Driving Impressions : 2020 Hyundai Palisade LimitedBy: Mark Moskowitz MD
The Palisade is not Hyundai's first foray into the rather crowded larger midsize (I cannot believe I am writing the descriptor) SUV class. That honor belongs to the scratched Santa Fe XL model, the Korean auto giant's earlier three row entry.
This one is all new. It rides on a four-inch longer wheelbase and measures three inches longer overall. Its six-cylinder is a half-liter larger at 3800cc and a bit more sophisticated with direct (into cylinder not intake manifold) gas injection.
From the sides and back it resembles many other SUVs. A dual tipped exhaust exits in the right rear. Economy and wisdom helped Hyundai resist using faux dual exhausts. The most distinctive features are wide and angled 'C' pillars (behind the rear doors) and an impressive front end. Its grill accomplishes being both tasteful and massive using chrome, polished metal, satin metal and flat black accents. LED running lights and blinkers run horizontally beneath the hood. The accent LED's turn vertical to seemingly connect beneath painted sheet metal (oops finished high impact plastic) to a 2 inch wide mostly vertical LED strip and thus integrate a strong vertically oriented headlight complex. It's different and distinctive and I like it.
The new Palisade comes in three flavors: an entry level SE which lists for $31,550, an SEL model priced at $33,500 and the top of the line test car- the Limited, which starts at $44,700. Add $1700 to any of these trims and the Palisade will be equipped with all-wheel drive.
Inside the Limited is a potpourri of trim and upholstery. Geometric perforated inserts adorn the doors and upper seat backs of all three rows of smooth leather seating. There are attractive metal speaker grills. Plastic panels with a metal flake finish border the hexagons on the doors and the solid black screen surrounds on the dash.
Overlying the console is a black and silver pattern. A pair of patterns are exhibited on the dashboard upholstery. There's a different motif on the door handles. A polished satin metal finish sits below the dashboard vent and surrounds same. Switches for the info-media center are covered in metal; the actuators below are covered with flat black and gloss black. All in all it's a bit dizzying.
Beneath the fancy trim is lots of function and some fun. The console is massive and a space beneath can easily digest a large designer handbag. Its width might hinder a few who drive with hips splayed and knees relaxing outward. The distance from door handle to padded console measures 22 inches.
On the console top is a sliding panel which opens to a great space for simultaneous placement of spectacles, keys and cups. The outer rims of the cupholders uniquely rotate to allow even more space.
Base models house an eight-inch touch screen which grows to 10.25 inches in the Palisade Limited. And the latter is supplemented with a 12.3 inch instrument cluster and a heads up display. The infotainment system is feature filled and easy to use; and eight buttons and two dials positioned below the touch screen facilitate input.
Supportive and multi-adjustable front seats have a cushion extension and separate upper and lower lumbar supports.
Middle row buckets slide back-and-forth on a rail allowing easy access to row three. Foot room in the wells behind the driver can be generous but a car full of large adults might have to fight it out to see who gets it -row two or three.
The space behind the third seat is a smallish 18 cubic feet. A generous hidden compartment lies beneath the floor. With the touch of buttons headrests fall out of the way and the rear seat folds forward to increase cargo volume to 45.8 cubic feet. Fold the middle seats and the space expands to nearly 86 cubic feet.
Every new car or new model should have something unique; and programmed to pop up within appropriate sided circular gauges may be the ultimate Blindspot Monitors - cameras imaging what is alongside of you.
The Palisade's 8-speed automatic transmission can be activated by push buttons on the console or by paddle shifter.
The shifts especially in Sport mode seem a bit abrupt though that same sensation occurs even with a light throttle in other modes. On the plus side, Sport mode did not bring an inappropriately exaggerated steering resistance. (The Palisade has Smart, Sport, Comfort, Eco and Snow modes.)
The ride and road noise seemed a bit harsher than I would expect in a new car bucking to be perceived as a luxury entry. Some of the blame may lay with the low-profile Bridgestone Sport Dueler H/P AS's, tires which as reviewed by Tire Rack: 'let somewhat more of the road's texture and imperfections make their way to the driver'.
A number of features bear mention. The lane keep assist is one of the best that I have experienced. The Palisade remained centered in its lane rather than being bounced from the edge of one set of lane stripes to the other. The quality of the associated surround view camera was appreciated. Blind spot monitoring continues when the Palisade is parked warning the exiting driver as traffic approaches from the rear. The feature can lock the back doors as well. Liftgate speed is programmable and tow capacity is 5000 pounds.
Driving Impressions feels generally positive about Hyundai's entry into the higher end larger midsize SUV class. The drive and ride lack a bit of sophistication which though apparent to a test warrior might not be apparent to many. Luxury touches, functionality and unique features at what is now considered a favorable price distinguish the Palisade.