While the 2016 Hyundai Azera is a less expensive alternative to the Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, and Toyota Avalon, its technological and luxury features are normally found only on its more expensive competitors and its new flowing look is only exceeded by Hyundai’s  newly designed Genesis.

The 2016 Hyundai Azera has been redesigned with a sleek new look while incorporating modern features such as HID xenon headlights, LED taillights, and side mirrors with turn signals built in. It makes for one of the most refined and understated cars on the road today.

For added driver comfort and safety, the Azera includes as a standard feature to the Limited model an adaptive cruise control (ACC), which allows the driver to set the distance to remain behind the vehicle ahead and the car will automatically speed up and slow down to stay with traffic. An electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold allows the driver to release the brake when stopped. A start-stop system is also included, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions, a plus to both the owner commuting in heavy traffic, and the environment.

It’s a surprise that the Azera isn’t a best seller, as it slots in perfectly above the Sonata and below the Genesis. In terms of size and equipment, it is closer to the latter, with a fully equipped interior and a ride that is silky smooth. Despite being a luxury-end vehicle, it offers a responsive and connected driving experience without needing to get into high performance territory. The Azera is a car that deserves a test drive if you are looking for something just that little bit more special.

Standard Features and Trim Levels

The 2016 Hyundai Azera offers full-size luxury at a reasonable price. Starting at $34,100, standard features include Hyundai’s Blue Link emergency communications and a 14-speaker Infinity audio system with satellite radio, HD radio, CD player and USB and auxiliary audio inputs. Other outstanding standard electronic features include a rearview camera, integrated smartphone apps (including Siri Eyes Free and Pandora), 8-inch touchscreen interface with navigation and integrated smartphone apps and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

Standard interior features include a hands-free automatic-opening trunk, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, chilled glovebox, heated rear seats (60/40 split folding capability), heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 8-way power front passenger seat, 12-way power driver seat (including lumbar adjustment, seat-bottom extension and memory settings), leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring (with rear cross-traffic alerts), heated mirrors, foglights, automatic headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Limited

Upgrade to the Azera Limited (MSRP $39,300) and you get 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control, LED foglights, adaptive cruise control with stop-start capability, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, power rear sunshade and manual side-window sunshades, ambient interior lighting, panoramic sunroof, automatic vehicle hold function (allows the driver to remove their foot from the brake while stopped), electronic parking brake and rear parking sensors.

Exterior

2016 Hyundai Azera Exterior

2016 Hyundai Azera Exterior

The Hyundai Azera is at the forefront of Hyundai’s exciting design movement. It is a striking full-size sedan at an attractive price point.

The Azera, like many of the current Hyundai cars, has two distinctive side creases. These creases don’t quite meet. They do, however, form a strong statement. In the Azera, the first crease begins behind the headlamps and continues along the top of the fender. It extends upwards towards the back of the front door. The other begins slightly ahead of the rear door handle. It then goes upwards and across. This forms the decklid crease.

The 2015 Hyundai Azera sported a new, updated shape. There are more front-end angular lines. There are also new LED fog lamps. These fog lamps were added on Limited versions. Finally, the grille was reshaped. It has a more rectangular shape and features a gentle arc towards the bottom. All of these changes make the already exciting Azera a great choice of vehicle.

Interior

2016 Hyundai Azera Interior

2016 Hyundai Azera Interior

Consider the Azera a luxury car without the luxury price. The Azera is placed in between the Sonata and Genesis in terms of its buyer market and quality. It has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Sonata. The Azera is as spacious as any entry-level luxury car on the market, and it is just about on par with other luxury brands in most respects in the interior, without a few bells and whistles.

The ride quality in the car is great, and only the largest bumps and potholes will be felt by the driver. Most outside road noise is also filtered out of the interior, and engine noise is only heard when you are really pushing the car to accelerate. The vehicle has the lowest drag coefficient when comparing all large sedans, which can increase gas mileage and aids in keeping the noise levels down.

There is plenty of legroom for anyone in the Azera, even larger adults. You can adjust the front seats to your liking with power adjustment. The same can be said about the back seats, which are just as spacious in the legroom department. Due to the sporty and fashion forward exterior styling, taller people may need to lean forward in an in order to get into the car.

2016 Hyundai Azera Tech

2016 Hyundai Azera Tech

Otherwise, the interior of the car is nearly perfect for its class. The center control panel houses a port for an auxiliary connector as well as USB ports for charging and connecting devices to the car. There is also a storage compartment next to the cup holders at the bottom on the console. Similar to Volvo styling, there is a tray behind the center stack with the capacity to hide medium sized belongings. There is ample space for all of your coffee or water bottles in the Azera.

Performance

2016 Hyundai Azera Performance

2016 Hyundai Azera Performance

The Hyundai Azera does bear some resemblance to its slightly smaller sibling, the Sonata, but where it parts company is with its standard V6 engine as its only powertrain. The attitude is quick and refined with comfort driven suspension, responsive handling and front-wheel drive.

Utilizing a MacPherson strut-type front system and multi-link set up in the rear, the Azera’s Sachs amplitude-selective dampers help filter out minor bumps for a smoother ride while still maintaining good body control. Only the most jarring of bumps can be felt or heard inside the cabin. Well-placed side loading has been employed to improve driver confidence on curvy roads, and body motion control is better than what’s found on many luxury rides.

A 3.3-liter V6 is the only engine offered in the Azera. This engine puts out 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. It has direct injection, four valves per cylinder, double overhead cams, a three-stage variable intake system and dual continuously variable valve timing.

The high revving V6 has a peak power of 6,400 rpm, just shy of redline. With 200 pound-feet at 1,500 rpm, it’s quite torquy at low revs, compared to Hyundai’s former V6 engines. The six speed automatic transmission is smooth on shifts.

The driving character of the Azera is responsive and it will exceed the expectations of most drivers. It’s easygoing enough to compete with the Avalon and the LaCrosse. There’s a Shiftronic manual mode on the transmission, but it’s responsive in “drive” with a wide ratio spread for laid back highway cruising or quick take-offs.

The overall competence of the Azera is impressive, from the swift acceleration to the good fuel economy, from the optimal ride, to the comfortable handling. There’s none of the floaty feel typically associated with larger sedans. It’s just an overall excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable and upscale large sedan.

Safety

2016 Hyundai Azera

2016 Hyundai Azera

In a modern automobile, safety is a primary concern. The 2016 Hyundai Azera has safety covered with a capital S. The model features a whopping nine standard airbags. There is a driver’s knee airbag, two front, four front-and-rear side-impact and two side-curtain airbags. This advanced safety system will help to ensure survival in the most dire of circumstances.

The package also includes blind spot monitors featuring lane change assist and cross-traffic alert at the rear. Other sophisticated features include rear parking sensors and Forward Collision Warning,

The 2016 Hyundai Azera has been rated highly by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS. The model was given top marks in impact testing and roof strength, with the roof tackling nearly five times its weight. Even though it has not been subjected to all tests and cannot be named a Top Safety Pick + for this reason, the Azera is clearly a car for those with exacting needs when it comes to safety features.

Summary

The Azera is Hyundai’s hidden secret – a luxury-appointed car without the higher price of the new Genesis brand. Refined and mature but never stuffy, the Azera is a smart purchase for the long-term, suitable for business meetings and long distance travel alike. Come in for a test drive of the 2016 Hyundai Azera, and experience what a luxury vehicle should feel like.