One simple change was all it took.
The Hyundai Palisade has been somewhat revolutionary for the Korean brand, allowing it to conquer the three-row midsize SUV market like never before. Despite smelly seats putting a damper on buyers' spirits, sales have been higher than ever in the last few months. For 2021, Hyundai made the lineup even better, introducing a new Calligraphy trim to sit at the top of the trim roster and act as a semi-luxury model to cater to those who won't be able to stretch for a new Genesis GV80. At $47,750, the Palisade Calligraphy represented quite the luxury package at an affordable price, but a report from CarsDirect suggests a new FWD derivative will slash that price by $1,700.
While there is nothing official on the topic from Hyundai, a new order guide reveals that the Calligraphy will ditch standard AWD, defaulting to FWD as the rest of the lineup does. This would bring the luxurious model's starting MSRP down to $46,050, making it easier to attain, but also far less capable. It makes sense, however, since not everyone needs AWD. Those in the more southern states don't encounter snow as much, so for the most part, FWD is perfectly adequate. Of course, it's not just a driven axle that is lost but also accompanying features like Snow Mode and downhill brake control that are equipped with the HTRAC system.
In our books, this move is a smart one from Hyundai, as the FWD Calligraphy will still retain all its luxury features, including stylish 20-inch alloy wheels, quilted leather door panels, microsuede headlining, and a perforated leather steering wheel. What doesn't change is the 3.8-liter V6 engine developing 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and the eight-speed automatic transmission found as standard across the entire lineup.
There's no word when the news will be officially announced, but it appears the FWD Calligraphy will be available to order as a 2021 year model. We expect the affordable model will drive sales even higher than they already have been.