NEW PALISADE SUV LOOKS LIKE
A WINNER FOR HYUNDAI FOR 2020
The good reception that Hyundai’s earlier ventures into the three-row SUV segment (Santa Fe XL, Veracruz) received never really translated into much of the way of overall success in the market, but that may be changing, and soon.
There's no guarantee of that, of course, but the 2020 Hyundai Palisade’s combination of good looks and functionality will even appeal to those who customarily browse luxury showrooms. It’s a high-class vehicle!
Hyundai touts its newest flagship SUV as the “ultimate family vehicle for practical, comfortable daily use” as well as the more adventurous road trips. It replaces the Santa Fe XL (2012 was the last model year for the Veracruz) as the company’s offering in three-row segment with more space for both passengers and cargo.
The Palisade’s wheelbase has greater length and a longer wheelbase than the 2019 Santa Fe XL, checking in at 196.1 inches and 114.2 inches, respectively, to the outgoing Santa Fe’s 193.1 and 110.2.
Thus passengers in the third row get more leg and shoulder room in the Palisade over the Santa Fe XL, and riders in all three rows get more head, leg and shoulder room.
The Palisade also excels when it comes to cargo space, offering a generous 18.0 cubic feet behind the third row, 45.8 behind the second, and 86.4 being the front row.
That solves the dilemma common to many three-row SUVs of having to decide what stuff you will have to leave behind to accommodate a vacation-bound seven- or eight-passenger load.
The Palisade is offered in three trim levels (SE, SEL, and Limited) with a 3.8-liter V6 engine under the hood that offers 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
That engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear selection and four driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Smart) with a fifth (Snow) offered in all-wheel drive models.
Fuel economy numbers are average for the class at 19 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway, with all-wheel drive and 19/26 with front-wheel drive. Overall performance is more than up to everyday demands, and never in the week that I drove it did I find myself thinking, “I wish this had more power.”
The ride is firm, but comfortable and relatively quiet, and the Palisade handled our neighborhood’s speed bumps with ease and confidence.
The Palisade also is strong in creature comforts with a wealth of safety and technological features like forward collision assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, rear parking distance warning, trailer sway control (towing capacity with trailer brakes is 5,000 pounds), projector headlamps with LED accents, LED daytime running lights, high beam assist, rear spoiler, privacy glass, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, lane-following assist, Bluetooth hands-free phone with wireless audio system, rear-view parking monitor with guidelines, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on all trims.
The top-of-the-line Limited trim (the preferred model in the lineup) is especially loaded with goodies like Nappa leather seating surfaces, heated and ventilated front and second-row seats limiting capacity to 7 instead of 8), power-folding third-row seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation and traffic flow, a Harman Kardon premium audio system, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with 4-way power lumbar, blind spot monitor, surround view monitor, heads-up display, wireless charging, and Hyunda’s Blue Link system.
Captain’s chairs in the second row (standard on the Limited, optional on the SEL) reduce capacity to seven passengers instead of eight.
All that runs the Limited’s MSRP up to $47,605 including $1,045 for destination and delivery and $160 for carpeted floor mats. That’s a pretty good jump over the starting price for the SE ($32,595) and SEL ($34,545).
One interesting feature I should mention. New this year is a Blind Spot Avoidance Assist system that projects side views of adjacent lanes in the instrument panel in the spots for the speedometer and tachometer when the corresponding turn signal is activated.
Some reviewers have found the system a bit distracting, but it’s a great feature when used correctly.
What I liked about the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited: This could be a very long list because there is a lot to like here, starting with the user-friendly infotainment system. Hyundai long ago made that a trademark for its products. The Blind Spot Avoidance System is an interesting innovation. It gives you another look for potential vehicles riding in your blind spot.
What I didn't like about the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited: I had to think long and hard on this one, and probably the one thing I could come up with is that the buttons in the middle of the center stack to select radio, navigation, etc. can be hard to read depending on the lighting. I’m also not sure I like the push buttons for selecting gears for the transmission. They seem to require a bit more pressure than expected and at times it can be easy to leave your vehicle in drive when you think you have punched in reverse.
Would I buy the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited? In a heartbeat. The Limited version can be rather expensive, but it is worth everything you pay for. But the SEL version seems well-equipped and starts at $11,200 less than the Limited giving you some leeway with options.