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New Hyundai Grandeur Proves Sedans Can Still Be Cool

What used to be known as the Azera has undergone a massive glow-up.

Hyundai Grandeur front 3/4 view
The new Hyundai Grandeur is cool as hell.
Hyundai

We all know that sedans have been going out of fashion over the past couple of decades, especially in the US where the vast majority of new cars are trucks or crossovers. Some companies have come up with genre-bending models, like the Polestar 2 and Toyota Crown that are really just sedans with an SUV-ish disguise. But Hyundai has stayed committed to the traditional sedan, especially in its home country of South Korea, where it has unveiled the new full-size Grandeur luxury sedan, which is one of the coolest new cars of the year.

The Grandeur has been around since the 1980s, with this new model being the seventh generation. It was sold in the US as the XG in the '90s and then as the Azera until 2017, but the subsequent generation stuck around in other markets like Asia and the Middle East. The new Grandeur is a major departure in terms of styling, with an imposing size and stance and some truly incredible design details. It's also more than a little retro, taking some styling cues from the original Grandeur and the Grandeur EV restomod that sent the internet into a tizzy in 2021.

It has the thinnest taillights ever on a production car.

Hyundai

I got to see the Grandeur in person at Hyundai's design studio earlier this year, and it honestly took my breath away. The front end is dominated by what Hyundai calls the Seamless Horizon Lamp, a super-thin LED running at the top of the nose that is inspired by the first light of dawn. We first saw this on the wonderful Staria van, though the Grandeur's light is even thinner, and other future Hyundais will adopt the same light setup. The huge parametric jewel grille below has a complex pattern and is flanked by two rectangular pods that house the Grandeur's actual headlights.

The Grandeur is pretty huge, coming fairly close to the Genesis G90 in size, though it's based on a front-wheel-drive platform (likely the same one as the Hyundai Palisade). Thankfully it's not saddled with crappy front-drive proportions -- there's even a pretty good dash-to-axle ratio. The Grandeur's greenhouse is inspired by the original car, with a body color C-pillar that forms a separate quarter window and D-pillar, with a nice accent line surrounding the windows. A black trim band runs along the bottom of the car and rises to the rear bumper, and flush door handles are perfectly aligned with the Horizon Lamp and taillight. All of the Grandeur's surfacing is clean, crisp and just plain gorgeous, with just one main character line that runs all the way from the peak of the front fender to the trunklid.

The interior looks very luxurious.

Hyundai

At the back is where the Grandeur really gets cool. The rounded rear end has what is apparently the thinnest taillight ever fitted to a production car, with every light function housed within the Seamless Horizon line. There's a nice metal surround to the light. The top of the trunkline has a fabulous curve to it, which cascades at the corners to form the edge of the taillight and the cutline for the bumper. The lower diffuser has an additional long reflector and some nice metal trim, but overall the design is simple and clean.

Things somehow get even better once you step inside. The new Grandeur looks seriously luxurious, with some details that look like straight off a concept car. A pair of screens sits in front of the driver and is integrated into a larger trim piece that has interactive lighting elements, and a thin climate control vent strip runs all the way along the dash. There's an angled lower touchscreen for climate controls and other functions that is reminiscent of the original Grandeur's panel, and moving the gear selector to the steering column frees up the center console to be open and have more storage and a wireless charging pad.

The funky steering wheel is amazing.

Hyundai

My favorite element is the weird steering wheel, which was inspired by the original Grandeur's single-spoke wheel and will spread throughout the rest of the Hyundai lineup. It has a fat rectangular center that makes up the lower spoke too, with a pair of thin upper spokes at 9 and 3 housing buttons and controls. The steering wheel also has a drive mode button in the main spoke and the same four-dot light array in place of the Hyundai logo in the center hub. The Grandeur's door panels have traditional Korean detailing to them, with diffused ambient lighting giving a relaxing overall vibe. Hyundai used real naturally dyed nappa leather, aluminum and wood, as well as other sustainable materials throughout.

We don't yet know any details about the new Grandeur's powertrains or specs, but it seems likely that it will use a lineup of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines. It could also become available with a fully electric powertrain, which would totally fit in with the overall vibe. The new Grandeur will go on sale in South Korea in the next few months, with other markets to follow. It won't be sold in the US, which is really a damn shame.