2021 Hyundai Palisade

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2021 Hyundai Palisade Test Drive Review: Korea's SUV Game Is On Point

When the three-row Hyundai Palisade was introduced for the 2020 model year, we suggested that its spread of talents could create a new American family favorite on the sales charts. Well, that's clearly been the case as the Palisade has become a strong seller for the Korean marque, much the same as it has been for its corporate cousin, the Kia Telluride. In fact, Hyundai claims that nearly half of all Palisade buyers had never previously considered a Hyundai. Among the Palisade's many virtues are its spacious cabin, excellent cargo capacity, and a raft of safety features, all aspects that matter for bigger families. It's also endowed with a powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower, although no other engine choice is on offer. The Honda Pilot remains a formidable rival, with a superior ride and more spirited acceleration. But that doesn't tell the whole story, and the Palisade is clearly the kind of SUV that thousands of buyers crave, and its appeal continues undiminished.

Read in this review:

9.0
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2021 Hyundai Palisade Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Palisade?

The most notable change for the new model year is the introduction of a new range-topping trim, the Calligraphy, to the 2021 Hyundai Palisade lineup in the USA. It starts at $47,750 and comes with high-end features such as quilted leather interior trim, 20-inch alloy wheels, and premium exterior touches such as a bespoke grille fascia. Elsewhere in the range, Hyundai has made a series of small changes to various trims and packages. For instance, a sunroof is now standard on the SEL trim and above, while HD Radio is now equipped to every version. Wireless smartphone connectivity - for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - is now equipped to the lower three trims. Hyundai has added many of the features from the previous Driver Guidance Package to the Convenience Package, which is available on the SEL. Finally, for customers who often tow, the previous four-pin pre-wiring connector has been upgraded to a seven-pin connector.

Pros and Cons

  • Daring styling
  • Loads of features
  • Spacious cabin across all three rows
  • Generous cargo capacity
  • Luxurious top trims
  • Smooth and powerful V6 engine
  • Comprehensive warranty
  • Only one engine choice
  • Rather thirsty
  • Honda Pilot is a better handler

Best Deals on 2021 Hyundai Palisade

2021 Hyundai Palisade Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
3.8L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$32,675
SEL
3.8L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,325
Limited
3.8L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$45,275
Calligraphy
3.8L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$46,200
See All 2021 Hyundai Palisade Trims and Specs

2021 Palisade Exterior

2021 Hyundai Palisade Front View CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Front Angle View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

  • Length 196.1 in
  • Wheelbase 114.2 in
  • Height 68.9 in
  • Max Width 77.8 in
  • Front Width 67.2 in
  • Rear Width 67.6 in
  • Curb Weight 4,127.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Hyper White +$400
  • Becketts Black
  • Steel Graphite
  • Sierra Burgundy
  • Moonlight Cloud
  • Typhoon Silver
  • Rainforest
  • Typhoon Silver, Available: 10/01/2020
  • Lagoon Silver, Build Out: 08/312020
  • Lagoon Silver, Build Out: 08/31/2020

2021 Palisade Performance

2021 Hyundai Palisade Side View CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    3.8L V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Hyundai Palisade is a family SUV so needs to be adept at carting people around in comfort but without falling apart at the first corner. Thankfully, it ticks both of these boxes. The multi-link independent rear suspension helps to provide the Palisade with a compliant enough ride quality, with the typical bumps and lumps of everyday commuting being effectively shut out. That said, there is an underlying firmness to the setup, but it never becomes harsh. In terms of handling ability, the Palisade does a fair job of managing its weight through the corners and, although body roll is noticeable, it's easy to place and control this big SUV when the road gets twisty. Unsurprisingly, feedback through the steering wheel is notable by its absence. It's not as fun to drive as a Honda Pilot, but then again, few customers are shopping around for an eight-seater SUV and looking to be thrilled behind the wheel. Tailoring the driving experience can be done by toggling the drive mode dial, with Eco mode offering a nice and smooth throttle response without feeling sluggish. For occasional dirt road use, the optional AWD system provides more security, but the Palisade is certainly not intended to take on any major off-road obstacles.

2021 Palisade Interior

2021 Hyundai Palisade Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Gearbox Controls CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Interior Wooden Trim CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 44.1 in
  • Front Head Room 40.7 in
  • Rear Leg Room 42.4 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.1 in

2021 Palisade Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Hyundai Palisade Front Seats CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Third Row Seats CarBuzz
2021 Hyundai Palisade Trunk Space CarBuzz

2021 Palisade Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Hyundai Palisade a good car?

Hyundai has managed the balancing act of making the Palisade SUV both heavily styled and utterly sensible at the same time. Together with the spacious and exceptionally well-trimmed cabin, it offers a comfortable ride, a willing V6 engine, lots of features that make transporting a family less of a chore, and excellent cargo space. We especially appreciate that the third row of seats is not just for show, but can genuinely accommodate adults of average size - a rarity in its class. The top two trims are particularly plush inside and come loaded with high-tech goodies, while all versions have proven safety ratings and a brilliant warranty. All of these qualities have not gone unnoticed, with thousands of Americans choosing to park a Palisade in their garages over the last year or two. Although there are many other great SUVs for sale in this segment, such as the more established Honda Pilot, our rankings prove that the Palisade and its Kia Telluride cousin are good enough to be called class-leading.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Comparisons

Kia Telluride CarBuzz
Honda Pilot Honda
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Palisade291 hp19/27 mpg$34,950
Kia Telluride 291 hpTBCTBC
Honda Pilot 280 hp20/27 mpg$38,080

2021 Hyundai Palisade vs Kia Telluride

Sharing its underpinnings and engine with the Kia Telluride, a comparison between these two excellent SUVs is inevitable. With the same 291-hp V6 engine, the two SUVs offer similar performance, although it's the Telluride that is marginally more economical. It's the same story in the cabin, where the figures show that vs the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai has less cargo space, although the difference is small. The Telluride is a bit more of a luxurious and high-tech option, with a standard power-adjustable driver's seat on every trim, along with the availability of a digital driver's display. But again, the differences are minor as the Telluride is still an impressively equipped SUV in its higher trim levels. Trim for trim, the Hyundai Palisade will cost a bit more; this, together with the Telluride's attractive and less polarizing design, makes the Kia our choice by a whisker.

See Kia Telluride Review

2021 Hyundai Palisade vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot has been around for a little longer than the Palisade, and it shows when walking around each vehicle and sitting inside. The new Palisade interior feels more special and, whether divisive or not, its exterior makes more of a visual statement vs the Honda Pilot. Although the Pilot is slightly less powerful with its smaller 3.5-liter V6 engine, it's a bit quicker than the Palisade up to 60 mph and can tow just as much as its Korean rival. We'd say that the Honda handles a bit better than the Hyundai, but both are comfortable on extended trips. Both SUVs are impressively spacious inside, with the Pilot offering slightly more third-row legroom, but the Palisade winning on space for legs in the first two rows. Behind the third row, the Palisade offers more cargo space, unless the Pilot's third row of seats are positioned as far forward and upright as possible, in which case the Honda manages a marginal advantage. The Palisade has more available luxury and tech features, despite being priced very similarly to the Honda. Although the Pilot comes across as the better-engineered product under the skin, the Palisade's attractive cabin and a longer list of features just about edges out the Pilot.

See Honda Pilot Review

2021 Hyundai Palisade Popular Comparisons

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