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2020 Hyundai Palisade First Drive Review: A medium-sized SUV that is of great value



  2020 Hyundai Palisade

Well, hi there, beautiful.


Emme Hall / Roadshow

The 2020 Hyundai
Palisade gives a strong first impression. Even before you get behind the wheel of this three-row, medium-sized SUV, the Palisade strikes a striking figure on the road. It's good as Hyundai considers the Palisade to be its flagship SUV ̵

1; larger than the three-row Santa Fe XL and aimed at families with older children and lots of gear.

Unlike 2020 Kia Telluride as Palisade shares the majority of its bases, Hyundai is more graceful than robust. A sophisticated headlight signature initially takes your attention with available LEDs. A body color C column divides the greenhouse under a slightly sloping roof that blends into vertically oriented taillights, also available with LED bulbs. Optional 20-inch wheels complete the urban look.

Enter, and the exclusive trend continues with available leather seats and a layout that is both beautiful and functional. My tester has open pore wood trim and diamond connector seats and door inserts. A large review between the front seats is large enough to hold a bag, tablet and a few snacks. Overall fit and finish are excellent and everything you touch feels really premium. Compared to a rival like Ford Explorer the charged Palisade feels like stepping into St. Regis hotel compared to Ford's Holiday Inn feel.


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Comfort and convenience features are in high supply. The upper trim level even gets heated and ventilated rear seats – the latter is a rarity and not just at this price point. A new air conditioner can diffuse air to the passenger seat instead of adjusting a flow of air flow. Parents can even reinforce their voice to backpack riders just if the kids start arguing over who gets the last Capri Sun. If your little daffodils fall asleep during a road trip, a silent mode can deactivate the sound of the rear speakers.

Second row of seats slides forward with a push of a button, and it is not difficult to climb into the road – back. Having said that, it is difficult for adults to push through the small opening and the legroom is a bit of a problem. Fortunately, riders can put the third row back, which higher passengers will appreciate.

Palisade can place eight people in its default configuration, or seven, if you choose second-place captain's chairs. Fold these slots flat and you'll find 86.4 cubic meters of space, which is more than what you get in 2019 Honda Pilot
and 2020 Toyota Highlander . Hyundai offers a selectable rear tailgate that can open or close in as little as 4.5 seconds. It may not sound impressive, but when you are in the rain with shopping bags, this lifting port cannot rise fast enough.

Premium materials are available throughout the cabin.


Emme Hall / Roadshow

Infotainment tasks are handled by a new 10.2-inch upper-end touchscreen – an 8-inch display is standard – home to Hyundai's latest Blue Link multimedia interface. I find Blue Link to be a little disorganized in its layout and want me to have a center console mounted dial to control it, as some of the buttons are a little small. With Blue Link I notice that I myself take my eyes off the road for too long to make sure I press the right feature.

Blue Link is still super-functional, with dual Bluetooth connectivity, so one of you can control the songs while the other manages the calls. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard and my tester has seven USB Type-A ports, three 12-volt outputs and a 115-volt, 150-watt, 3-pole outlet. Wireless charging is also available. If one of your units ever dies, it's your own damn error.

Hyundai will offer Palisade in SE, SEL or Limited trims, and even the base model comes with features. Standard kits include forward-looking collision driving with pedestrian registration, lane holding assistant, adaptive cruise control, lane-following assistant and a luggage elevator so you never forget a child or pet in the back seat.

The second row of captain's chairs has free heating and cooling. Nice!


Emme Hall / Roadshow

Higher trim levels come with Hyundai's Highway Drive Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed limit adjustment for hand-drive driving. While testing Palisade in rural Idaho, Highway Drive Assist works beautifully, keeping the crossover centered in its orbit, lowering and accelerating as needed. Having said that, the speed limitation function only works on the interstate and the information is stored in the GPS itself – this is not a sign reading system. You need to adjust the speed yourself if you have to slow down construction zones.

Another great bit of technical assistance from the driver is the upgraded higher trimmer blank monitor, which promotes a camera feed from each side of the car on the 12.3-inch digital measurement cluster when you activate a swing signal. Sure, I have good big exterior mirrors to use, but when it comes time to quickly change tracks in this 16 foot SUV, I'm happy to get the extra views.

We got a previous drive from Palisade in Korea with a 2.2 liter turbo diesel engine, but here in the US, every Palisade is powered by a 3.8 liter V6 engine, with 291 horsepower and 262 pound-foot torque. This V6 is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the gearshift is a simple row of buttons instead of a traditional PRNDL shifter.

Front wheel drive is standard, but Hyundai's HTRAC full-wheel drive is optional. Six different drive modes can change the drive experience a bit, with Eco, Smart, Comfort, Sport, Snow and AWD Lock at your disposal. Moving between comfort and sports, things are a little more engaging in the latter mode, with snappies shifting from the transmission and improved gas response. Of course, this does not just make the Palisade a sporty SUV. Keep things in the Smart, and the Palisade will adapt to your driving style.

The 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 may not be as modern as minor shear, turbocharged engines, but I never feel the palisade lacks power. From the highway merge to pass, or just accelerate away from a light, the SUV has ample shallows.

With regard to fuel economy, front driving Palisades is estimated to return 22 miles per gallon combined, while all wheel versions knock it down a little. This puts Palisade closer to the center of the package, where most competitors send better numbers.

Should you have to pull with the Palisade, Hyundai says it can close about 5,000 pounds. There is even a self-leveling rear spring tension available that keeps the ride high, no matter how much extra weight is attached to the back.

An available 10.25-inch touch screen runs Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system.


Emme Hall / Roadshow

The best thing about 2020 Palisade is that it comes below $ 32,000 to start. Even a loaded limited with all-wheel drive tops out at $ 46,400, not including $ 1,045 for destination. A similarly equipped Honda Pilot or Volkswagen Atlas will cost at least $ 3,000 more.

With the Americans gobbling across and SUV's left and right, Palisade is sure to resonate well with customers. It's an eye-catching SUV with lots of luxury and convenience features, and it's also a super-strong value proposition.


Editor's note: Travel costs associated with this feature were covered by the manufacturer. It is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists. While Roadshow accepts several days of vehicle loan from manufacturers to deliver scored editorial reviews, all scored car reviews are done on our turf and on our terms.

Judges and statements from Roadshows editorial team are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.


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