What Changed for 2009:
- 17-inch alloy wheels redesigned
- Chrome grille redesigned, chrome interior accents added
- Blue interior lighting added to all models
- Azera GLS gets electro-luminescent instrument cluster
- Audio system gets larger display screen, adds standard iPod, USB inputs
- 7 new exterior colors offered, including Silk Beige Metallic
With the arrival of Hyundai's flagship sedan, the 2009 Genesis, the front-drive Azera sedan could become an after-thought. Most buyers, however, will note its choice of V-6 engines, a large trunk (16.6 cubic feet) and amenities usually found on more expensive models, and see it as the value choice that it is. 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 leg room and more than 38 inches of rear leg room. The Azera's strong standard safety package includes eight air bags and stability control, and the car comes with a long 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Introduced in 2006 as a replacement for the XG350, the 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 received improved handling in 2008. Suspension upgrades included revalved twin-tube, gas-charged dampers, softer bushings, and a quicker-ratio 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. Upgrades for 2009 are mainly cosmetic with enhanced interior trim pieces, new exterior colors and an improved stereo display.
The Hyundai Azera is sold in two trim levels: GLS and Limited. The SE model was dropped for 2008. All Azeras are 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 features an AM/FM/XM stereo with a CD/MP3 player and a 4-channel, 172-watt amplifier with 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 receives an upgraded 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 Azera Limited with 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. The Limited with Ultimate Navigation package adds an LG navigation system, which replaces the 6-disc CD player.
Motivating the 2009 Azera GLS is an all-aluminum, 3.3-liter V-6 engine, which makes 234 hp and 226 lb.-ft. of torque. It features 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, according to Hyundai. The GLS V-6 engine with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission earns 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway in EPA testing. The Azera Limited carries an all-aluminum 3.8-liter V-6 engine. This DOHC motor generates 263 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 2009 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 2006-2009 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 2009 Azera 4-star ratings for both the driver and front passenger in its frontal crash test. In the side crash test, the 2009 Azera models earned a perfect 5 stars (the highest rating) for front-seat and 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 received a 4-star rollover rating from the NHTSA.
An option on the 2009 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. The navigation system offers drivers access to more than one million points of interest, ranging from restaurants to gas stations to ATM machines, according to Hyundai. All are easily accessed via audio or visual prompts.