2008 Hyundai Azera


$3,200 - $3,777

2008 Hyundai Azera Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Hyundai Azera was new.


Performance: 7.6

Most reviewers find the Azera driving experience enjoyable, with adequate acceleration, sure braking and comfortable handling. New Car Test Drive calls the Azera "more fun and rewarding" to drive than most of the competition in its class.

Edmunds says the Azera has "poise and refinement that belies its modest price tag," while Kelley Blue Book likes the overall performance of the Azera, noting the sweet sound the engine makes that "perfectly matches its response."

Acceleration and Power

The Azera Limited has a V6 engine that makes 263 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 263 lb-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Edmunds calls this engine "surprisingly smooth," and notes that it has "some scoot." Road and Track agrees, calling the engine "smooth and well muted" and "quite quick, able to spin its front wheels on take-off and propel the car to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds." Our own U.S News reviewer Rick Newman was surprised by the Azera's acceleration "which responds instantly and precisely to my abrupt commands," providing a "very crisp and rapid lane change."

The Azera engine uses Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT), which helps the cylinders breathe more efficiently at both low and high rpms. "The engine is an excellent size for the car, producing solid power without sucking down gas," says CNET, who also calls the Azera engine "very modern."

The 2008 Hyundai Azera Limited is offered with a five-speed automatic transmission, with overdrive, shift interlock and SHIFTRONIC®, which allows tap up-and-down manual shifting of the automatic transmission. USA Today calls the match up of transmission to engine as "good in Azera as Hyundai's ever done," with programming and personality to match, and quick and smooth shifting with little lag or stumble. The Kansas City Star agrees, noting the strong acceleration and the match between engine smoothness and automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually when the driver desires.

Most reviews say that the Azera provides adequate fuel economy in comparison to cars of its class. EPA mileage estimates for the five-speed automatic base Azera 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway.  The Limited is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Our own U.S News reviewer Rick Newman calls the fuel economy for the Azera "modest", and Forbes  agrees, finding the fuel economy average among midsize, V6-powered sedans. The Azera only requires regular unleaded gasoline. 

Handling and Braking

Generally, the Azera's handling is seen as lively and secure, though a number of reviews find some negatives. Car and Driver notes that although the Azera is a front wheel drive car, "there's almost no evidence of that fact in the driving experience." With zero torque steer and no inside wheel spin with cornering, they say "you leave wondering exactly where the engine puts down its power." The car is responsive, though not razor sharp. New Car Test Drive calls the handling "nicely balanced" and the steering "sure and precise," and Kelley Blue Book finds the Azera "agile to maneuver." 

While some test drivers note the Azera's smooth and comfortable ride, others argue that the suspension is slightly harsh. The Azera comes with a fully independent suspension with front double wishbones with coil springs and a multi-link rear suspension. AutoWeek says the suspension is "soft and comfortable," which is typical of many competitive cars in this class. The suspension focuses on providing a smooth ride, and Car and Driver recognizes it as "supple without being floaty"  Road and Track agrees, finding the suspension clearly tuned "with comfort in mind but nary a hint of float." Kelley Blue Book raises a few issues with the suspension, calling it "a little bouncy and a little harsh," rather than smooth. Chicago Tribune agrees to an extent, adding that the Azera provides a "smooth, although occasionally bouncy ride." The Washington Post was among those least impressed with the Azera's handling, calling it "the softest, most ambling car I've driven since being behind the wheel of a 1996 Buick Park Avenue," and adding that it is "squishy and drift-prone."

Most reviews find the Azera brakes confident and strong. The Azera is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes with an Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake Force Distribution. In addition, the standard Brake Assist feature provides additional braking power when faced with a sudden stop. Edmunds notes that during a full test of the Azera, the car stopped from 60 mph in 118 feet, "impressive for a sedan that weighs close to 2 tons." MSN agrees that stopping distances are short in the Azera, but they note that the brake pedal feels "rather touchy and could use a more linear action." On the negative side, Edmunds auto writers report that during a track test, the car showed "significant brake fade," which can impact stopping distances from high speeds or from repeated hard braking over a short period of time.

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