Palisade

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2022 Hyundai Palisade Test Drive Review

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade offers a spacious, attractive form of family transportation with impressive features all around.

8.5 /10
Overall Score

This three-row crossover SUV sports a 3.8-liter V6 engine with direct gasoline injection, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive (FWD) or available all-wheel drive (AWD). The Palisade starts at $33,600 with FWD and $35,300 with AWD.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

The Palisade joined the Hyundai lineup for the 2020 model year, replacing the Santa Fe XL as the brand's SUV flagship. Hyundai has had a bit of a rotation going through the flagship position over the years, with the Santa Fe, Veracruz, and Santa Fe XL taking turns. The Palisade now stands atop a broad lineup of crossovers and SUVs, including the Venue, Kona, Tucson and (non-XL) Santa Fe, with the battery-electric Ioniq 5 and hydrogen fuel-cell Nexo thrown in for good measure.

The Palisade presents an elegant, striking exterior design. While it was possible to criticize earlier Hyundai designs for being derivative or unimaginative, the Palisade can shed the past with an easy shrug. It has distinctive lines and shapes, from its prominent grille to the crisp shoulder lines to its tasteful tailgate. A thoughtful mix of planes and curves, highlighted by the sculpted wheel arches, adds visual interest to the SUV's profile. A provocative continuous strip of glass surfaces run from C-pillar around the tailgate to the opposite C-pillar, giving the impression of a floating rear roof and rendering the D-pillar invisible from the outside. Pronounced taillights (LED on Limited and Calligraphy, available as LED on SEL) add interest and high visibility from the rear and sides. Expressive LED headlights, LED running lights, and LED accents provide a signature look up front. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard on SE and SEL models. Take away the Hyundai badge up front, and the Palisade could easily slip into the Infiniti lineup—that's a compliment.

Inside, things are similarly elegant and polished. A horizontally arrayed screen (8 inches in SE and SEL models; 10.25-inches in Limited and Calligraphy models) lives at the top of the center stack, attached to the instrument panel binnacle. The beefy center console anchors the dash. High-quality materials and finishes adorn every surface. The second row of seating is either a roomy bench in the SE (optional in the SEL) or a pair of captain's chairs in the SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy. The third row is spacious enough for two adults for a short ride or anytime for up to three kids.

Fit and finish inside and out is at near-luxury levels. The Palisade is a worthy flagship in design and execution. Our test vehicle, a top-of-the-line Calligraphy model, was truly stunning in a coat of Steel Graphite paint and black interior combination.

Performance

8/ 10

At a time when new vehicles trend toward electrification and turbocharging, the Palisade arrives with a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 gasoline engine, almost a throwback choice in this age of prolific turbocharged engines. The V6 does get gasoline direct injection and dual variable valve timing, squeezing greater power and efficiency out of its regular unleaded fuel. Additionally, the V6 is Atkinson-cycle-capable—a tactic used by many hybrid powertrains to save gas—and has auto-stop-and-go settings to reduce idle time (and save even more gas).

Still, the EPA estimates Palisade FWD models can achieve up to 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined, and AWD models come with 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined estimates—not among the leaders in the class.

The tradeoff for the middling efficiency is power. The 3.8-liter unit in the Palisade produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and since there's no turbo or supercharger to spool up, there's no lag. The V6 engine note is a bonus—not quite the V8 burble of yore, but a baritone rumble you'll never get with an inline-four-cylinder. Hyundai doesn't quote a zero-to-60 mph time for the Palisade, but our seat-of-the-pants estimate says this SUV is more than quick enough for family use.

At 4,127 pounds to 4,387 pounds (depending on configuration), the Palisade is not a heavyweight for its size. It handles nicely, thanks to four-wheel independent suspension (MacPherson struts front/multi-link rear) and stabilizer bars at both ends. SEL Convenience trim levels and above get a self-leveling suspension system as well.

The Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds using trailer brakes or up to 1,650 pounds without.

Form and Function

8/ 10

As a minivan replacement, the Palisade has responsibilities throughout the cabin. Starting in the third row, it delivers comfortable seating and easy access, along with cupholders on each side. The second-row captain's chairs are deliciously comfortable, and though we didn't test the available second-row bench seat, it has ample legroom and headroom, too. Door panels can swallow bottles, cupholders add convenience, and seatback pockets will handle a tablet or two. The front row has even more storage, including two compartments in the center console, a locking glove box, and door panel bottle holders.

Luggage space behind the third row measures up at 18.0 cubic feet. Fold down the third row, and you've opened up 45.8 cubic feet of space. With both second and third rows folded flat, a cavern of 86.4 cubic feet becomes available. An underfloor storage compartment adds a few extra cubic feet, too. If you need to carry more, the roof rails can hold up to 220 pounds of cargo.

Hyundai has settled on a compact shift-by-wire setup for its gear selector, which takes the form of four buttons on the center console. Park is set off to the left, and Reverse, Neutral, and Drive are in a vertical line beside it. The unfamiliar setup takes some time to get used to but works well and takes up minimal space. An intuitive mode selector for the AWD system (when equipped) is just to the right. Other controls, buttons, and knobs cluster logically and become second nature to engage after a few days of driving. Hard knobs for audio volume and radio tuning are well-placed and much appreciated.

A conventional sunroof is standard on the SEL trim, and a dual-panel version comes standard on the Limited and Calligraphy. The dual-panel sunroof substantially improves the ambiance in the second and third rows and could be a reason to step up to the upper trim levels for some buyers.

The Limited and Calligraphy trim levels get some of the high-end luxury features buyers love, like rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, premium Nappa leather upholstery, quilted door panels, memory for the driver's seat, power-folding third-row seats, hands-free liftgate and more.

Tech Level

8/ 10

Hyundai has evolved into a leader in technology in its cars, and in many ways, the Palisade is a showcase.

The standard display audio system on S and SEL models uses an 800 x 480 resolution screen. In contrast, the standard system on the Limited and Calligraphy models (optional on SEL) gets a 1920 x 720 color touchscreen and 630-watt Harman Kardon premium audio with 12 speakers, QuantumLogic surround sound, and Clari-Fi music restoration technology. Clari-Fi does a fantastic job of improving the sound of low-resolution mp3 files and similar digital content and is a must for anyone who cares about audio quality.

The infotainment system includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, and satellite radio. Up to two devices can be connected to the system at once. Three USB ports live in the first row, two in the second row, and (in Limited and Calligraphy models) two more in the third row. A Qi wireless device charging pad lives conveniently in the center console (standard in Limited and Calligraphy; optional in SEL). Four total 12-volt power outlets exist around the cabin, and a 115-volt power outlet comes standard on Limited and Calligraphy models (optional on SEL). A rear-view monitor with parking guidance is standard on all models, with surround view function on Limited and Calligraphy. Limited and Calligraphy add a standard head-up display for the driver.

Hyundai's Blue Link connected car system is standard on the upper trim levels and optional on SEL. It comes with an app that enables remote engine start and other functions, as well as remote vehicle monitoring. Remote keyless entry is standard on all models, with a proximity key and push-button start standard on SEL and above. Limited and Calligraphy models get a trick 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster replacing the analog gauges and 7-inch LCD multi-information display available on the SEL and the standard monochromatic multi-information display on SE and SEL models. The digital cluster integrates with the turn signals and blind-spot monitor cameras, projecting the view from the appropriate side camera when the turn signal is engaged.

Safety

9/ 10

Hyundai is deservedly proud of its safety reputation, earned by upgrading to a comprehensive list of standard and available passive and available features in all of its vehicles, including the Palisade.

Passive safety features include seven airbags (driver, front passenger, driver and front passenger side-impact, driver knee, and side air curtains), three-point seat belts for all seating positions, LATCH anchors and tethers, active head restraints, a power window lock-out button, rear child-safety locks, a front crumple zone, 2.5-mph bumpers, bodyside reinforcements, electronic shift-lock system, anti-theft system integrated with the remote keyless entry and panic alarm, and an immobilizer.

Standard active safety and advanced driver assistance features include anti-lock braking, electronic stability control with traction control and brake assist, vehicle stability management, a tire pressure monitoring system with individual tire indicator, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, reverse parking distance warning, rear occupant alert, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-following assist, safe exit assist, and trailer sway control. Forward-looking parking sensors, ultrasonic rear occupant alert, and Highway Driving Assist (which combines adaptive cruise control and automated lane centering) are optional on SEL and standard on Limited and Calligraphy.

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is a Top Safety Pick+ (highest rating) for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and earned the top rating of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for both the FWD and AWD models.

Cost-Effectiveness

9/ 10

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade comes in four trim levels, each available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Palisade SE starts at $33,600 (FWD)/$35,300 (AWD). The Palisade SEL starts at $35,950 (FWD)/$37,650 (AWD). The Palisade Limited starts at $45,840 (FWD)/$47,540 (AWD). The top-of-the-line Palisade Calligraphy starts at $47,290 (FWD)/$48,990 (AWD). Our test vehicle was a 2022 Palisade Calligraphy AWD with optional ($215) carpeted floor mats and inland freight and handling of $1,225 for an as-tested price of $49,830. The market is very volatile, as is feature and vehicle availability, so check current pricing while shopping.

The Palisade comes with three years/36,000 miles of complimentary maintenance. Three years of Blue Link Connected Services and Blue Link Remote Start are included. Five years/60,000 miles of new car warranty, five years/unlimited miles of roadside assistance, seven years/unlimited miles of anti-perforation warranty, and 10 years/100,000 miles of powertrain warranty are also included. Most of these warranties are transferrable and can add value to the Palisade on the used market later in its life. The powertrain warranty is truncated upon transfer, expiring with the new car warranty.

The Palisade competes with a crowd of excellent three-row crossovers, including the Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, and others, including its corporate stablemate, the Kia Telluride.

Ultimately, your choice of a three-row family crossover will come down to taste and budget. The upper trim level of the Palisade, Calligraphy, may have a pretentious name, but it is a lovely, near-luxury option, while the base SE is well-equipped (a Hyundai hallmark), competitively priced, and well worth considering. The 2022 Hyundai Palisade earns a high recommendation.

Updated by Jason Fogelson

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