When the Hyundai Palisade was introduced in 2020, it almost instantly became a hit with customers and consumers alike. It replaces the Santa Fe XL, which was previously Hyundai’s largest vehicle. The Palisade is easily roomier and more comfortable than the model it replaces, and it is generally a more refined vehicle than the Santa Fe XL. In addition, it comes with the attributes expected of Hyundai vehicles. Hyundai Palisade brought back the Palisade for a second consecutive model year in 2021, with a brand-new model, the Calligraphy, now serving as the top-of-the-line trim level.
Price and Value
The current model year of the Hyundai Palisade starts at a little over $32,000, which is not bad for a midsize crossover SUV with three rows. Since there are now a few used Palisade units in the market from the previous model year, you can get a 2020 vehicle for a few hundred dollars less. However, if you absolutely need a Calligraphy model, then you can choose one of the 2021 models. Whatever you choose, there are plenty of features for each trim.
Size and Seating Capacity
The Hyundai Palisade is designed as a four-door vehicle, with the trunk opening to a cargo volume measured at 18 cubic feet. The third row can be folded down to expand the cargo space into the cabin at 45.8 cubic feet, and both the second and third rows can be folded to maximize the space at 86.4 cubic feet. That is more cargo room than what most other midsize SUVs offer. Passenger volume is measured at 155.3 cubic feet.
Although the Palisade has three rows, go with the base SE trim for a maximum occupancy of eight people. The other three models swap the bench-style second-row seat with a pair of captain’s seats to reduce max seating capacity to seven.
Battery, Range, and Engine Specs
Regardless of the trim and model year you choose, the Hyundai Palisade has a large, 3.8-liter V6 under its hood. This engine produces enough output—measured at 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque—to make the Palisade accelerate with ease. The V6 comes with idle stop technology, which means that it automatically shuts down when you come to a complete stop and turns back on when you resume driving. Consequently, the fuel that is normally burned when at a complete stop is preserved, thereby improving efficiency. The engine is strapped to an eight-speed automatic transmission for smooth shifting due to the relatively high number of gears.
Typically, the V6 engine on the Palisade pushes power to the front wheels. This powertrain and drivetrain setup enables a fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, which is good for a midsize SUV. There’s the option of an all-wheel-drive system on the SEL trim or higher to get all four wheels engaged and perform better on slippery surfaces. Fuel economy only drops by 2 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive.
Trims and Features
The Hyundai Palisade is split into the following trim levels:
SE: The SE comes with cloth-trimmed seats and Rear Seat Quiet Mode technology for muting speakers and promoting a serene experience for rear-seat occupants. The infotainment system uses an 8-inch touchscreen that integrates six speakers, an AM/FM radio tuner with HD Radio digital tuning, Bluetooth hands-free phone calling, and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and five USB ports for playing media from and charging mobile devices. Automatic climate controls are placed in front of the driver and front passenger for them to adjust their heating and cooling preferences. Remote keyless entry enables secure access with key fob button presses.
SEL: The SEL functions as the mid-level Palisade model. Seating and driving accommodations are elevated with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front-seat heating, and eight-way power adjustment on the driver’s seat. Automatic climate controls are added in the second row for rear-seat passengers to have individualized preferences. Remote keyless entry is upgraded to proximity keyless entry to unlock doors by just having the key fob on you, and a push button replaces the ignition next to the steering wheel for more convenient engine starting. The rearview mirror has auto-dimming ability for conquering headlight glare, and a universal transceiver allows you to remote-control garage doors and security systems.
Limited: The Limited is the luxury trim. The seats get Nappa leather seat trim, heating ability is added on the steering wheel and rear seats, cooling ability is added on both front and rear seats, eight-way power adjustment is extended to the front passenger seat, and the driver’s seat has a memory system. Infotainment is bolstered by wireless charging ability, a pair of third-row USB charging-only ports, a trial subscription to SiriusXM Radio, a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound system.
Calligraphy: The Calligraphy, which is new for 2021, displaces the Limited as the top-of-the-line Palisade model. This model stands out with its quilted leather-door panels, rear accent lighting, side-door garnishes, front and rear skid plates for increased undercarriage protection, and side-mirror puddle lights that automatically turn on as you approach the vehicle.
The 2020 Palisade received a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for its performance in the organization’s various crash safety tests. The 2021 edition surpasses that mark with the Top Safety Pick+ stamp, which is the highest possible designation that the IIHS awards. Consequently, the Palisade is one of the safer midsize SUVs around. Even at the base SE trim, the Palisade is loaded with technologies to help prevent crashes; such features include a rearview camera with rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warning, forward collision warning, lane following assist, and lane keeping assist.
Seven airbags—a driver’s knee airbag, two frontal airbags, two side curtain airbags, and two side impact airbags—are in the cabin to provide crash protection. The SEL gets an additional blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and the Limited and Calligraphy tops out safety with a surround-view camera with both front and rear parking sensors, ultrasonic rear occupant alert, and highway drive assist.
The Palisade warranty package consists of a 5-year or 60,000-mile new vehicle warranty, 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 7-year or unlimited-mile anti-perforation warranty, and 5-year or unlimited-mile 24/7 roadside assistance. This warranty coverage is unparalleled in the automotive industry.
Ultimately, the Hyundai Palisade is one of the best midsize crossover rides to consider purchasing—and this is despite the plethora of entries in its class. It simply has a lot going for it. It is Hyundai’s largest vehicle yet, with three rows of seats, loads of standard tech features, and a cabin that you would otherwise expect on some of the most luxurious vehicles around. It also helps that the Palisade is backed by Hyundai’s legendary more-than-generous warranty coverage.