hyundai, on October 19, 2022, unveiled the seventh-generation flagship Grandeur sedan with an all-new exterior and interior design that celebrates the nameplate’s heritage and, at the same time, strengthens its readiness for the future. Hyundai is branding the Grandeur as the Azera in markets outside of Korea, and this recently unveiled and bold 7th-generation Grandeur arrives six years after the sixth-generation launched in 2016.
Since its debut in 1986, the Hyundai Grandeur’s innovative features and premium construction have allowed it to remain the apex predator of the sedan car segment in the Korean market. Now, the 4th generation Grandeur has all the same hallmarks to continue that decade-long dominance – bold and refined design, innovative features and cutting-edge automotive technology.
The automaker has managed to infuse these modern innovations without straying too far from Grandeur’s heritage. “The seventh-generation Grandeur expresses our respect for the past and our commitment to looking to the future,” said SangYup Lee, executive vice president and head of the Hyundai Design Center. “We are creating a new standard for the premium sedan market through emotive design and a refined customer experience.”
The Hyundai Grandeur Origine
Do you remember the Daewoo Royale series? Well, it dominated the Korean luxury car market (we mean South Korea) in the 80s – at least until the Seoul Olympics in 1988. From the late 70s, especially in 1978, Hyundai’s top dog in the Korean market was the locally built, Europe-focused Ford Granada Mark II. As Daewoo’s Royale dominates the market, Hyundai has decided to challenge Daewoo’s royalty by introducing its own prince – a luxury model targeting the Korean luxury segment.
But, the idea of challenging the entrenched Daewoo proved elusive from the planning stage, so Hyundai cut its losses and instead borrowed Mitsubishi Motors’ platform, technology and in-house setup to create the first Hyundai Grandeur. It was basically a rebadged Mitsubishi Debonair. The Mitsubishi platform and components gave Grandeur a high-quality build. The 1988 Seoul Olympics also helped popularize the new model, as Hyundai was the game’s official sponsor.
Launched in 1986, the Grandeur is a front-wheel-drive luxury sedan and was the Korean brand’s flagship sedan until the arrival of the long-wheelbase Hyundai Dynasty in 1996. The Grandeur went through multiple revisions during its six generations. It sells under various badges outside of Korea, including the Hyundai Azera. Under the Azera nameplate, the Grandeur was the marque’s flagship sedan in the North American market before the Hyundai Genesis sedan’s interim reign.
But, with Genesis transitioning into a standalone brand, the Grandeur/Azera has taken over the flagship throne, although the nameplate has ceased to be available for the North American market since the 2017 model year. Hyundai introduced the Azera hit the US market in late 2000, with the more sophisticated RWD Genesis arriving eight years later.
Exterior and interior design Hyundai Grandeur of the seventh generation
Hyundai has done a spectacular job of infusing the all-new 7th-generation Grandeur with design cues from previous models while adding new revisions such as the new parametric grille and full-length LED DRL lightbar. The Grandeur’s overall stance is a bold, upright stance enhanced by a smooth, flowing body profile with minimal cuts and creases that beautifully highlight the flush door handles.
Sleek styling runs from the front to the clean, uncluttered rear which is not spared by the full-width lightbar. A look inside the car immediately reminds you that it’s been six years since the sixth-generation Grandeur. The interior is completely updated compared to the previous generation. As a forward-looking Grandeur, it features a dual-screen setup, a center console display that controls climate settings, and a three-spoke steering wheel inspired by the original 1986 model.
Hyundai has outfitted the interior with what it calls “eco-processed” Nappa leather and anti-bacterial leather. We don’t have the technical specs for the new Grandeur yet, but you can make a pretty good guess based on the sixth generation’s use of petrol and diesel engines. Given that the Grandeur has a tradition of innovation and the just-unveiled 7th generation sports a design that reflects its past while paving the way for the future, a plug-in hybrid variant of the Grandeur seems very likely.
What we now know about the new Grandeur flagship sedan
We spoke the confirmed truth when we described the Genesis as more sophisticated than the Grandeur/Azera. However, Grandeur’s all-new flagship sedan, the Hyundai Sedan, upends that hierarchy and makes us wish it was coming to the States. The new Grandeur is a huge leap forward (with the emphasis on “massive”). It’s a shame the futuristic luxury sedan isn’t present in the North American market with its Genesis-like looks.
The Grandeur will be available in its home country and in global markets. With the possible impending retirement of the Sonata, it makes more sense for Hyundai to pull all the stops while creating the new “face” of Hyundai. Fans who have been paying attention will no doubt notice how Hyundai has merged the rear window into the B-pillar to mirror the Grandeur’s styling from the ’80s. It also reminds us of the Grandeur restomod that Hyundai unveiled recently.
The lounge atmosphere of the interior fits perfectly with the barge presence of Grandeur. The rather flat dashboard and the soft upholstery promote the spacious atmosphere of the cabin. As for the powertrain, our best guess is a 296-hp straight-six shared with the Kia K8, with an optional 1.6-liter turbo straight-4. Even if Hyundai considered risking the Genesis by bringing the new 2023 Grandeur to the United States, the dying large sedan segment is a bigger risk it’s unlikely to take. That leaves the Toyota Crown with fewer challengers.