The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is apparently hard to forget.
When I pulled up to a friend’s house with it, his 7 and 4 year olds both screamed: “It’s a Palisade!”
Apparently, they had seen it on television commercials and, needless to say, it made an impression.
They are definitely not the demographic Hyundai is aiming for with this 7 or 8 seat SUV. Based on the 7-seater in their driveway, their parents are the real target, people who have busy lives bringing their kids around to their various activities, while having all the room needed for family road trips.
New for the 2020 model year, the Palisade is yet another addition to an ever-growing lineup of SUVs, not only at Hyundai, but across all brands these days.
The Palisade is offered in four trims: Essential, Preferred, Luxury and Ultimate, which was the kit we tested.
The top of the line model, which seats seven thanks to the 2 captain’s chairs in the middle row, will cost you $56,723 (before taxes).
The entry-level Palisade starts at a much more palatable (to some) $38,499.
All trims come with the same engine, a rather potent 3.8-litre V6 powerplant that churns out 291 horsepower and 262 ft-lb of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The all-wheel drive Palisade is said to have an average combined fuel efficiency of 11.1 litres per 100 kilometres, and I came pretty close to that during my week, with an average of 11.9 L/100 km.
That’s not too shabby for a vehicle that is on the larger side.
The Palisade’s design is pretty elegant, but the front fascia’s styling may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
It has a large – with a capital L – central grille that is flanked by 2 slits for the LED daytime running lights. The juxtaposition of scales can be a little jarring at first. Below the DRLs are the actual projector headlights LED accents. Their placement is a bit unusual and you have to wonder how exposed they might be to damage from minor bumps.
The rear end emphasizes the Palisade’s wide feel, with the letters of the name spread across the rear hatch, flanked by a nice set of vertical LED taillights.
On the inside is where the Palisade really shines in my view.
The cabin is very nicely designed, features excellent materials and is a quiet compartment.
In our tester, the seats feature quilted Nappa leather, which is also on the door panels.
With captain’s chairs in the second row, accessing the back seats is a breeze and the Palisade’s height means there’s a lot of headroom so you aren’t bent over at the waist getting back there.
The rear bench also folds flat easily, with powered buttons that put the 60/40 split up or down automatically. Buttons in the cargo bay will also drop the second row seats flat, so opening up the entire cargo floor for storage is a breeze.
Up front, the Palisade has a modern design, with a large centre console that houses the push button gear selector, a dial for drive settings and all the ventilation controls. It also features a good amount of storage and cup holders that easily slide out of the way when not needed so it can hold more space.
The dashboard setup is all digital, which is a great feature. The central infotainment screen is large and crystal clear, and the instrument cluster on the Ultimate trim is replaced by a 12-inch digital cockpit. Two really neat features I found are that when turning left or right, a camera in appropriate exterior mirror is activated, looking forward, and displays in the left or right gauge to show you if there’s anything in the blind spot ahead of you.
There is very little to dislike about the job Hyundai has done on the Palisade’s interior.
The infotainment is controlled through a 10.25-inch screen mentioned earlier.
The system is easy to use and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and in our tester was fitted with a 630- watt harman/kardon premium audio system with 12-speakers.
The Palisade is a larger vehicle and as such it feels heavy and solid when you drive it. But that’s not necessarily a knock against it. It delivers an overall good drive that does away with bumps in the road like they are nothing but pebbles.
Far from athletic, the Palisade is an excellent highway cruiser and performs well in city traffic.
The drive modes for the Palisade can easily be set through a dial in the centre console, which include settings for mud, sand or snow – a definite plus in the Canadian market.
The 2020 Palisade is a notable addition to the Hyundai lineup that continues to grow and attract new buyers.
There’s no reason to believe the Palisade won’t continue that trend – let’s just hope they don’t have to wait for my friend’s kids to be of driving age!
2020 Hyundai Palisade
Price as tested: $56,723.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.8-litre V6/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 291 horsepower/ 262 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (71 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.1 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.9 L/100 km
Warranties: 5-years/100,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander
- Solid build and quality
- Exquisite interior, well equipped
- Confident drive
- Front headlight placement
- Top trim gets prices