By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
No ifs, ands or buts; the 2016 Hyundai Azera represents an outstanding value in a mid-range luxury car. It looks great, it’s clearly luxurious, it delivers suitable performance, it brings a full list of high-end features and it even feels bucks-up. But its price is undeniably bucks-down, more appropriate for the vast mid-range. Tell us that’s not an outstanding deal. The stunning exterior, crafted interior and extensive feature content look like money; is it a BMW or Lexus competitor? Maybe not quite. But the price fits a Nissan Maxima or Toyota Camry; is that where it goes? Maybe above that. It might lack the driving gusto of spirited sports sedans, but for those who take the luxury and save the money, it motors just fine.
The 2016 Azera shakes up the oxymoron of luxury-car bargain shopping. It’s got the looks, luxury, performance and features of the higher-end choices, but a price you’d expect on a loaded Camry or Accord. It looks and feels like money, so fool the neighbors and impress your accountant.
If your automotive math says enveloping luxury and enthralling driving are co-equal necessities, the 2016 Azera may not match up to your hard-charging expectations. When the curves come up, it’s not a Bimmer or Audi but then it doesn’t claim to be. Perhaps you should explore other choices.
KBB Expert Ratings
The already loaded Hyundai Azera has few changes for 2016. The upper-end Limited model adds Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start and an Electronic Parking Brake. That’s it.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera looks luxury and drives luxury. While not a sports car, it is doubtful many of its likely satisfied owners will find much to dislike. It gets...
... down the road with a noticeably strong V6 of 293 horsepower that’s matched to a genuinely commendable 6-speed automatic transmission, so off the line, squirting through traffic and hauling the highway will be a piece of driving cake. But not so much if enthusiastic cornering is your idea of frosting on that cake. In the aggressive modes, the electric power steering will feel disappointingly vague, bumps in the middles of those corners will be unsettling, and you’ll be inclined to back down the motoring volume to more serene levels. But, as we said, for most drivers, who will be thoroughly in love with the luxury feel, great styling, terrific powertrain and attractive price, why would they care about hustling corners?
The Hyundai Azera for 2016 includes, on the “base” model, a level of standard equipment so long it’s basically like most manufacturers’ high-end offerings. There is even more on the Limited trim level, but nobody in the base version should feel slighted.
Heated front seats are pretty common, but the 2016 Azera goes further with heated and ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats, all as standard.
Look inside the 2016 Azera and, boy howdy, has Hyundai come a long ways from its bargain-basement beginnings. The artful instrument panel has big sweeping shapes, everything is properly located, leatherwork is impeccable, little details – like the way door-mounted functions are nested into the armrests – are very neatly done, the seats are comfortable and supportive, and the level of standard equipment is astounding, especially considering the price. And that’s just the base model; the Limited adds even more. Even the curved arms that support the trunklid disappear into carefully molded receptacles in the trunk lining. It’s all very impressive.
Remove the badges and nobody guesses you paid under 40 grand for the 2016 Azera. The integration of the grille, headlights and lower vents in front shows careful attention to making things fit. Another coordination of lines and surfaces happens in the rear with the taillights and trunklid, and the exhaust outlets nicely repeat the chrome-trimmed theme of the front openings. One slick detail is how a rising crease in the side peaks right through both the front- and rear-door handles to tie things together. You could drop this thing at any valet parking spot in town.
Here’s the short version: The 2016 Hyundai Azera has the most comprehensive list of standard equipment in its price class. Just some of it: Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Assist, Hands-free Smart Trunk Opener, power-folding side mirrors, automatic climate control, rearview camera, power tilt/telescoping steering column, power driver and front-passenger seats, leather, heated front and rear seats, memory for driver’s seat/exterior mirrors/steering column, navigation with 8-inch touch-screen display, AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3 audio, 14-speaker Infinity Logic Surround Sound 550-watt audio system, Bluetooth, illuminated doorsills, front fog lights, heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators and 18-inch wheels.
Adding options to the 2016 Hyundai Azera is easy: For a little over an additional $5,000, select the upper trim level Limited and you get a Panoramic sunroof, HID xenon headlights, LED fog lights, Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start capability, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, automatic high-beam assist, Electronic Parking Brake, rear park assist, power rear sunshade, rear side-window sunshades, 19-inch wheels and tires and interior ambient lighting. Even with destination you’re still right around $40,000, and we have no problem recommending either Azera trim level to those thoughtful buyers among you.
The 2016 Hyundai Azera is offered with only one powertrain and it’s a dandy: a 3.3-liter V6 with direct fuel injection and 293 horsepower matched to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual control and what Hyundai calls Active Eco mode, for optimizing engine and transmission controls for maximum efficiency. The combination delivers generous performance in a very silky and predictable manner and also returns impressive fuel economy, with an EPA highway figure of 29 mpg; considering the engine’s power and the Azera’s clear luxury status, this is commendable indeed.
293 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (Azera), 19/28 mpg (Limited)
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2016 Hyundai Azera luxury sedan is around $35,000, with the Limited model a little over $40,000. By anybody’s scale, this represents a lot of car for the money. Instead of recommending a specific feature or option package, since those things don’t exist with the Azera, we’re just heartily recommending the entire car, in whatever trim level suits your fancy. Check KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price to see what Hyundai Azera buyers are paying in your area. There was a time when Hyundai vehicles did not offer good residual values but those days are pretty much history, thanks in large part to products like the Azera. As such, the 2016 Hyundai Azera is projected to maintain a fully competitive resale value, about even with the Nissan Maxima, slightly behind the Ford Taurus, and a little ahead of the Toyota Avalon. Give it a look.