What Changed for 2008:
- Suspension enhancements improve ride, handling
- GLS model gets 17-inch alloy wheels, body-colored rocker panels
- GLS Premium package includes leather and heated front seats, sunroof
- Limited models get side-mirror turn signals, power moonroof
- Infinity stereo standard on Limited models
- LG navigation system optional on Limited model
- SE model discontinued
Hyundai's flagship sedan until the 2009 Genesis arrives in mid-year 2008, the full-size, front-drive Azera sedan has a choice of V-6 engines, a large trunk (16.6 cubic feet) and amenities usually found on luxury models. It has more interior passenger room than the Toyota Avalon, Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 7 Series sedans, Hyundai says. The cabin measures up with 44 inches of front legroom and more than 38 inches of rear legroom. The safety lineup includes eight air bags and standard stability control, and the car comes with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Introduced in 2006 as a replacement for the XG350, the 193-inch Azera typifies Hyundai's emphasis on above-class value. With its 4-wheel independent suspension (double-wishbone up front and a double-link rear set-up) and its reliance on high-tensile steel, the Azera offers a rigid ride with improved handling for 2008, the manufacturer says. Suspension upgrades include revalved twin-tube, gas-charged dampers, softer bushings and a quicker steering rack. With front and rear stabilizer bars and standard 17-inch wheels and tires, Hyundai claims that the Azera's in-corner ride feel is improved.
The Hyundai Azera is now sold in two trim levels (GLS and Limited), as the SE was dropped for 2008. All Azeras for 2008 come equipped with standard projector front headlights, fog lights, chrome door handles, and a dual-level console storage box.
The base GLS includes steering-wheel audio controls; dual-zone automatic air conditioning; driver and front-passenger power seats; and wood and metal interior trim pieces. The GLS is offered in beige or gray cloth upholstery, while the Limited gets either beige, gray or black leather seats (optional on the GLS). The GLS features an AM/FM/XM stereo with a CD/MP3 player and a 4-channel, 172-watt amplifier and 6 speakers. It comes with 17-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels. The auto-dimming rear mirror includes the HomeLink feature. A power tilt and sliding sunroof is a stand-alone option. The GLS Premium package adds leather, heated seats and a sunroof.
The Azera Limited gets a 10-speaker Infinity 7-channel, 315-watt amplifier with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer. It also includes leather seats; heated front seats; power rear sunshade; power sunroof; and electroluminescent gauges. The Limited Ultimate package adds a 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 stereo; power tilt and slide sunroof; tilt and telescopic steering wheel; power-adjustable pedals; and a woodgrain steering wheel.
Propelling the 2008 Azera GLS is an all-aluminum V-6 engine, which makes 234 hp and 226 lb.-ft. of torque. It is built with dual-overhead camshafts (DOHC), Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) for even power distribution, and a Variable Intake System (VIS) that improves standing-start and passing performance, Hyundai says. According to EPA estimates, the GLS V-6 engine with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission gets 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The Azera Limited carries an all-aluminum 3.8-liter V-6 engine. This DOHC motor generates 261 hp and 257 lb.-ft. of torque. It also gets CVVT and VIS technology, and comes paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with a Shiftronic manual-shifting feature. Gas mileage estimates from the EPA are 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway.
All 2008 Hyundai Azera models come equipped with electronic stability control, traction control, eight air bags, and active front headrests. The anti-lock brake system includes Brake Assist, which boosts braking response in a panic stop, and electronic brake-force distribution, which provides stable stopping despite changing vehicle load conditions. An anti-theft engine immobilizer and remote keyless entry with an alarm are standard.
The Azera earned a \"Good\" rating-the top rating available-from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in its frontal-offset crash test, and earned an \"Acceptable\" rating in the side-impact test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2008 Azera 4 out of 5 stars for both the driver and front passenger in its frontal crash test. In the side crash test, early-release 2008 Azera models earned a perfect 5 stars for front-seat protection but only 4 stars for rear-seat protection. In a subsequent test of a later-release 2008 Azera, the rear-seat passenger rating in side crash tests was upgraded to 5 stars. The Azera also received a 4-star rollover rating from the NHTSA.
A newly available option on the 2008 Hyundai Azera (as well as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Veracruz crossover SUVs) is an LG touch-screen navigation system. It comes packaged with a 12-speaker, 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 surround-sound stereo. Millions of points of interest, ranging from restaurants to gas stations to ATM machines, are within reach of the guidance system via audio or visual prompts.