It will live on in Asian markets as the Grandeur.
Say goodbye to the Hyundai Azera, at least in the United States. The Korean automaker’s official word on changes for the 2018 model year include a revamped Accent and Elantra GT, not to mention the all-new Kona compact crossover. Other familiar models either carry over or receive modest facelifts, except for the full-size Azera sedan which officially exits the U.S. market. The car isn’t dead, however – it will continue on in its home market where it’s called Grandeur.
The move isn’t exactly surprising, as Azera sales in the U.S. have declined steadily in recent years. The current generation debuted in 2011, but after peaking in 2013 with just over 11,000 sold units the Azera entered a freefall. Even a modest facelift in 2015 couldn’t help the sedan regain momentum, selling just 5,539 models that year and less than 5,000 for 2016. Considering Azera competitors like the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon generally sell that many cars in a month, Hyundai’s decision to pull the Azera from American shores doesn’t really require an explanation.
There’s also the manufacturer’s upscale Genesis brand to consider. While the Azera was never a proper sport sedan, it did offer an upscale feel with plenty of options and a touch of luxury. By comparison, the base model Genesis G80 sedan has a starting price in the neighborhood of the Azera Limited, while offering similar features and superior all-around performance. In a segment that’s already packed and competitive, it could be easily argued that a new 2018 Azera would’ve simply been lost in the crowd despite a handsome redesign that will befall its Asian-market Grandeur twin.
With the Azera gone, the Hyundai Sonata inherits the role of top sedan in the manufacturer’s lineup. It’s a bit smaller in stature and lacks the Azera's glitz, but it has a refreshed look for 2018 along with a host of new options, including an eight-speed automatic transmission. For those who don't mind downsizing a bit, we found the Elantra Sport to be an entertaining machine to drive. Between these models and the G80, we suspect the Azera won’t be missed.