Tue, 05 September 2023
The 2024 Hyundai Azera is a luxury sedan with distinctive modernity, arriving fresh off the production line with high-quality and exclusive features, providing ample luxury at a lower cost than many of its counterparts. Kristian Harrison took it for a spin to find out more.
Hyundai has been killing it in the design department as of late, and the latest generation of the Azera is no exception. It has long been established as Hyundai’s flagship sedan, but never before has it looked and felt this good, paying homage to its predecessors but redefining it with modern touches.
One of the big defining features of the new Azera is the ‘Seamless Horizon Lamp,’ which is a fancy name for an LED lightstrip that runs above the ‘parametric jewel’ grille and headlights but below the bonnet of the car. All this jargon essentially means the Azera has a sleek, ultra-modern look and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest it landed from Space.
The minimalistic sides of the sedan add to this effect, with its pillarless windows and the flush-mounted door handles which pop out conveniently at the push of the unlock button.
Inside, the throwback steering wheel takes its inspiration from the first-generation model’s single-spoke wheel. Physical buttons have been kept a minimum throughout, but I did like the Drive Mode toggle being a button in the centre of the wheel rather than a toggle on the side or near the gear stick.
Behind the wheel, the dashboard features a widescreen digital instrument cluster and there’s also a 12-inch Head-up Display showing a plethora of extra information should you need it.
It’s hard not to feel wrapped by the ambient lighting that spans from the lower edges of the door trims and front dashboard. The layout of the dash allows for a large screen to span from the driver’s view and into the 12.3-inch infotainment panel which transitions into an interactive lighting section that flows into the passenger side of the dash. Below the centre panel is another 10.25-inch touchscreen purely for climate control and other air conditioning options.
As for materials, there are some patterns that appear throughout the interior that Hyundai says are traditionally Korean, along with plenty of lines, flourishes and large swathes of Nappa leather.
The first few minutes of my experience on the road with the Azera was a cacophony of sensors and noises pinging at me from all directions. Whether it was Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance, Safe Exit Assist, Steering Assist … there’s a lot of ‘avoidance’ involved. With the track record that Bahrain’s roads have, you may want to turn these on and off to your own desires as there are some occasions where these assists can be almost too helpful. In particular, Lane Keeping Assist fights against you turning the wheel to change lane when sometimes a quick manoeuvre is needed.
The drive itself is lovely, though. Slipping into Sport mode (it would be remiss not to!), the 3.5-litre GDi engine belches out 295hp and 359Nm of torque to really propel you down the road with only the slightest of delays after pressing the accelerator.
The suspension and noise-cancelling cabin creates a smooth, comfortable ride and coupled with the panoramic sun roof, wide windows and advanced features at the luxurious touch of a screen, this is another stark reminder that Hyundai is on top form.
For more information, visit the First Motors Hyundai showroom in Ma’ameer or call 17 121-121.