2013 Hyundai Azera review: And the highway mileage is…

2013 Hyundai Azera

2013 Hyundai Azera

One doesn’t expect many changes the second year of a new generation of car model, and one’s expectations would be fully met with the 2013 Hyundai Azera. The second generation of the Azera debuted last year and, well, there’s precious little different between last year’s and this. Well, actually none.

Which overall is a good thing, because we were pleased when we first drove the 2012 Hyundai Azera. (Read our first drive review here). But we were looking to spend more time with the Azera to confirm—or deny—the conclusions of that first look.

2013 Hyundai Azera

The 2013 Hyundai Azera is loaded with soft-touch surfaces. (click to enlarge)

Did someone say “more time”? How about a road trip? With four adults, including a tall one in the back seat? And why not especially a road trip to validate Hyundai’s EPA estimated highway mileage of 29 mpg?

Indeed.

Three hundred and fifty miles, each way, almost all highway from 55 to 65 mph statutory speeds (and non-reportable actual speeds). And with no special hypermiling efforts made, just good old civilian driving.

Our road trip 2013 Hyundai Azera was equipped as was our first-drive Azera, with the standard (and only available engine), a 3.3-liter direct injection V-6, rated at 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed transmission with manual shifting is standard, as is Hyundai’s “Active Eco” system.

2013 Hyundai Azera center stack

The 2013 Hyundai Azera center stack controls have a quality feel and are easy to use. (click to enlarge)

Active Eco is Hyundai’s name for recalibrating throttle response—the accelerator has to move more to input—and modifying the transmission shift map so the transmission shifts up earlier. It’s similar to the “Eco button” of other makes, and it’s mostly what a careful driver could do without the button. And it has little effect at constant highway speed because throttle response isn’t a significant factor, nor is shifting up early because, well, the car’s in top gear. Can we have a “duh” from the Amen Choir?

Speaking of the Amen Choir, the back seat passengers appreciated the panoramic sunroof. It brightened the interior and made the back seat less cave-like, but also was sufficiently tinted that even in bright sunlight we didn’t have to close the sunshade. The back seat has a remarkable amount of legroom, the cushions comfortable and at a good height and with generous headroom. Large rear doors make entry and exit easy.

With the front seats, one should expect that, even if some don’t. Nor does the 2013 Hyundai Azera  disappoint. The driver’s seat in our test Azera, which came with the $4,000 Technology Package, even had a “driver’s seat cushion extension”: One of the adjustments for the driver’s power seat is additional thigh support, with the front of the seat extending further at the push of a button. Seat adjustment is by moving openly visible bas relief button on the upper front door panel, rather than on the side of the seat button, where it’s operated by Braille.

2013 Hyundai Azera

2013 Hyundai Azera (click to enlarge)

Some of the driving was after dark, and we appreciated the interior accent lighting. It’s mostly just decorative, but who says there’s anything wrong with decorations. Our two-tone gray-over-camel interior, neatly sculpted, was easy on the eyes in the daylight.

And trunk room? It’s officially 16.3 cubic feet, but nothing’s lost to odd contours. We packed lightly but carried A Lot Of Stuff, but we weren’t short on trunk room.

We complained about the ride of the previous-generation 2011 Hyundai Azera in our review, which we believed had used a traditional American sedan ride as its bogey. And hit its mark. We said, “The 2011 Hyundai Azera is one of the most softly sprung and damped cars since the Mercury Grand Marquis.” That’s not a compliment, expect of course for those who like that kind of ride. Our 2013 test Hyundai Azera, however, felt like there was a layer of velour between it and the road. All the highway harshness has been dialed out, and the road noise eliminated as well.