Hyundai rolled out a mildly restyled version of the Azera sedan at the Chicago Auto Show this week. We first got a taste of the changes made on the 2011 Azera back in December '09 when Hyundai launched the sedan's South Korean domestic market twin, the Grandeur, in its facelifted form.
The biggest changes to Hyundai's competitor to vehicles such as the Lexus ES350, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Buick LaCrosse and Ford Taurus (or at least those are the cars that Hyundai claims that the Azera rivals) are well hidden under the hood.
Both the 3.3-liter and 3.8-liter V6 engines of the 2011 Azera have been enhanced with the use of Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) that improves engine breathing on the intake and exhaust camshafts for better fuel economy and lower emissions.
The previous versions of the V6 engines only had CVVT on the intake camshaft. Furthermore, both engines benefit from the adoption of a new six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control
The 3.3-liter V6 unit now produces an estimated 250 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 233 lbs.-ft. at 4,500 rpm of torque, up from 234 hp and 226 lb-ft in the 2010 model. With this engine, the 2011 Azera returns an estimated 20 mpg city / 29 mpg highway (2010MY: 18mpg and 26mpg respectively).
The larger 3.8-liter V6 churns out 272 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm, while returning 18 mpg city / 28 mpg highway. The 2010 Azera's 263HP 3.8-liter V6 returned 17mpg city and 26mpg highway.
As with the KDM Grandeur, the cosmetic tweaks on the 2011 Azera are minimal. The most noticeable exterior updates concern the reshaped front bumper, new headlamps with LED surround accent lighting, new chrome grille and round foglights.
The redesigned LED taillights and restyled bumper with integrated chrome tailpipes and a matching decklid at the back along with the revised exterior mirrors and the new designs for the alloy wheels complete the list of exterior updates.
Inside, changes are limited to a new brushed metalgrain finish applied to the gear shift indicator area, cup holder cover, ashtray cover and center console cover.
The refreshed Azera will go on sale across the nation in Spring 2010.