It’s hard out here for a full-size car. Sales are declining on a consistent basis, as crossovers and falling demand for V6 and V8 non-premium sedans eats into the once-proud full-size segment. Talk of Ford killing off the Taurus seems to float around, while at least half of all sales in the broader segment seem to go to fleets. Market forces might claim their next victim in the form of the Hyundai Azera.
Tag: Hyundai Azera
Along with an updated version of the Grandeur (aka the Azera), Hyundai has revealed the new “AG” large sedan, which will be a flagship, but also slot below the Genesis and above the Grandeur.
The Avalon has been something of a caricature since it wafted on stage in 1994. The stretched Camry was low on soul, devoid of style and soft of spring. In short, it was the Buick that wouldn’t leave you stranded. Since then Toyota has struggled to divine a mission for their full size sedan, a problem complicated by the re-invigoration of the large sedan market by the American brands. In hopes of resurrecting sales numbers, which have slid to 25% of their 2000 year shipments, Toyota has injected something hitherto unseen in an Avalon: style. Is it enough?
Recent talk of Chevrolet attempting to convert the 2014 Impala from 75 percent fleet sales to 70 percent retail sales seemed like an improbable figure. Judging the success of any new car is a crapshoot for most of us, but one thing is for sure; the full-size sedan segment as a whole, is declining.
Even when stacked up against other Lexus models, the front-drive ES has long been considered boring. Yet the Camry-based sedan has been a best-seller for Lexus and in its segment. For this reason, it has become a benchmark; just as every compact sport sedan targets the BMW 3-Series, every upper-midsize near-luxury sedan targets the ES. Well aware of the beads drawn on its back,
Toyota Lexus has redesigned the car for the 2013 model year. But has it raised the bar enough to keep Koreans with upward aspirations in their place?
Derek’s capsule review of the 2012 Hyundai Azera gave the car a resounding “meh”. My own impressions weren’t going to be quite so positive, but then something happened: I test drove the Buick LaCrosse and refreshed 2013 Ford Taurus. Suddenly a $37,000 Super Sonata didn’t seem such a bad way to go.
(N.B. Photos of the Lacrosse and Taurus are in the gallery below)
Hyundai’s press materials list the 2012 Azera’s competitors as “…traditional large sedan sales leaders such as Maxima, Lacrosse, Avalon and Taurus.” But those cars were on the minds of exactly no one at the Las Vegas launch of the 2012 Azera. Only the Lexus ES350, the market’s leading 4-wheeled sensory deprivation tank, was on the lips of the assembled journos when talking about the Azera’s competition. Hyundai didn’t give us much time with the car, but one thing was clear.
Hyundai and Toyota have done the math, and they know Americans almost always prefer big, crude and comfortable over slick, trim and stylish. In hopes Impala-ing this fat part of the mid-sized sedan market, Toyota and Hyundai have refreshed their Avalon and Azera sedans for 2011, and the results are… well, frankly, we can’t tell.