Midway through the 2000s, Hyundai began to devote a considerable effort towards asserting itself as an upscale brand. Originally marketed as the XG300 and XG350, Hyundais premium sedan was renamed the Azera for the 2006 model year. Billed as an upscale vehicle at a price lower than its competitors, the 2006 Hyundai Azera was offered in SE and Limited trim levels. Aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, multi-zone air conditioning, AM/FM stereo system with CD player and traction control was included standard on all Hyundai Azera sedans. The 2006 Azera Limited received upgraded amenities consisting of leather upholstery, heated front seats, power sunshade and a 10-speaker Infinity speaker system.
A 3.8-liter V-6 engine producing 263 horsepower propelled the 2006 Hyundai Azera line-up. For 2007, Hyundai added a GLS trim level to the Azera featuring a smaller, more fuel-efficient 3.3-liter powerplant. The Azera was redesigned for 2009 with a revised front end and new 17-inch wheels. Engine performance for the Azeras powerplants were enhanced with use of dual continuously variable valve timing for the 2011 model year. The 3.3-liter engines output increased to 260 horsepower while the 3.8-liter would generate 280 horsepower for the 2011 Hyundai Azera. A six-speed automatic transmission was also added to the premium sedan for greater smoothness.
For 2012, an all-new Hyundai Azera provided the sedan with more attractive, sloped exterior appearance. Nine standard airbags, headlights with LED accent lighting, leather interior with heated front and rear seating as well as Hyundais Blue Link telematics platform was standard equipment on the 2012 Azera. For the 2012 model year, a gasoline direct-injected 3.3-liter V-6 generating 293 horsepower became the Hyundai Azeras new powerplant. Along with a lowered starting price for 2014, Azera received a modernization to include a standard six-inch LCD audio display with rearview camera system.