirated engine of similar performance.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @CJinSD:

        Yes, I understand how a turbocharged engine can certainly consume more fuel and faster than even a larger displacement engine while under load, but the VR6 is nearly twice the displacement of the Hyundai 2.0T.

        The 23.3 mpg you cite is pretty terrible. If that is actual highway mpg for a certain 2.0T, then using TrueDelta’s numbers such a car is probably going 75+ mph, and is therefore not lightly loaded. This was my point earlier – and I think you agree – that the only way to approximate EPA numbers is to do the speed limit and drive conservatively.

        With the highway (60 mph) horsepower requirement of a slippery car like the Sonata down around maybe 20 HP, anyone using maybe 40 HP to go 75 mph is not going to get good fuel economy.

        However, since this is how people actually drive, I can see how disappointing it is to see such a tiny engine deliver such poor fuel economy.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Can you see out of this car? Unlike the Buick, which has no visibility at all.

  • avatar
    John R

    I wonder if that 3.3 liter would fit in my Sonata…

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I don’t see this making a dent in this segment, and I’ll tell you why…

    Taurus buyers are loyal to the Ford brand

    LaCrosse buyers are GM loyal/conquest sales from Lexus

    TL buyers may be weary of the nose, but won’t defect to Hyundai

    Lexus ES and Toyota Avalon sales are likely conquest sales from previous Cadillac/Buick owners.

    Honestly, there’s no reason to buy the Azera compared to the competition. I would consider a Genesis for the class it competes in, but I wouldn’t consider the Azera because the competitors do just about everything better.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Well, there are former Ford loyalists who bought 500s with expensive CVT issues and no resale value, former Boneville buyers, former Mercury fans, former Oldsmobile buyers, Nissan owners who miss real transmissions, people who were big-3 loyalists who can no longer support the UAW in blissful ignorance, and southerners who want to support their local employers. I was in Virginia this week, and I saw quite a few commercials featuring happy Hyundai employees that were much more relatable than…other autoworkers seen on tv. I can’t fathom what is inferior about this car compared to a Ford or a Buick, but I’m not in the barge market, so what do I know.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      So good of you to know before you, much less auto reviewers have driven and compared the Azera to its competition.

      There’s actually a good amount of Acura TL and TSX owners who have defected to the Optima SX, so I don’t see why some Avalon and ES owners wouldn’t defect to the new Azera (some have already defected to the lower-end Sonata).

      This will do fine for Hyundai – selling btwn 3-4K units monthly (as long as Hyundai actually spends some marketing $$ on the Azera this time around).

  • avatar
    snowball

    I’m a retired 74 year old and can’t wait to get a new Azera. I have the 2006 Azera with 181,000 Kms. Love the car, love driving the car, long trips at slightly higher than the posted speed limit and still get 500 miles down the road feeling rested. A few minor bugs, but overall a great 6 year experience. Had a loaner of a Hyundai Elantra Sport with the 4 banger. What a scary piece of crap that is. I was afraid to pull out in to traffic. After driving a 3.8 L 263 HP 6cyl. The 4 cyl is nowhere. If the Azeras are available in Canada I’ll trade, if not I’ll wait ’til I’m in the USA to buy. Not a fan of the Sonata or Elantra. They have that look of being sideswiped by a Monster truck. Give me the smooth sided look any day.

  • avatar
    defeated

    In October, 2014, I bought a 2014 Hyundai Azera Base in Queens, NY. I made a big mistake in buying the car because it did not have the some of the features that I wanted. A week later, I went to another Hyundai dealership to trade it in for an Azera Limited. The salesman at this dealership told me that the Azera Base is a very undesirable car that no one wanted and had a very poor resale value. He said that he was very reluctant take the Base model as a trade in unless I took a deep cut. I paid $32000+ for the Base and he then told me that all that he would offer me is $21000. If he knew this about Base, than the dealership in Queens, NY knew it also. My fault entirely for not doing my homework. As a returning customer, they should have treated me more fairly. Never again , Hyundai! Who said life was fair?


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