My wife and I had been driving a 2008 Hyundai Azera for six years, and it was time to replace it. So we started looking for something in the same general class. Hyundai has continued the Azera for 2015, so we put it on the list, along with Lexus, Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Nissan and Infiniti. No Honda products, thank you anyway. Here's what we found.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata smooths out some of the curves of the last two model years, but retains the general body shape. It comes in several trim levels, and the Limited model adds some 'bling' to the outside that emplasizes the car's clean lines.
Dimensionally, the Sonata has grown. It's wheelbase is 1 inch longer than the 08 Azera, it's one inch shorter and one inch wider, has almost two more inches of legroom, and is about 400 pounds lighter.
The inside is quite roomy - some of the best legroom in the class in the back seat. The Limited model has heated seats front AND back, with ventilated driver and passenger seats, which should be very handy in our desert climate. The bolsters and back support the driver and passenger very well, and the adjustable headrest lines up well with my 6 foot 4 frame and my wife's 5 foot 10. You need that adjustability.
The Sonata's engine is a 2.4L 185 HP four, versus the Azera's 3.8L 263HP V-6. That makes it 17.5LB/HP versus the Azera's 13.8Lb/HP. But the tranny gearing offsets the difference enough that you don't feel underpowered - even at 75mph. Did I mention the gas mileage difference?So far, we are experiencing 26mpg overall, with 33.5 on the highway.The 08 Azera got about 19overall and up to (not always) 28 on the highway. That translates to about 30% less to run,and about 150 miles more per tankful on the highway.
The feature differences between the Azera and the Sonata: no power adjusting steering column with memory, power adjustable foot pedals with memory, power folding side mirrors and power rear windshield sunscreen. Of those, I miss the rear windshield sunscreen. It was very useful during summer weather down here. Power folding mirrors are also a very nice option for narrow garages. Maybe in '16?
While Hyundai is considered by many to be an 'Asian import' and not up to the standards of Honda or Toyota, they're selling lots of cars to Americans and also in other countries. I don't know the JD Power and Associates rankings, but Hyundai products do rank high in the reliability and repair studies - including those done right here on True Delta. Our Azera had very few trips to the garage, both under warranty and afterwards. We maintained it according to the schedule, and it gave us excellent service. Can't complain about that!
Overall, we think the Hyundai has upscale content at midscale prices. We looked at Acura, Lexus, Cadillac, Lincoln, Audi and Infiniti used cars. We were able to by a fully optioned new Sonata Limited for about the same money as 2011 or 2012 models of those cars, and we got a new car warranty. That's tough to beat - unless you ego overcomes your sensibility. It has occasionally in the past for me.
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