This summer Hyundai dealerships started showcasing the new mid-size, three-row 2020 Palisade replacing the popular top trim Santa Fe XL to now become Hyundai’s flagship mid-size SUV.
Palisade becomes a formidable entry in the SUV automotive wars, by combining enough price, interior ergonomics/style/space, safety options and peppy performance to entice buyer attention.
However, like most similarly equipped mid-size SUV brands - Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer - options are needed to maximize Palisade’s attributes.
Palisade and Honda Pilot have the lowest base price.
Our test drive added five options totaling $6,910 in a seven-passenger Palisade SEL AWD - middle between SE and Limited trims. An optional second row bench seats eight.
Options added 20-inch wheels, Hyundai Smart Sense top safe driving aids, extra USB outlets, Nappa leather seating, reclining third-row seats, a sunroof, 10.25 inch dashboard touchscreen, remote start and intercom to talk to third row occupants or pipe in radio.
Neat functions include one-touch movable second row seats for access, alert for opening rear doors if traffic is seen approaching, reclining third row and alert to check back seats for occupants.
Outside, the all-new exterior design sports a massive pinched cascading grille, side roof rails, muscular wheel arches, running boards, a steady beltline, large windows, and minimal chrome for a tasteful, stylish look.
Bigger than the Santa Fe XL - 3 inches longer, more than 3.5 inches wider and a 4-inch longer wheelbase – creates 18 cubic feet for cargo behind the third row and 46 cubic feet of space with rear seats folded.
A smooth ride came courtesy of a wider front and rear suspension and best-in-class torsional rigidity, helping stability and reducing lean in turns. Top crash safety scores are expected. Mimicking Kia Telluride’s 3.6-liter engine and 8-speed automatic transmission with manual paddles, acceleration is quick and responsive. Mileage is good for the weight.
There are five drive modes and 9.7 inches of ground clearance allows mild off-roading.
Palisade’s cabin is elegant with quality materials, rich infotainment access, wood grain trim, ample space everywhere, seven USB ports, 16 cupholders, ample storage space and a conversation mirror for rear seat monitoring.
When equipped, Palisade can tow 5,000 pounds.
Android Auto and Auto CarPlay replace the CD player and Bluetooth functions are enhanced. Visors extend and there is an underbody spare tire. Hyundai’s warranty is top tier.
LIKE: Mileage, configuration versatility, visibility, spacious cabin/cargo area, good voice recognition.
DISLIKE: Start/stop delay, tight third row seating, some wind noise.
BOTTOM LINE: Destined to be big seller with safety, luxury features in fiercely competitive market niche.
2020 HYUNDAI PALISADE SEL AWD
Base price w/destination fee: $36,245 ($43,155 as tested)
Curb weight: 4,284 lbs.
Wheelbase: 114.2 inches
Length: 196.1 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Engine specs: 3.8-liter, V-6
Horsepower: 291-hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 262-lbs.-ft.@5,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/Shiftronic
EPA rating: 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy
Range: 18.8-gallons, regular gas
Performance: 0-60 in roughly 7 seconds