2015 Hyundai Azera road test: New features abound in mid-life upgrade

2015 Hyundai Azera Limited

2015 Hyundai Azera Limited

The 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited has a lot of new features, but you might not notice any of them if one should cross your path.

Unless you are an owner, an employee of the South Korean manufacturer or a hard-core fan, you likely will not lock onto the redesigned grille, the new front and rear fascia, or the LED fog lights on the top-of-the-line Limited model.

Certainly, you will not notice the standard blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert, lane assist, illuminated door sill plates, hands-free trunk opener, 8-inch color LCD navigation display or the new center stack.

Hyundai Azera instrument panel

Hyundai Azera instrument panel

Why the many new features? Well, it’s time for this Hyundai’s mid-life upgrade. The second-generation Azera is now three years old and the manufacturer wants prospective buyers to know there is more to like about this comfortable, full-size sedan.

There’s more to pay, too. The top-of-the-line 2015 Azera Limited, which now has the full list of Azera amenities as standard equipment, retails for $39,220, about $2,000 more than the fully equipped Azera I drove in 2012. However, for a few thousand dollars less you can get the base Azera, which is also pretty well equipped.

Anyway, the Hyundai Azera is a competitor for the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Buick LaCrosse and, of course, the Azera’s corporate cousin, the Kia Cadenza.

The heart of the Azera is the carry-over 3.3-liter, direct-injected V-6 engine that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. It can vault the Hyundai from a stop to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. The EPA estimates average fuel mileage at 20 mpg around town and 29 mpg on the open road. I averaged about 23 mpg in a week of driving on mostly level roads.

Hyundai Azera front seats

Hyundai Azera front seats

As I noted in an earlier review, the term sporty does not apply to Azera or any of its competitors. This Hyundai is a road-trip specialist, good for eating up miles of interstate with its occupants comfortably ensconced in the quiet interior.

Turn on to a road less traveled, and you won’t want to do battle with a BMW 3 Series sedan. But, the Azera does not shame itself, either. Its independent suspension — MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup at the rear — provides a smooth and comfortable ride and it tracks well around sharp bends. Add power rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes and the driving dynamics are good enough to handle the lefts and rights, ups and downs without any unexpected drama.

Included, in addition to the new-for-2015 standard features of the Hyundai Azera, are leather seating surfaces, panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, power heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seat-bottom cushions, HD radio capability, satellite radio availability, a navigation system with voice command recognition and a 550-watt, 14-speaker surround sound audio system.

Hyundai Azera rear seats

Hyundai Azera rear seats

The Blue Link telematics system provides remote access to the sedan, emergency assistance, theft recovery, and teen-driver controls such as a curfew alert, excessive speed alert and notification when the automobile goes beyond pre-determined boundaries.

In addition to new safety features for 2015, the Azera Limited has a full complement of airbags and side curtains, antilock brakes with traction control and stability control, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and frontal collision warning.

The 2015 Hyundai Azera Limited is a more complete automobile than the one that was introduced three years ago. The driving experience remains basically the same, but the additional features make it a safer and more luxurious automobile.

See complete specifications on next page.