Finally…Hyundai has a full size SUV and we only have one word: YAY!
We have been waiting for this SUV. For a long time. Hyundai dangles a lot of great cars in front of us every year, but those of us who need a third row, one that we can use often, that kids can grow into, that adults can ride comfortably in, have been left out; we had to keep shopping. Hyundai’s only three row SUV, the Santa Fe, just wasn’t large enough for regular third row use.
We are thrilled to finally get a look at the Hyundai Palisade Limited:
Hello Palisade 😊 We’re So Glad You’re Finally Here!
And you’ll be glad, too, if you are in the market for a family car. Family cars, by their nature need to cost less—how do you choose between Taekwondo and Lacrosse when your kids are exceptional at both?— and they are right up Hyundai’s alley: the brand has become known as the more-great-stuff-for-the-money car brand. So a full-size family SUV from Hyundai will pop to the top of your must-see list. And, you won’t be disappointed.
That’s because the fully loaded Palisade is about $47,000 and gets you literally everything you want and need in an 8 passenger SUV (with a couple of exceptions that moms like me will cheer).
A New Model and A New Modern Design … the Future of Hyundai
At the outset the Palisade is notable for its classic SUV shape with a sleek silhouette. On first glance, you’re reminded of one of those European SUVs better known for whisking Victoria Beckham around town or as the backdrop of James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke. But on closer inspection you see that familiar in-motion “H” logo and have to ask, what is this car?
The Palisade combines classic lines and proportions with modern aesthetics and aerodynamics, giving it a refined look and feel. Hyundai’s chief of exterior design, Chris Chapman, took us through the design journey behind the Palisade:
On the inside I really liked the sloped center console that puts all controls at your fingertips, a new staple in some Hyundai models. It has a pushbutton gear selector, which I really like; this cleans up the space and makes room for both an expanded center console and a nook under the console large enough to stow a handbag or small backpack. Huge yay.
From there you’ll notice the 10.25” flat panel infotainment display that extends from the driver’s information screen to the middle of the dashboard. The touch screen infotainment system allows you to customize the apps and set it up how you’d like. You can plug in your phone for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and stash it in the wide center console; to connect you can thread your charge cord through a hole in the console to the storage area underneath, where there are USB and 12V cigarette adapter style ports.
The rest of the cabin features Nappa leather with piping, stitching and ventilation (in the Limited edition; there is cloth or leather seating in the other models), all thoroughly modern touches. And, the microfiber ceiling cover, or headliner, gives you the feeling of riding in a cocoon: quiet, cushy and comfortable.
This SUV Has Literally Everything. Yes, Everything.
In the top of the line Limited edition, that is, which comes in at full price just under $48,000 fully loaded. But even the SE base model is nicely outfitted and the SEL model adds some nice standard features with the option of adding others. The Limited model is priced at $44,700 before adding HTRAC all wheel drive ($1,700) and delivery ($1,045).
Here is what we mean by everything:
- Quilted leather upholstery
- 7 USB ports and a household plug
- 5 child car seat LATCH anchors, including one in the middle seat of the center row bench
- 16 cup holders
- A wireless phone charger
- Oversized console with retractable cup holders (and the wireless phone charger)—I LOVED this feature
- A space UNDER the center console where you can store a handbag, small backpack or laptop
- Heated and cooled front and second row seats
- Captains chairs or a center row bench (your choice)
- Dual sun roof
- Head up display
- Surround view camera
- Top of the line advanced safety features
- Wireless Advanced customizable infotainment system—organize the apps how you like
- Easy to move and use push-button controlled center row and third row seats
- Rear seat reminder that uses ultrasonic detection to alert you if there is movement in the car after you’ve locked and left with the key (a Bluelink subscription is required for this feature to work)
- Built in grab bars and foot steps for getting into the third row
The only things not included—and if you’re trying to wean your kids from their electronics in the car you’ll be pleased—is an in-car entertainment system and wifi. I was the unpopular one in my household when I vetoed the in-car entertainment system; we opted for iPads instead, which meant we could easily limit screen time in the car (as in… no cartoons on the way to school!) and then allow it when it made sense. And, with an iPad or phones and your own wifi hotspot, anyone who wants to stream, can.
It’s Like the Folks at Hyundai Have Families, Too
Silly as it seems, it’s taken a while for car designers to start designing cars as if they live in them, too (or at least it seems that way sometimes). Adding convenience features like handles and steps that make getting in and out of the third row easier and buttons that slide the center seats forward and fold or unfold the third row is great.
And flexible cup holders. And a USB port for every passenger. And a place to put your handbag.
It’s these little things and more that will put the Palisade at the top of your must-see list; they include:
- Center row seats that recline
- All wheel drive that is designed specifically for snowy and icy road conditions
- Three child passenger car seat LATCHes, including one in the second row so you can put the baby in the middle seat;
- Lots of charging options including a household plug, a Qi wireless charge pad and seven USB ports – one for everyone – with two that are smartly embedded in the back of the front seats and two in the third row
- Ample cargo room behind the third row
- A roof rack
- You can go far between fill-ups with 18.8 gallon fuel tank and estimated MPG of 19 city/26 highway; we averaged 24 MPG on our test drive
- Tow capacity (5,000 lbs) so your car can do the daily round trips to school as well as the weekend/vacation/road trip haul
The Palisade Drive Experience
This doesn’t disappoint, either. The Palisade’s V6 291 horsepower engine is quick and agile for a car this size, and with standard or available driver assistance features like adaptable cruise control and lane keep assist, it wasn’t as stressful to drive in traffic as you might think; it was easy to relax behind the wheel. And, you can even set it to adjust your speed based on the speed limit; reading the speed limits reported by GPS, the car can automatically adjust when you enter a new speed zone. Don’t you love this for teen drivers?
Last to the Market… But Saving the Best for Last?
We are thrilled to finally have a full-size SUV from Hyundai. It is a much needed addition to the family. But it has a lot of competition. When taking a test drive you’ll immediately get inflections of classics like Toyota Highlander, Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, as well as newcomers Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Telluride. And while it might be a latecomer to this market, Hyundai took the opportunity to not only think through all the things that buyers of large SUVs want and need, but to think through how to do them really well. And as your mother probably told you, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Clearly, Hyundai was listening to Mom, too.
What We Listened to in the Hyundai Palisade
Music matters. A lot. This is what the Harman/Kardon team recommended we listen to, and we liked it!
Disclosure: I was Hyundai’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided, though all opinions are my own.