An extensive facelift gives new life to Hyundai's flagship family SUV.
Five days. That's how long it's been since we've had a first look at the new, significantly refreshed 2023 Hyundai Palisade. Back then, we talked at length about the newly restyled nose of the Kia Telluride twin, and then we got an even better look when Hyundai itself accidentally published a full-frontal image on its YouTube channel. The full vehicle has now been revealed at the 2022 New York International Auto Show revealing subtle but meaningful updates throughout all areas of the midsize SUV.
The front end is arguably the Palisade's most defining trait, as it's always been, but that doesn't mean that's all Hyundai has changed. There's loads going on here, both inside and out. Hyundai has also updated the tech found in the Palisade significantly, as well as sprinkling some advanced driver assistance and safety features over the top of it all.
Let's get the headline specs out of the way first. The only available powertrain is a carried-over Atkinson-cycle 3.8-liter V6 producing 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. But this isn't a car that's built around the motor. As such, Hyundai says the powertrain is designed to be as quiet as possible, with generous sound deadening in the engine bay.
The Palisade's V6 is hooked up to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, the latter of which is Hyundai's HTRAC 4WD system. Tow mode is a new feature on the Palisade for 2023, adjusting the drivetrain characteristics, holding lower gears longer, and reducing the frequency of shifting response. No towing capacity has been confirmed, but the pre-facelift was able to tow up to 5,000 lbs, so we expect no less than this.
Drivers can also choose between Normal, Sport, and Smart modes, the last of which adapts the car to your current driving behaviors.
The new design is very much in line with the current Hyundai design ethos but retains the Palisade's individuality. New headlights and DRLs (still a split vertical design) frame the wider, parametric shield grille design. Additionally, the low end of the nose features a tweaked skidplate to give the Hyundai Palisade a more rugged look.
Around the sides, Hyundai has included new 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, while at the rear, the vertical lighting theme from the front continues with a tweaked vertical taillight design pointing towards a new rear skid plate and squared-off exhaust tips.
The new design is said to be more aerodynamic, despite what the blocky grille would have you think. That nose is there to ease the cooling of the new powertrain, not just to look pretty. Hyundai adjusted the angle of the A-pillar to push air over the body, aided by a new roof spoiler, while wheel deflectors and underbody panels make the Palisade more slippery all over. Complementing the design tweaks is a new color for 2023: Robust Emerald.
Inside, Hyundai has redesigned the seats, with a new Ergo driver's seat intended to reduce fatigue on long family road trips. Other changes up front include a revised dash design with slim horizontal vents, a new instrument cluster design, and an optional full-display digital rearview mirror that can switch between a mirror and a rearview camera.
The Palisade still seats eight as standard, but optional second-row captain's chairs reduce this to seven. In the middle row, wing-out headrests improve comfort, as does available ventilation and new USB-C ports. Accessing the third row is easier than ever with one-touch second-row seats and third-row power folding/unfolding seats with recline function. In a first for Hyundai, the third-row seats can be optioned with heating.
The interior can be upholstered in cloth, leatherette, leather, or premium Nappa leather depending on the trim.
Technological improvements here are vast. Wireless charging gets an upgrade from 5 to 15 watts for faster charging, there are more USB ports, and a rear occupant reminder for kids and pets. The latest version of Hyundai Digital Key is standard, allowing phone-as-key functionality for users with an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, but also allows you to 'share' the key with other users of similar devices.
A Wi-Fi hotspot is included as a first for Hyundai, and updated Bluelink services now include Connected Routing, Last Mile Navigation, and a new user profile feature that can be managed from your phone.
Hyundai has also seen fit to up the safety standards of the flagship SUV. The 2023 Palisade now gets nine standard airbags: dual front, front side, driver knee, side curtain, and rear side-impact airbags.
The Palisade is also more crash-resistant than ever with a slew of active driver assistance systems. Forward collision avoidance, blind-spot collision avoidance, Safe Exit Assist, driver attention warning, high beam assist, navigation-based cruise control, lane following assist, a semi-autonomous highway driving assistant, rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, and remote smart parking assist all form part of the updated SUV's repertoire.
When the 2023 Hyundai Palisade arrives at dealers this summer, it'll be available in five trims. The SE, SEL (available with Premium Package), Limited, and Calligraphy all carry over but are joined by a new trim in the Palisade XRT, while the SEL Convenience has been dropped.
The new XRT joins matching models from the Tucson and Santa Fe model lineups and is designed to give off a more rugged vibe with some unique changes, receiving darker 20-inch wheels, presumably with more outdoorsy tires, redesigned front and rear fascias with accented skid plates, a dark finish for the grille and raised roof rails, and rugged lower door garnish. It'll further be enhanced by a power sunroof and black leatherette seating surfaces.
While Hyundai has yet to announce pricing, the XRT will be a mid-spec model for those with an active lifestyle. However, given the current Palisade's $33,600 starting price, we don't expect too much of a shift in pricing.