Based on the same underpinnings as the Kia Telluride, Hyundai's new Palisade is set to take over from the departing Santa Fe XL in mid-2019. Its big, bold styling and three-row seating should shape it up to be an American family favorite - or at least that's what Hyundai is hoping for, having developed the car primarily for the USA. Boasting a larger footprint and seating for up to eight passengers in three spacious rows, the Palisade has second-row captains chairs available to seat seven as well. With three trim levels making up the new lineup, sticker prices range from $31,550 for the base trim to $44,700 for the range-topper. Powering all Palisades is a new aluminum 3.8-liter V6 engine with outputs of 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a Hyundai-built eight-speed automatic gearbox, with a choice of standard front-wheel drive and an optional HTRAC electronic all-wheel-drive system. Finally, Hyundai has a genuine rival for the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas, and with a fresh-of-the-line look and feel, the Palisade has genuine potential for rising up in the midsize-SUV ranks.
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade SUV is an all-new model from Hyundai, set to replace the Santa Fe XL midway through 2019 as a 2020 year model. It brings with it larger proportions, space for up to eight passengers in three rows, and a new 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Other new features include a Mercedes-Benz-like interior design with a digital instrument cluster and a large infotainment screen blended into one large array.
Starting off at an MSRP of $31,550, the Hyundai Palisade SE costs a mere $200 less than it's Kia counterpart, and only a few hundred dollars more vs the Ford Explorer. In the middle of the range, the Hyundai Palisade SEL is priced at $33,500, with a big jump to $44,700 for the Limited. The optional all-wheel-drive system will require a further $1,700 to be added to the Palisades initial price. These prices exclude Hyundai's destination charge of $1,095, as well as any tax, registration, or licensing fees.
Even when equipping all the available options to the line-topping Limited, the total price will stay just below the $50,000 mark; in fact, optioning in the Tow Hitch and all other available accessories will only add up to an extra $1,225.
See trim levels and configurations:
The Palisade's eight-speed automatic transmission comes equipped with six drive modes, ranging from Comfort and Sport to Eco, while Sand, Mud, and Snow modes cater for off-road excursions. Though those modes exist, the Palisade's ground clearance won't allow the overly-adventurous type of off-roading that one would get in a Jeep, but the electronic all-wheel-drive system does adjust well to changing road conditions and surfaces, and the odd dirt road.
An independent multi-link rear suspension setup is standard, and while it errs on the firmer side of things - likely in order to accommodate a full complement of eight passengers without being overladen - it manages changing road surfaces, lumps, and bumps impressively well, ironing most of them out sufficiently. With a curb weight of over 4,000 lbs, though, the heft of the Palisade isn't well disguised. The steering weight changes based on each drive mode, but even in its heftiest tune, there's almost no feedback through the wheel. Changes of direction are well affected, but there's always a sense of weightiness to the handling of the Palisade. The on-center feeling is decent, however, and the Palisade does track straight even at highway speeds. Those accustomed to bulkier machines will find this one to be very polished and acquiescent.
The all-new 2020 Hyundai Palisade SUV is an impressive evolution from the Sante Fe XL; it now positions itself alongside venerable class brands such as the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot, from an already favorable position in its previous guise. For the family-oriented buyer, the Palisade offers impressive comfort, ample passenger room and consideration, convenient technologies, and most of all, top-class safety and driver-aids. While rivals may offer better performance with their beefier engines and sportier handling, the Palisade prioritizes a comfortable and easygoing ride, ideal for extended family road trips. It's also a competitively practical SUV, boasting a trunk capacity of 18 cubic feet behind the third-row seats, and a maximum towing capability of 5,000 lbs. The Palisade offers superb value for money in its standard features and performance, even with average fuel economy ratings, and, even with a higher MSRP, we believe the Palisade ranks highly amongst its competitors already. It's a well-rounded vehicle, offering all one would need from a contemporary SUV and more, and is bound to establish a benchmark in the segment for some, if not all, of its design features.
The Limited would be the ideal trim option from the range, but with a pricing point just short of $45,000, the SEL - which is around $10,000 less - is the more sensible buy. And, apart from the SE, the SEL has access to most of what the Limited has anyway via the options cache. Additionally, the SEL allows for a choice for seating, either seven on second-row captain's chairs, or eight, with a second-row bench. The SEL is an excellent choice, but - that said - we do recommend opting in the Convenience and Premium packages for the leather-appointments and added driver-assists in particular. For buyers inclined to be more adventurous, or those living in adverse weather-afflicted states, go with the all-wheel-drive configuration too.
The Hyundai Palisade shares most of its underpinnings and powertrain constituents with the Kia Telluride, so not much difference can be expected from these two well-rounded SUV's. In front-wheel-drive guise, the Telluride performs with better fuel efficiency than the Palisade in the same configuration, returning 20/26/23 mpg. However, in all-wheel-drive guise, the Palisade offers greater highway performance, with two figures above the Telluride. Both models otherwise feel pretty much the same in terms of acceleration and overall throttle responses. Both also offer a maximum tow capacity of 5,000 lbs; however, the Telluride gains the advantage in cargo capacity with 21 cubic feet offered behind the third-row seats. The Palisade offers a few more standard and optionally available features with its higher-level trims than what the Telluride does, but both models are similar enough for the decision to come down to preference in taste. Overall, the Palisade represents greater luxury, and the Telluride focuses more on practicality. We would pick the Palisade based on it's fresh, out-of-the-box character alone.
The Honda Pilot falls within a similar pricing range to the Palisade, and it comes stock with a smaller 3.5-liter V6 engine, making only 20 ponies less than the Palisades 3.8-liter. Not only is the Pilot faster with that engine, but it is also slightly more fuel-efficient. The front-wheel-drive variant returns 20/27/23 mpg in all-wheel-drive guise; however, the Pilot performs less efficiently in city driving conditions by a single figure, yet two figures more efficiently on highway drives. The Pilot exhibits some impressive handling prowess - it's not sporty, but handles bends better than the Palisade, something only the Mazda CX-9 pulls off as well within this segment. It too holds a max tow capacity of 5,000 lbs, but offers marginally less trunk space, with a cubic foot and a half less than in the Palisade. The new Hyundai provides more on-board features at the higher-level trims compared to the luxe tier trims of the Pilot, and the Honda's tech and driver-assist features aren't quite as refined as the Palisades. Still, the Pilot supplies a higher quality ride with greater performance and handling dynamics, along with a more premium feel and a longer history of reliability, which all together outweigh the Palisades noteworthy advantages.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Hyundai Palisade: