2006 Hyundai Azera Limited V6 from North America

Summary:

Nice car for the money, with a lot of features found on more expensive cars

Faults:

At 60k miles - Purchased from a private seller. Noticed that the faux mahogany on the steering wheel and driver handle was susceptible to chipping. Previous owner must have had sizable jewelry on.

At 70k miles - Minor oil leakage - my mechanic told me to do regular oil changes and not worry about it, because it would be far more expensive to change out the seals at this point in time.

At 70k - Exterior finish - Shiny faux chrome (paint) started to flake in spots.

At 85k - Right front tire assembly, either the shock or leaf spring, began squeaking when car just hit the road. Goes away after driving for a while.

At 110k miles - Check engine - fuel level sensor lights went bad.

General Comments:

I got a good deal on the car used from a private seller. For the price it came with a lot of options found on more expensive cars, e.g. powered folding heated side mirrors, auto adjusting rear view mirror, rain sensing wipers, and dual power heated seats, just to name a few.

- Exterior: Certainly not a Mustang, but it appealed to this baby boomer.

- Interior appointments: Leather seats are very comfortable. I have tried seats in several other vehicles, like the Escape, CRV, and RAV4 recently, and the Azera ranks above them in comfort and quality.

- Cabin space: Very roomy all around. Seats four very nicely. Three in the back would be a reach though.

- Engine: Lots of power and pickup when called for. People have been surprised at the get up and go when they've driven the car. Does fall a little short of the mark on the miles per gallon rating. Rated at 26/22, I am getting around 22 for all around driving in mixed conditions.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2013

23rd Jan 2014, 07:59

Update 1/2014

Got roughly five years of good service from the Azera. I performed all routine maintenance work e.g. oil changes, cabin filters. Late 2013 / early 2014 it started to show deterioration. Both front CV joints starting to wear, engine noticeably noisier, labored at times, skipping in the new transmission installed in 2010, paint job starting to fade. Summary - if bought new, expect about seven years of run time before you should start thinking of a replacement

2006 Hyundai Azera 3.3 litre V6 petrol from South Africa

Summary:

Rapid, luxurious and large, but no fun

Faults:

Suspension bushes squeaking.

CV joints failed.

Electric seat switch failed.

Brake shudder.

General Comments:

This was my first Hyundai, and by and large, I am satisfied with it. Azeras have poor resale in South Africa, so I picked it up for the equivalent of about USD7500 with 126000 km (78000 miles) on the odo.

Little has gone wrong, save for a failed electric seat switch, worn-out CV joints and incessant (and very irritating) squeaking from the front suspension bushes; something I have also noticed on some other Hyundais. The brakes tend to shudder and are not a match for the brakes I had on the 1989 Audi 500 Turbo I used to own.

The engine has very good power (173 kW), but this is a heavy car, so fuel consumption suffers with the 5-speed autobox. I get 13-14 litres/100 km with lots of city driving, but I have been able to record a best of 7.8 litres/100 km on an easy highway drive at 120 km/h without using the AC.

The 5-speed autobox cannot be hurried and is creamy smooth, but with delayed kickdown, which at least means it does not tend to hunt. Manual override is a true override that will not kick down and improves the gearbox's responses markedly. Pull away is very abrupt and difficult to modulate, especially with the FWD. One keeps on bolting away from standstill with chirping front tyres and the throttle progression is a weak point. I have got the hang of slow starts, but moderate starts still elude me - the wheels will spin embarrassingly easily on a wet road and the traction control then causes significant axle tramp. I am not exaggerating; everyone who drives the car launches off the line like a buffalo late for a stampede the first time they attempt a smooth pull away. It gives a feeling of power, for sure, but it is ultimately irritating.

The chassis somewhat spoils the car too. The suspension is comfortable over large undulations and takes dirt roads fairly well, but minor bump absorption is poor and the ride over broken surfaces jittery. Yet, for all the apparent sportiness in the unyielding low-speed ride, there is significant body lean and loads of understeer, while the suspension is noisy and the wheels tend to thud into depressions, making the car feel heavy-footed and not fun at all. It does not have the depth of ability engineered into the chassis that a good European car has.

The interior is enormous, at the expense of some boot space and everything is electric: steering and seat adjustment, powered folding mirrors, the lot. Auto lights and wipers, and loaded with more luxuries than I care to mention, for a 2006 model car. But the radio is disappointing, with an ugly LCD display and no RDS! The lack of RDS on Hyundais has been driving South Africans crazy for years, and the Azera is no exception.

Servicing and maintenance is reasonable, but some parts prices are preposterous from the local agents. Two rear LEDs have blown and I was quoted on them separately and very cheaply. But it turns out they can quote on them separately but will not sell them separately; you have to buy an entire rear light cluster. Service has not been very good, with technicians apparently a little clueless about the Azera, which is admittedly a rare car in South Africa.

I will buy another Hyundai due to their smart styling, high spec and unmatched warranties, but the Azera failed to connect with me on any emotional level, like my Ford, Audi and VW did.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2013