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2012 Hyundai Azera Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Hyundai Azera was new.


Performance: 7.0

Reviewers agree that the 2012 Hyundai Azera’s powerful new engine and refined automatic transmission make it stand out in the affordable large car segment. However, some say that the Azera’s ride quality and steering could be better.

  • "Heading out onto wide, flat Nevada Highway 160 east out of Pahrump back toward Las Vegas, I immediately realized that the new Azera is way better to drive than the old car, too." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Despite the presence of 293 horses, each driver in our group declared, ‘Needs more power!’ within minutes of getting behind the wheel. Which is not to say it doesn't have enough power for Azera owners. It just doesn't have enough power for us; try not to confuse the two." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Out in the real world, the Azera is proof positive that Hyundai has made strides -- albeit small ones -- to improve chassis dynamics." -- Motor Trend 
  • "While its performance is commendable, what's impressive is its behavior on the highway. The engine revs smoothly to redline, and the cabin stays remarkably quiet, even at speeds above 80 mph." -- Road and Track  

Acceleration and Power

Although some critics ding the 2012 Azera’s handling, most agree that its powertrain is extremely competitive among affordable large cars. The Azera earns points for its powerful V6 and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Many also comment that the front-wheel drive Azera doesn’t have any issues with torque steer, which can be a common trait in front-wheel drive cars.

Unlike the 2011 model, only one engine is available in the 2012 Azera: a 3.3-liter V6 that generates 293 horsepower. According to the EPA, the 2012 Hyundai Azera gets 20/28 mpg city/highway. Those ratings make the Azera competitive with cars like the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300, but if you want great fuel economy, be sure to check out less powerful hybrid rivals like the Buick LaCrosse eAssist.

  • "Torque steer (that tug of the steering wheel that you sometimes feel in a powerful front-wheel-drive car when you accelerate hard) isn't an issue, and acceleration from 50 to 90 mph is strong, sure, and sweet, and the engine even sounds good, never strained." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "The only available powertrain in the Azera is a 3.3-liter V-6 lashed to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shifting mode and steering-wheel-mounted paddles. It's smooth and quiet, revs willingly if not lustily, and shifts almost imperceptibly." -- Car and Driver 
  • "At the test track, the smooth 24-valve engine and seamless six-speed automatic collaborated to deliver 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds at 94.0 mph, placing the Azera behind the Acura (6.2, 14.6 at 96.9) and Lexus (6.3, 14.7 at 97.6), which means the dominance on paper didn't translate to the pavement." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The Azera jumps off the line commendably, with a chirp from the front P245/45R-18 tires. The 6-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox offered, performs smooth and quick upshifts." -- Road and Track 
  • "As impressive as the acceleration can be, the six-speed automatic is the real star of the driveline. Shifts are imperceptibly smooth and well timed. The gearbox is perfect for a vehicle designed to lure older, more affluent buyers out of their Lexus and onto the Hyundai floor." -- Autoblog 

Handling and Braking

With the 2012 Azera just hitting the streets, reviewers seem to have mixed opinions on how the new affordable large car handles. Some say that the suspension strikes a good balance between comfort and sport; while others counter that the Azera handles bumps and road imperfections with less poise than they’d like. Some also call the Azera’s steering system into question, saying that although it’s direct, they’d like more road feel.

  • "The steering is direct, if still a little artificial in feel." -- Automobile Magazine 
  • "Struts with coil springs and a multilink independent rear setup team with disc brakes and standard ABS to provide a driving experience just as composed as that of any current Ford Taurus/Buick LaCrosse/Toyota Avalon sedan we've sampled recently." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The ride, while not as coddling as that of an ES, comes across about as firm as a TL's and strikes a nice balance between luxury and sport, though over coarse pavement it's still a bit busy." -- Motor Trend 
  • "That said, ride quality is super smooth, with compliant shocks and springs adequately soaking up road irregularities." -- Road and Track 
  • "The large sedan manages road imperfections with less poise than its competitors, and the fuel-saving electric power steering system makes for a palpably inorganic connection between car and driver." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "The 2012 Azera is blessed with a confident enough brake pedal, however, and a ride that's soft enough to be comfortable without straying too far into marshmallow territory." -- Autoblog 
  • "The Azera's steering is excellent on the road, with direct, firm feedback and hinting at its overboosted, numb past only at a walking speed in parking lots." -- MSNBC 

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