2023 Hyundai Palisade 3 Row SUV Gets Makeover – Not Needed, but Welcome!

The Hyundai Palisade got a makeover for 2023; other than the stellar new front grille, changes are subtle. Here's what's new, what's better, and what didn't change!

Posing With The 2023 Hyundai Palisade Featured Image
Posing with the 2023 Hyundai Palisade featured image

The nips and tucks are subtle, but good.

It can be hard to tell what’s new in the 2023 Hyundai Palisade with the exception of a new front face on this super popular 3 row SUV. Though that part is very welcome. 

If you were one of those on the Hyundai Palisade/Kia Telluride fence, this makes it much easier to say “Palisade!” That’s because the new grille is updated and modern — not that the grille on the first generation of this car was ugly, it just wasn’t as cool looking as the Telluride’s wide, sporty front grille. 

But now, it is. The new face of the Palisade is anchored by a chunky mesh grille that seems inspired by the stainless steel links of a watch band, giving it heft and elegance.

Related: Family Adventure is a Bit More Luxe in the 2020 Hyundai Palisade 7 Seater SUV

The Panoramic Sunroof Has Two Panels And Lets In A Lot Of Light

The panoramic sunroof has two panels and lets in a lot of light, which makes these Nappa seats look extra luxe. Photo: Scotty Reiss

More Elegance Awaits, Especially at the Top End

From there, the makeover includes some goodies such as a wifi hotspot, USB-C ports and every model gets the brand’s top of the line 12.3” display screen. And, Hyundai has upgraded the phone as key feature, Digital Key, which now works with Apple iPhone as well as Android phones. And this is big news: iPhone (as well as Apple Watch users) can now use the digital key to unlock, start, drive, lock and hand off the key to someone else, all with the app (before these functions were limited to Android phones only). 

Related: Kia Telluride vs. Hyundai Palisade: These 3-row SUVs Are HOT

Wing Out Head Rests In The Calligraphy Edition Create A First Class Experience

Wing out head rests in the Calligraphy edition create a first class experience. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Other changes are seen in the top end Limited and Calligraphy models. They now have heated third row seats that recline, premium center row headrests that fold out to cradle your head, the way airline headrests do, and the Calligraphy model sports an “ergo motion” massage seat for the driver. It’s activated by a discreet little button on the driver’s seat control panel and you might want to sneak that one in; only the driver gets this feature. 

Calligraphy models also feature a live view rearview mirror, a nice addition especially when you have a full load of people or stuff.

One note for buyers: No wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; you have to use a USB port for these features. The new 12.3″ multimedia screen is Hyundai’s top of the line model and while this is great, it can’t accommodate wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Yes, wireless Apple CarPlay is soooo convenient. However, I always plug in my phone with a USB cord when I get into the car, and I’ve made it a habit so my phone is always charging. The wireless phone charge pad is good, but not yet great; it charges slowly and I usually need a full charge to my phone when I get out of the car.

Related: 9 of the Best 3 Row SUVs – From Luxury to Affordable

Drive Mode Selector In The Htrac Models

Drive mode selector in the HTRAC models. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The New XRT Trim Inspires Adventure

Then, the Palisade goes sporty with a dark version of the grille in the XRT trim. This model takes all the most popular features and sports them up a bit: the dark grille, dark 20” wheels, roof rails and skid plates. In all, the XRT is designed to put owners in an adventure state of mind.  

And, with Hyundai’s HTRAC all wheel drive system, you can. It’s designed for light off roading with the wheel lock mode (the button at the center of the drive mode selector). If you are thinking of going off road, the XRT model is ideal thanks to the skid plates, a must if you might ever drive over something that could damage the car’s underside.

Related: 2020 Kia Telluride SX 3-Row SUV: Bespoke Details at an Off-the-Rack Price

The Third Row Access Is Push Button!

The third row access is push button! Plus, there’s a step and handle to make getting into the third row easy (it is, I tried it!). Photo: Scotty Reiss

But the Best Features are Untouched

And that’s the magic behind this update; all the good stuff remains just as good as ever: 

  • The cabin is still open and airy, and there’s still a cubby under the center console where you can store a small handbag or other gear
  • The center console is huge, holding a wireless phone charge pad and retractable cup holders
  • Rear seat leg room is great. Plenty of room for tall gals or large kids car seats
  • The 6 cylinder engine is the same. You still get 291 horsepower and 5,000 lbs. of tow capacity.
  • You still get center row captains chairs or a center row bench, and they are very well designed; the center row seats can accommodate a child passenger car seat and still slide forward to allow plenty of room to access the third row 
  • Second and third row seats are push-button activated (Limited and Calligraphy models). Center seats can be folded flat from the center or the rear cargo area; third row seats can be folded flat or restored upright from a button pad in the cargo area
  • There’s additional space under the cargo floor
  • There’s a spare tire under the rear cargo area (you reach it from the underside of the car)

And, the Hyundai Palisade is still a joy to drive. It’s easy to maneuver, even making u-turns; it gets up to speed quickly and you don’t feel the heft of all that passenger and cargo space behind you. It’s just lovely to command from the driver’s seat. 

The Rear End Of The Hyundai Palisade

The rear end of the Hyundai Palisade. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What This Car Costs

Well, that’s the not so great news: the price went up a bit, from about $1,350 at the base model to about $2,000 for the Calligraphy model. But, if you want the new look and new features, it’s worth it. If you don’t care, there are still a few 2022 models out there. 

Here’s how pricing shakes out:

  • SE edition, with 8 passenger seating, 12.3” multimedia screen, Hyundai Smart Sense driver assistance and safety package (blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, pre-emergency crash assist and more), USB-C ports and safe exit assist, which lets you know if you’re about to open the door into oncoming traffic, $34,950
  • SEL edition, which adds leatherette seats, hands-free tailgate and heated power front seats, $37,950
  • SEL Premium which adds premium tech and options, $42,900
  • XRT edition, which adds dark metal trim, skid plates and roof rails, $40,250
  • Limited edition, which adds the panoramic sunroof, leather seats, folding third row seats and head up display, $46,500
  • Calligraphy edition with Nappa leather seats, 20” wheels, massaging driver seat, remote Smart Park assist, live rearview mirror and heated third row seats, $48,900 
  • HTRAC all wheel drive system, $1,900
  • Delivery charge: $1,295
Cargo Space With The Third Row Folded Flat

Cargo space with the third row folded flat. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Thinking of Buying a Used Palisade? Here’s Why You Should (or Maybe Not)! 

For all the luxuries and conveniences Hyundai delivers in the Palisade, it’s not surprising that most customers buy one of the top trims and fill it with kids. That means if you’re looking at a used Palisade, chances are it’ll have a lot of goodies. But chances are also that it’s had more than a few spilled juice boxes, and even after having it detailed, you might still find Goldfish under the seats (maybe you’ll even find my daughter’s iPod…).

But with the updates and despite a slight price increase, the Palisade poses a good question for families in the market for a 3-row SUV with all the features they need: the updated Palisade with a modern new face and some great new technology? Or the tried and true OG model that was great out of the gate? It’s a tough question that either way ends in a happy answer.

Disclosure: I was Hyundai’s guest for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

Buttons The Cargo Space Wall Give You Quick Access To Folded Rear Seats

Buttons on the cargo space wall give you quick access to folded rear seats. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss