For some time, Hyundai has indicated it would launch a new flagship sedan to replace its XG350, but a name for the replacement model hadn't been mentioned. But in March 2005, the South Korean automaker announced that the new sedan would be called the Azera. Rather than a face-lift of the XG350, the front-wheel-drive Azera is a brand-new vehicle.
Introduced at an off-site presentation during the 2005 New York Auto Show, the full-size Azera features graceful four-door lines that the automaker claims are aerodynamically efficient. An all-new 3.8-liter V-6 produces an estimated 265 horsepower, which is a big boost over the XG350's output and more horsepower than what's currently available under the hood of the Ford Five Hundred or Buick LaCrosse. The Azera includes eight airbags.
Three trim levels are available: GLS, midrange LX and top-of-the-line Limited. Available features include a powered tilt/telescoping steering column, a powered rear sunshade and leather upholstery. Sales begin in fall 2005.
The Azera's large trapezoidal grille has horizontal bars and incorporates a Hyundai logo in the center. Wide headlight units wrap around into the front fenders. Clear-lens rectangular fog lamps sit low on the front fascia. GLS and LX sedans have body-colored side moldings, versus chrome moldings and chrome-trimmed bumpers on the Limited model.
Built on a 109.4-inch wheelbase, the Azera measures 192.7 inches long overall, 72.8 inches wide and 58.7 inches tall. The Azera's fully independent suspension uses double wishbones at the front and a multilink configuration at the rear. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires on uplevel models or 16-inch rubber on the GLS sedan. The full-size spare tire is mounted on an alloy wheel. A power sunroof is standard on the Limited sedan and optional on other models.
The Azera can seat up to five occupants. Each model's 60/40-split, folding rear seatback includes dual cupholders and storage space.
Standard amenities include dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver's seat, a tilt/telescoping steering column with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a digital clock, a console armrest and cruise control. Leather seating surfaces with heated front seats go into LX and Limited models. An engine immobilizer is included in all Azeras, and uplevel models get a Super Vision instrument cluster.
In addition to a power passenger seat, the Limited sedan adds a powered rear sunshade; a powered tilt/telescoping steering column; rain-sensing wipers; adjustable pedals; and a memory system for the driver's seat, mirrors, steering column and pedals. A CD stereo with MP3 capability is standard, though the Limited sedan gets an Infinity audio system with 10 speakers, a subwoofer and a six-CD changer.
Under the Hood
The Azera's all-aluminum 3.8-liter V-6 produces an estimated 265 hp at 6,000 rpm and an estimated 257 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. The five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates Shiftronic for manually selectable gear changes.
The Azera's complement of airbags includes seat-mounted side-impact airbags for both the front and rear and roof-mounted side curtain-type airbags. Active front head restraints are installed. All-disc antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution. Electronic Stability Control and traction control are standard.