2020 Hyundai Palisade: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Flagship
With the SUV market continuing to grow faster than any other automotive segment in America, it makes sense that Hyundai would capitalize on this trend with a wide range of SUVs and crossovers. Now the Korean automaker is coming to market with its largest and most luxurious SUV offering yet — the all-new Palisade. With bold styling, an elegant interior and room for up to eight occupants, the Palisade takes its rightful place as the flagship of the Hyundai SUV lineup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUltimate Family Vehicle
“The new 2020 Hyundai Palisade clearly evokes design imagery worthy of Hyundai’s flagship SUV, with new levels of all-road, all-weather capability, technology, safety, roominess and efficiency, all packaged in cutting-edge design,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “This new Hyundai SUV is the ultimate family vehicle for practical, comfortable daily use and memory-making road trips whenever the appeal of the open road should beckon,” O’Brien claimed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is available in three trims: SE, SEL and Limited. All come with front wheel drive; Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel-drive system is available across the board for an additional $1,700.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSafety
The new Palisade’s standard equipment includes the latest in advanced safety technology; Hyundai anticipates earning top safety ratings from the NHTSA and IIHS (vehicles have not been tested yet). These features include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention warning, high-beam assist, trailer sway control and a rearview monitor. The SEL and Limited add blind-spot collision warning, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance and safe exit assist.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaHyundai Palisade SE
With a base price of $31,550, the Palisade SE features an 8-inch touchscreen display, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, five USB outlets, adaptive cruise control, split-folding second- and third-row seats and seating for 8 occupants. The SE also features LED running lights, projector headlights, body-color door handles and 18-inch alloy wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai Palisade SEL
Likely to be the most popular version of the Palisade, the SEL is priced at $33,500. Upgrades over the SE include dual-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row captain’s chairs, keyless entry with pushbutton start, satin-chrome door handles and grille, silver roof rails and door-handle welcome lights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSEL Packages
While the SE and Limited have no available factory options, the SEL is offered with two packages. The Convenience Package ($2,200) adds third-row USB outlets, a power sunroof, front parking assist sensors, auto-leveling suspension, a hands-free smart liftgate, LED taillights and 20-inch alloy wheels. The Premium Package ($2,400) includes leather seat trim, a premium dashboard, a power passenger seat, heated rear seats, a power-folding third row, a heated steering wheel and bi-LED headlights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHyundai Palisade Limited
The top trim of the Palisade, the Limited is priced at $44,700. Upgrades over the stock SEL include Nappa leather trim; a power passenger seat; ventilated front seats; wireless phone charging; dual sunroofs; a digital instrument display; a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation; head-up display; a surround-view monitor; a power-folding third row; forward park-distance warning; a driver talk in-car intercom; and a 630-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system with 12 speakers and QuantumLogic Surround. The Limited also has self-leveling rear suspension, LED headlights and taillights, a premium grille, a hands-free smart liftgate and 20-inch alloy wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
The Palisade model line is available with a single engine — a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to either the front wheels or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy numbers are pretty good for a vehicle this size: the U.S. EPA reports 19 mpg city / 26 mpg hwy / 22 mpg combined for front-wheel drive, and 19 / 24 / 21 respectively for all-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTowing
When properly equipped, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds. During our press drive we didn’t have the opportunity to test its towing abilities, but see no reason that the Palisade would have any difficulty doing this.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaInner Space
The 2020 Palisade is roomy and comfortable with an upscale feel. Nothing in this new Hyundai feels cheap, and the top-level Limited evokes luxury with stylish leather seats and an clean design overall. Controls are nicely laid out in the center console with climate controls in a separate section. A row of hard buttons features shortcuts to navigation, radio and overall setup, as well as audio controls. Although these buttons have a stylish satin finish, we found the labels very difficult to read.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaPlenty of Storage
With shift-by-wire, the transmission selector is simplified to just PRND buttons that take up very little space. This translates to a large center console housing a wireless phone charger as well as unique, retractable cupholders that can create space for other items. Front-seat occupants will appreciate considerable additional storage below the center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSecond Row
Seating in the second row is roomy, whether the Palisade is equipped with the bench seat or captain’s chairs. There’s plenty of headroom and legroom, and while we prefer the comfort of individual bucket seats, the 3-passenger bench seat works well. Seats quickly fold forward for easy access to the third row.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceThird Row
Similar to most three-row SUVs, the third row of the 2020 Palisade is a bit of a penalty box. That said, there is reasonable legroom in this rear-most seat, and passengers relegated to the third row get cupholders as well as available USB ports. But this row is designed to seat three for a total of 8-occupant capacity, and that eighth person better be petite, since it will be a very tight fit for three in that back row.

Cargo Space
Palisade offers plenty of space for luggage and other items even if the third row is in place. Rear seats are split folding to provide additional versatility. Additional storage can be found beneath the cargo floor.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBlind View Monitor
One of the slickest features that Hyundai offers on the Palisade is a blind view monitor. Using the right or left turn signal activates a camera on the respective side of the vehicle, with the view displayed in the gauge cluster. This view gives a clear picture of the vehicle’s blind spot, allowing the driver to quickly check before changing lanes.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
We spent most of a day with the 2020 Palisade driving a combination of highways, twisty two-lane roads and even dirt and mud — and can report that the new Hyundai SUV performs well in all situations. On the freeway the ride is very quiet — in fact we commented several times about the serene experience inside the Palisade. Overall this new SUV feels solid on the road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAlmost Autonomous
With adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assist, the new Palisade comes close to being autonomous on the freeway. With the speed set, the system keeps the vehicle cruising the freeway — even as the road curves — with hands off the steering wheel. However, we discovered that if the curve is too tight the system isn’t able to keep the new SUV in its lane. Note the system is not recommended or designed for hands-free driving, and after about 30 seconds an alert prompts the driver to put hands back on the steering wheel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSlightly Underpowered
In most everyday situations the V6 in the 2020 Palisade provides more than adequate power. That said, the vehicle felt a bit under powered when accelerating uphill or when trying to pass on a two-lane road. During our press outing it was possible to get around slower vehicles, but the engine was working hard so it took a bit longer to pass than we’d like.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaOff Pavement
We also took the 2020 Palisade off the beaten path, traveling several miles down muddy, bumpy dirt roads. Although most owners of this new SUV will probably not be using it for extreme off-roading, the Palisade feels stable and confident even when roads get rough and slippery. Traction is good and the ride remains smooth even when the terrain is not.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
The midsize SUV market in America is full of great products, but after spending a day with the Palisade this newest Hyundai became one of our favorites. With standout styling, a roomy and comfortable interior, a solid ride and excellent capability, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is certainly worthy of consideration. Add to this a starting price around $30,000 and the value story really makes Palisade a winner.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Pros: Great value; spacious interior; quiet ride.
Cons: Cramped third row; slightly underpowered
Bottom Line: Hyundai brings a strong contender to the 8-occupant SUV market.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2020 Hyundai Palisade

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