For those of you that liked Hyundai’s largest SUV, the three-row Santa Fe (called the Santa Fe XL last year, and just the Santa Fe before that) – some sad news: it’s no longer in the 2020 Hyundai lineup. But don’t despair, for it has been replaced by an all-new SUV – the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.
The Palisade, Hyundai’s largest vehicle to date, is a three-row, seven passenger (eight with the second-row bench seat) mid-size SUV that makes for an excellent family hauler. Like most Hyundai’s, the Palisade is loaded with value. The test vehicle that Hyundai recently had me, a Palisade Limited AWD, had every gadget, bell and whistle known to SUVs, and carried an MSRP of $47,605. Go to your local BMW, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz dealer for a similarly equipped SUV, and their bottom-line figure is sure to be at least $25,000 more.
The exterior of the Palisade is attractive, bold and stylish. The front end is up for discussion, with its over-the-top grille and unique headlights, but as the new flagship SUV for Hyundai, it definitely looks the part.
Hyundai offers the Palisade in three trim levels, all of which have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base SE is nicely set up with remote keyless entry, push-button ignition, full-range adaptive cruise control, second-row air-conditioning controls, power-folding second-row bench seats, and an 8-inch touchscreen. Move to the mid-level SEL and added to the SE list is a remote ignition, heated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs (a bench seat is available as a no-cost option), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver’s seat and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
On the SEL, there are three optional packages available. The Convenience package adds in second row sunshades, additional USB ports and a power liftgate. The Premium package equips the Palisade with leather interior, LED lighting, power third-row seats and a heated steering wheel. Finally, the Drive Guidance package provides a larger 10.25 touchscreen, driver-assist features and a navigation system.
Indulging in the Limited gets everything mentioned above, as well as a dual sunroof, automatic wipers, premium leather upholstery, ventilated front and second-row seats, a head-up display, a digital gauge cluster, a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot camera, interior ambient lighting and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system.
Every Palisade is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque It’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is an option.
Enter the Palisade and you’ll notice there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Driver and front passenger seats are form fitting and offer a wide range of adjustability. Passengers in the second-row captain’s chairs can manually slide fore and aft and recline, giving them a fair amount of head and legroom. Third row passengers can also recline, but they get the bonus of having power adjustments. I suppose that’s the reward third-row passengers get over second row passengers. Every seat has access to their own USB port (there are seven total).
Storage space, especially in the center console, is plentiful – thanks to the lack of a gear shifter. Hyundai went with push buttons to switch from Park to Drive/Reverse/Neutral – and the result pays out with lots of space for phones, glasses, coffee mugs,etc.
When it comes to gadgets, this Palisade is full of them. A heads-up display (HUD) projects the speed on the windshield. Blind spot indicators, located in the side view mirrors, also appear in the HUD. On top of that, there is a live video feed of both blind spots in the digital gauge cluster that are activated when you use the turn signals. Turn on the left signal and the middle of the speedometer display changes to a video camera showing your left blind spot; likewise turn on the right signal and the middle of the tachometer changes to show you your right blind spot. There is also a 360-degree camera that lets you view around the car with the touch of a button.
As for utility, the Palisade is quite generous when it comes to cargo space. There is 87 cubic feet of space available with both the second- and third-row seats folded down. With the second row in use, cargo space drops to 46 cubic feet; put the third-row seats up and you still can handle 18 cubic feet of cargo. Towing capacity is listed at 5,000 pounds.
If interior room, luxury and technology tops your want list in a mid-size SUV, the Hyundai Palisade is worth considering. While $48,000 is a lot of money, I have to say that for that amount, buyers will get a heck of a lot of vehicle.
— Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited AWD
Base Price: $46,400.00
Price as Tested:$47,605.00
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: 3.8-liter V6
Transmission: 8 – speed automatic
Horsepower: 291 hp
Torque: 262 ft-lbs
EPA Fuel Economy:19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
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