What will change? Styling and features. Azera is the smaller than Hyundai’s other two large sedans – the Genesis and Equus — and it’s the only one that’s front-wheel drive. Expect the 2015 Azera to receive updated front and rear fascias. It also will likely benefit from the next generation of Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics and infotainment system, which is slated to make its debut on the redesigned 2015 Genesis.
Why wait for the 2105 Hyundai Azera: To see if Hyundai not only improves the Azera’s styling and available convenience features but also its driving dynamics. Though offered with a number of high-end appointments at a reasonable-for-the-class price, the car received criticism for its poor balance of ride and handling. Hopefully engineers will address these concerns. It might also be prudent to wait and see if Hyundai adds more of the safety features buyers are expecting from this type of vehicle. Items such as blind-spot alert and forward-collision warning are not available on the current Azera. This puts the car at a disadvantage against other similarly priced large sedans, including the Kia Cadenza, which borrows its drivetrain and other elements of its basic platform from the Azera.
Why buy a 2014 Hyundai Azera: Because the current car’s ride is not bothersome to you, and you’re content with its styling as-is. Azera will stand pat for 2014 in advance of its planned 2015 freshening. This is the only sedan in Hyundai’s lineup to offer front-wheel drive and a V-6 engine. The smaller Sonata is four-cylinder only while the larger Genesis is rear drive. Azera has a surprisingly high level of standard equipment, and the lone option package brings a number of convenience items that used to be the purview of luxury sedans costing thousands more.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Styling Azera should continue to follow Hyundai’s trademark “fluidic sculpture” design theme, but it hopefully will receive more upscale treatment to help distinguish itself from the more mainstream Sonata. Right now, at least from the front, it’s rather difficult to tell the two cars apart.
Mechanical Azera’s engine and transmission combination will likely carry over to 2015 with no changes. All models will use a 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s unlikely Hyundai will borrow the Sonata’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine as a less-expensive and/or potentially more fuel efficient alternative.
Fuel Economy Any styling tweaks Hyundai does for the 2015 Azera have the potential to improve aerodynamics and, thus, fuel economy. However, don’t expect anything groundbreaking over the 2014 models’ EPA ratings of 19/29/23 city/highway/combined.
Features Azera should return in a single, well-equipped trim level. Standard amenities will include leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, power front seats, rearview camera, navigation system, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth cell-phone connectivity, and Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics. The lone factory option will be a Technology Package that includes 19-inch wheels (18s are standard), a panoramic sunroof, xenon headlights, rear-obstacle detection 14-speaker sound system, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, driver-seat memory, ventilated front seats, an adjustable thigh support for the driver seat, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side window sunshades, and interior ambient lighting. The only standalone extras will come in the form of dealer-installed accessories, so this car is very much an “all or nothing” proposition.
Prices Expect the 2015 Hyundai Azera to continue to fill the price gap between the smaller Sonata and larger Genesis sedans. Azera will likely start at about $34,000, including destination fee. The Technology Package will add another $4,000.
Competitors Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Maxima, Toyota AvalonHyundai Azera Photo Gallery