While the demise of the fifth-generation Hyundai Azera was all but guaranteed with the introduction of the new Genesis luxury brand a few years ago, the Hyundai Grandeur sedan the Azera was based off of continued into a sixth-generation model in other markets around the world. Now with more competition from the growing Genesis and Ioniq brands, is there any room for the Azera to return to the U.S. based on the awesome looks of the new Hyundai Grandeur concept? We hope so.
Even if you’re vaguely familiar with the Hyundai Grandeur’s history, you can see that the first generation version plays a huge role in the inspiration of this seventh-generation concept. The original Grandeur was a borrowed second-generation Mitsubishi Debonair copy to compete against Daewoo’s Imperial, which itself was based on an Opel Senator A.
You can see that the rear quarter windows between the C- and D-pillars draw inspiration from that original 1986-1992 body, but are modernized to give the seventh-gen Grandeur a sportier character. The recessed door handles are another homage, and the bodyline that’s just below the windows absolutely recalls that first Grandeur with a very similar looking line lower on the body. The black body trim just above the door’s lower lines of the first generation are recalled by a similar black trim line that stretches from the front bumper to rear, now much lower on the seventh-gen concept.
The hood lines are also very similar to the first-gen Grandeur with its centralized bulge and squared-off fender line. With a bit of imagination, you could even say the modern, thin strip of LEDs on the rear fascia—called the “Seamless Horizon Lamp” inspired “by the first light of dawn”—is also a callback to the original tail light design of the 1986-1989 model.
Inside, the Grandeur is spacious and defines what a luxury interior should be. You’ll feel wrapped by the ambient lighting that spans from the lower edges of the door trims and front dashboard. The layout of the dash allows for a large screen to span from the driver’s view and into the infotainment section, which transitions into an interactive lighting section that flows into the passenger side of the dash.
The HVAC vents also flow into the dashboard’s lower section to provide an uninterrupted design between the starter button to the rightmost portion of the dashboard. Controlling the climate inside the Grandeur is a touch panel control that’s tilted to give the occupants an easy view of those controls while also transitioning into the center console. All of the surfaces are made from real wood, aluminum, and Nappa leather that’s been quilted into a traditional Korean pattern, according to Hyundai. Along with the sustainable dyes in the leather, the touchpoints in the Grandeur’s Nappa surfaces have a hygienic, anti-bacterial treatment.
As another callback to the first-gen Grandeur, the steering wheel has the look of the single spoke design by having a deep cut between the left and right spokes, where the driver assist, dash, and radio controls are housed. The Drive Mode select button lives on the lower portion of the large central spoke while a four-light LED indicator is situated on the steering wheel’s axis of rotation. Unlike many other Hyundai models, the gear selector is moved to a stalk on the steering column in order to give more room to place your stuff in the center console, which features a wireless charging station for mobile devices.
The most significant modern departure from the original look is the front fascia, which follows the current trend of redefining what a headlight is and where it’s positioned on the nose. The Seamless Horizon LED light on the concept also spans across the nose and defines the front edge of the hood. Just below it are a pair of LED pods that would most likely serve as the true frontal lighting, similar to how BMW now does their front headlights on their latest sedans and SUVs, er, “SAVs. “
Between those openings for those light pods is a large expanse of a diamond-shaped pattern that forms the grille of the seventh-gen Grandeur. All of these frontal features would indicate that this new Grandeur might not be an EV in this concept. First, it doesn’t have any of the pixelated features that Hyundai’s current Ioniq EVs have, and that grille setup and size of the front end area would indicate the engineering is there for a radiator.
Once upon a time, MotorTrend appreciated the Hyundai Azera as a 2006 Car of the Year Finalist saying: “It’s not Lexus that GM should worry about. It’s these guys,” and that sentiment still rings true today. From the looks of this new Grandeur design, it would be a real shame to not see a grand return of the Azera using this concept.
If this concept becomes a reality as a combustion model, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it share much of the same powertrain layout as the 2023 Genesis G80 sedan. If it comes to the U.S., we’d imagine it would also end up with the 2.5 liter turbocharged I-4 as a RWD or AWD and the 3.5 liter twin turbo V-6 in AWD. Though, that shouldn’t totally rule out an all-electric version similar to the G80 Electric. Still, given the space already carved out for the Genesis brand in the U.S., and all this talk of electrification, it doesn’t seem like there’s room for another big luxury sedan, and a Hyundai representative confirmed to MotorTrend in an email that there are currently no plans for it to ship here.
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