Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2011 Hyundai Azera If...
If getting the most bang for your buck is more important than the name affixed to your next car’s trunk, the 2011 Hyundai Azera may be your next vehicle. It offers a spacious interior, supple ride and high-end amenities at a value price.
You May Not Like The 2011 Hyundai Azera If...
If you believe status symbols are worth the extra cash, the Azera’s Hyundai logo won’t impress like one from BMW, Mercedes or Cadillac.
For 2011, improvements to both V6 engines provide more power and better fuel economy, while a new six-speed automatic replaces last year’s five-speed unit. Other minor enhancements include revised front and rear fascias, new alloy wheels and the addition of Hyundai’s EZ Lane Change Assist one-touch triple turn signal stalk.
The 2011 Hyundai Azera GLS uses a suede-like seat-surface material that could pass for the real deal and is just as soft to the touch. The Limited Edition adds plush leather seating surfaces and just the right aesthetic touches of wood trim. The cabin is comfortably cozy but has a big, open feeling. The beige interior – beige-on-beige with unexciting vinyl – is not exactly stimulating, but the soft curved shapes of the dash are easy on the eyes and the controls are simple to understand and operate. The rear seat is roomy enough for three, with a 40/60-split seatback that pulls down easily for additional storage. The trunk is huge, with enough room to accommodate a family’s worth of summer vacation luggage or a couple of sets of golf clubs.
Drawing on the increasingly sophisticated Hyundai design lines, the Azera’s profile wouldn’t look out of place in a line-up of more expensive Lexus or Mercedes models. The Azera has look-at-me appeal, with a squared-off rear end and wraparound bank of LED taillights that spell drama, and a front that forms into a stylish V with all lines flowing smoothly. The Azera’s attention to detail can be seen in its smaller design elements, such as the LED accent lighting surrounding the front headlamps, clear lens integrated side mirror turn signals, and the tastefully restrained chrome trim on the grille and rear trunk lid. The form is classic and looks expensive.
The 2011 Hyundai Azera equipped with the 3.8-liter engine has the kind of remarkable acceleration that can get you going quickly and easily. When we found ourselves in a sudden traffic jam, the brakes were strong, sure and precise. The Azera also handled well in parking situations and was agile to maneuver. We thought the suspension, however, was a little bouncy and a somewhat harsh on broken pavement; we also feel that for a near-luxury model the cabin had a bit too much road noise. On the other hand, the visibility is excellent, engine response terrific and we like the manual-shift mode of the automatic.
The 2011 Hyundai Azera GLS’ Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $26,000, while pricing for the Azera Limited starts closer to $31,000. Add in the Navigation Package and Bluetooth, and the price tops out around $33,000. Given its impressive content level, the Azera undercuts comparably-equipped sedans from Buick and Toyota by hundreds to thousands of dollars. Before you set out to purchase, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price for the Azera on kbb.com. The Azera is expected to hold only average resale values, on par with the Chrysler 300 and Buick Lucerne but well below the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima.
The Azera GLS’s impressive list of standard features includes a 3.3-liter DOHC V6 engine with 260 horsepower, six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC manual control, electronic stability control and traction control. Eight airbags, active front head restraints, LED tail and brake lamps and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 capability add to the mix. The Azera Limited receives a 283-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, leather-trimmed seating with heated front seats, a power sunroof, 315-watt Infinity sound system with six-disc in-dash CD changer and 10 speakers, USB/auxiliary audio inputs, power folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, wood trim on the steering wheel, a power rear sunshade and memory for the driver’s seat, mirrors and steering wheel.
The GLS options list includes the Premium Package, which adds leather seating, heated front seats and a power sunroof. The Azera Limited offers the Navigation Package, which adds an Infinity 605-watt Logic 7 Surround Sound audio system combined with an LG navigation unit.
ValueThe Hyundai Azera offers a lot of features and power for not a lot out-of-pocket expense.Power Rear SunshadeOne very interesting and thoughtful feature on the Limited Edition is the rear sunshade that automatically rolls up when the car is in reverse gear, so you can see what’s behind you.
Under the Hood
The standard 3.3-liter V6 may not be as powerful as the available 3.8-liter, but it does offer acceptable levels of performance and smoothness. If you can swing the extra cost, the all-aluminum 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engine, which delivers 283 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque, is the best choice. Both engines use Hyundai’s new Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) and a variable intake system, which helps each cylinder to breathe more efficiently at low and high rpm. They have an alloy block and cylinder heads for light weight and overall efficiency, and is coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, with SHIFTRONIC manual control, that includes a sixth gear for highway cruising. 3.3-liter V6260 horsepower @ 6200 rpm233 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/283.8-liter V6283 horsepower @ 6200 rpm263 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27
Hyundai’s evolution from an entry-level upstart to a full-line manufacturer of quality automobiles is nothing short of amazing, as evidenced by the 2011 Azera. Designed to compete with the Buick Lucerne and Toyota Avalon, the Azera offers a desirable array of features, including a huge rear seat and a choice of two strong V6 engines, all at an unbeatable price. One of the most powerful V6 Hyundai has ever built, the company takes pride in pointing out the Azera Limited equipped with the 3.8-liter engine offers more standard horsepower than the BMW 528i.