Pros-New model. Bold styling. Roomy. Upscale. Three-row seating. Strong V-6. Easy handling. AWD. High-tech features.
Cons-_Mechanically similar to corporate sibling Kia Telluride. Third-row entry tough for larger adults. Average fuel economy.
Bottom Line-Touches all bases.
The new boldly styled 2020 Palisade is Hyundai's flagship model, although it shares mechanical underpinnings with the popular but less lavish Kia Telluride, its corporate sibling.
Styling is a matter of taste, but some may feel the Palisade's front styling is too aggressive and should be more elegant for an upscale flagship model.
The Telluride is made in America, but the Palisade comes from South Korea. But no matter, the mid-size Palisade SUV has front- or available AWD and has such things as a strong V-6, almost car-like handling, decent three-row seating for up to eight and comes in a variety of models that list from $31,550 to the top line $46,400 Limited AWD model I tested.
The third-row seat is difficult for large adults to enter despite the fact that the second-row seat slides forward to provide easier access to it and is marginally comfortable-unlike the excellent first- and second-row seats. But the reclining third row is powered for easy operation to enlarge the cargo area and offers good legroom if second-row occupants are willing to move their seat (captain's chairs for the Limited) up a bit.
This is an impressively roomy vehicle with many cabin storage areas and cupholders (16 in all) throughout. The third row robs cargo room when in its normal position but I found it can store a week's worth of groceries through its power hatch. Fold both it and the second row seat forward and it almost seems like you've got pickup truck cargo room. As a bonus, the cargo floor behind the third row has a fairly large covered storage bin.
It's quiet in there with no road or wind noise, thanks to such things as front and rear wheel deflectors, a tunnel undercover and lots of sound insulation.
All Palisade's have a strong 3.8-liter 291-horsepower V-6 with 262 pound/feet of torque that provides strong city and highway acceleration, at least with just a driver aboard. You may want to test the Palisade when it's loaded with people and cargo. The Palisade is 196.1 inches long and seems large for a mid-size SUV. It weighs up to 4,387 pounds with seven passengers and up to 4,284 pounds with eight occupants.
Estimated fuel economy is 19 city and 26 highway for front-drive models and 19 and 24 with all-wheel drive. The fuel tank can swallow 18.8 gallons, and a stop-and-go feature shuts off the engine to save fuel if the Palisade in stuck, say, at a railroad crossing by a freight train.
The engine works with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddles that allow manual shifting. Various drive modes from "Eco" to "Sport" and even "Snow" can be called up with a console dial. Sport mode tightens things up for slightly sportier driving, although "Normal" is the best mode for general use. Large console buttons allow easy transmission shifting and park functions.
Steering and handling are good, and the ride is smooth, as is brake pedal action. Helping keep things steady on sweeping curves are wide tires on large 20-inch wheels and the advanced AWD multi-mode system that provides an electric, variable torque split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles.
A $2,200 option package contains an automatic self-leveling rear suspension to prevent a loaded Palisade Limited to look like its rear end isn't even with the front.
The upscale, heavily sound-proofed interior has easily read gauges, and the dashboard is loaded with control buttons for a variety of functions including activating a heated steering wheel. However, the classy looking dashboard has some silver-plated switches that obscure their markings because Hyundai is really striving for a glamorous Palisade interior. And the pushbutton starter is a little difficult to read because it's partly obscured by the steering wheel rim. That's something that may annoy some drivers every time they start the Palisade.
The Limited has front and rear sunroofs and all the comforts of an upscale vehicle, such as quilted Nappa leather seating surfaces, attractive soft-touch materials, heated and ventilated first and second-row seats, dual automatic temperature control, premium audio system, 7 USB outlets, 115-volt AC power outlet, wireless phone charger, Android Apple and Apple CarPlay, rear-seat quiet mode and an audio and navigation display via a 10.25-inch touchscreen in a widescreen format.
An industry first is a new roof vent diffuser design that can provide a focused, partly-diffused stream of air to rear passengers.
"High tech" is associated with "upscale," as are advanced safety features, important to the family oriented folks who are in the market for a vehicle such as the Palisade. This Hyundai thus has a full suite of electronic driver aids and safety systems. They include forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian protection, lane-following assist, ultrasonic rear occupant alert, blind spot collision avoidance assist, safe-exit assist to prevent an occupant from opening a door and getting clobbered by oncoming traffic.
There's also smart cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-following assist, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and blind-spot collision avoidance, smart cruise control with stop-and-go and surround view and blind spot monitors.
Hyundai doesn't seem to have missed a trick with the new Palisade Limited AWD, and it seems more than reasonably priced for what a buyer gets.