Illusion of Grandeur: Hyundai's Styling Strategy Stays Bold

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
illusion of grandeur hyundais styling strategy stays bold

Hyundai has released a handful images of the updated Azera sedan, proving again that the manufacturer is not adverse to taking risks. While we haven’t seen the vehicle around these parts since the 2017 model year, it has continued on in other parts of the world, often under the Grandeur name, and growing more handsome with age.

While perhaps not as comely as the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Americans stand to receive, the South Korean brand’s revamped Azera/Grandeur sticks to its tradition of bold styling updates by incorporating headlamps into a diamond-pattern grille. The end result creates an effect that makes the lights appear as if they’re located behind it. Similar in concept to the hidden headlamps of the late 1960s, its execution is a quite bit different — giving international markets something rather novel.

Odds are decent this one will stay out of the U.S., though Hyundai did file an American trademark for the name “Grandeur” last year, so don’t count it out entirely. The company also issued the “ Hyundai Azera Facelift” teaser images you’re currently looking at with the car wearing Grandeur badges.

Despite the front being quite interesting, the rear portion of the full-size sedan appears to be lifted from a Lincoln. It’s highly tasteful but slightly derivative. Hyundai calls its new design language “sensuous sportiness” and has been affixing it to various models. It typically incorporates tweaking the bodywork to make the car look as long as possible, a bunch of interesting lighting, and a diamond-pattern grille (though not always).

The interior has also been redone — adding new trim materials, two 12.3-inch displays, and a bit more legroom in the back.

Regardless of whether or not we see the Azera/Grandeur here at home (what would happen to the Kia Cadenza?!), it’s nice to know Hyundai is still experimenting. That industrial-level moxie has helped turn the brand around and delivered some of the most interesting mainstream vehicles we’ve seen of late. And it doesn’t appear to be anywhere near finished.

Hyundai’s Flagship Sedan, Azera’s bold transformation.


Teaser image of Hyundai Azera Facelift, "Sensuous Sportiness" innovative design.

– First production model to have integrated grille and headlamp


– Spacious interior with wide horizontal cabin design pic.twitter.com/1oHPrWDWnL

— Hyundai Worldwide (@Hyundai_Global) October 24, 2019

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • 55_wrench 55_wrench on Oct 28, 2019

    Nice work all around except the front end. I get the feeling I'm looking at it through a chain link fence.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 28, 2019

    I've been working on my design vocabulary. I believe that LED strip on the rear can be accurately described as "extra frowny." (How am I doing?)

  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
  • Vulpine ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Bring back the TRUE compact trucks. The demand for them is far higher than the OEMs want to admit.
  • Brn More likely, with Google having troubles, the money tree isn't as ripe as it once was and cutbacks are needed.I hope the overall industry continues to evolve. When I get the the point I can't easily drive, I would still appreciate the independence that autonomous vehicles can bring.
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