Bottom line: The Azera belongs high on the list of anyone shopping for a full-size family sedan in the $30,000-to-$50,000 price range.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets very good marks in all three. “Very good” means that it will please law-abiding drivers in all three categories but will probably do nothing to please habitual petal-to-metal “driving enthusiasts.”
Head-turning quotient: The Azera is one of the most attractive cars I’ve driven in the past five years. It snapped necks and turned heads everywhere I drove and parked it. I look for more vehicle manufacturers to start imitating Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” concepts.
Body style/layout: The 2012 Hyundai Azera is a fully equipped front-engine, front-wheel-drive “common luxury” sedan slotted between the mid-size Hyundai Sonata sedan and the super-luxury Hyundai Genesis. “Common luxury” means that the Azera offers nearly everything sold on a much more expensive car as standard equipment and at a lower price.
Engine/transmission: It comes standard with a 3.3-liter, gasoline-direct-injection 24-valve, V-6 engine with electronically controlled variable valve lift and timing (293 horsepower, 255 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually.
Capacities: There are seats for five people.
Cargo capacity with rear seats up is 16.3 cubic feet.
The fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons. This one runs fine on regular gasoline. There is no need for “plus” or “premium” grades for better performance.
Mileage: I averaged 17 mile per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway. The Environmental Protection Agency’s rating for this car is 20 mpg city and 29 highway. Hint: Try to avoid mid-city traffic jams and slow down on the highway.
Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated four-wheel disc brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; electronic brake-force distribution; emergency braking assistance; electronic stability and traction control; and nine air bags, including a knee bag for the driver.
Price: The base price for the 2012 Hyundai Azera is $32,000. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $29,864. Price as tested is $32,900, including $25 for an on-board first-aid kit (compare with Wal-Mart and local drugstore offerings) and an $875 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $30,759.