The Hyundai Grandeur, better known as Hyundai Azera, is an E-segment or full-size executive car produced by Hyundai for five generations since 1986 to the present. During the first two generations, it was Hyundai’s flagship for the lineup in its home market, replaced in 1996 by the Dynasty. When Hyundai exported it to the United States as the Azera, it became the flagship model of Hyundai's US lineup as well until the introduction of the Hyundai Genesis.
First Generation: L (1986–1992)
In the early ‘80s, Hyundai attempted to enter the luxury car market, but its efforts did not prosper due to the stiff competition from Daewoo. This attempt, however, resulted in the production of the first-generation Grandeur. Instead of designing its own luxury vehicle, Hyundai borrowed Mitsubishi Debonair’s platform, engine, and technology.
As the Debonair also badly needed an updating at the time, Mitsubishi agreed to the co-development project. The result of this joint project was the Hyundai Grandeur, a front-engined front-wheel-drive sedan, which Mitsubishi also marketed in Japan as the Mitsubishi Debonair V.
The Grandeur enjoyed market success in Korea, but the Debonair V was not as competitive in Japan. Hyundai produced over 120,000 units of this generation.
Second Generation: LX (1992–1998)
The second generation, called New Grandeur, was again Debonair-based. Mitsubishi developed the powertrain, while Hyundai took care of the body design and trims. The New Grandeur was powered by V6 engines, with four capacities offered. As in the previous generation, it was well-received in Korea. Its Mitsubishi sibling, meanwhile, had the same bland reception it had in the prior release.
With the Debonair’s failure to ignite reasonable sales in Japan, Mitsubishi discontinued it, prompting the two automakers to co-build another car—the Hyundai Equus (Mitsubishi Dignity in Japan).
Third Generation: XG (1999–2005)
The first two generations of producing rebadged Debonairs were practically a learning experience for Hyundai. With the expertise gained from this venture, Hyundai now developed the third generation from the ground up, the first Grandeur exported to Australia and other international markets.
The model designations were based on the engines. For instance, an XG250 or XG25 refers to the engine 2.5-litre Delta V6, while a model powered by the 3.0-litre Sigma V6 would have the designation XG300 or XG30. There were three other engines offered in other markets, but in Australia, the Grandeur was available only with the 3.0-litre Sigma V6 petrol engine (141 kW, 260 Nm) paired with 5-speed H-Matic automatic throughout the generation. Two trim levels were on offer with the following equipment:
- Base model – dual front airbags, ABS, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, cruise control, CD player, central locking, cloth trim, front fog lights, engine immobiliser, power mirrors/steering/windows, radio cassette with six speakers, seatbelt pretensioners for the front seats, and traction control system
- XG – additional features include automatic AC/climate control, central locking remote control, leather trim, power driver’s seat, and a trip computer
Hyundai produced the XG300 from 2001 to 2003, so although this generation lasted until 2005, it was available in the country up to the 2004 model year only. In markets that received the XG350, the last model year available was 2005.
Fourth Generation: TG (2006–2011)
The fourth-generation Grandeur was a modified XG350, selling as the Hyundai Azera in other markets, North America and China primarily.
Hyundai released the Grandeur TG in Australia with its new 3.8-litre Lambda V6, the largest in the range of engines available, followed by the smallest 2.2-litre CRDi VGT inline-4 diesel unit two years later. Below are the powertrain specs and trim levels sold in the country within the generation.
- CRDi, base model – 2.2-litre CRDi VGT inline-4 diesel engine (114 kW, 343 Nm) mated to a 5-speed H-Matic automatic transmission; standard equipment includes dual-front/head/side airbags, ABS, auto AC/climate control, alarm, 17-inch alloy wheels, brake assist, cruise control, CD with 6-CD stacker, central locking RC, EBD, ESP, front fog lights, engine immobiliser, leather seats, parking distance control rear, power front seats, power mirrors/steering/windows, radio cassette with eight speakers, seatbelt pretensioners, trip computer, and traction control system
- V6, base model – 3.8-litre Lambda V6 petrol engine (194 kW, 348 Nm) mated to 5-speed H-Matic automatic transmission; same equipment as the base CRDi
- Limited Edition – same powertrain as the V6; adds heated front seats, power sunroof, and Xenon headlights to the base model’s standard equipment
The South Korean carmaker continued producing the Grandeur up to the current fifth-generation (Grandeur HG), now widely known as the Hyundai Azera, but no longer sold in Australia.
This generation features Hyundai’s Grand Glide concept, also often referred to as Fluidic Sculpture, and rides on the Y6 platform shared with Kia for mid-size cars. It competes with Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, and Toyota Avalon in the same market segment.
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