Hyundai, Road Test Reviews

2020 Hyundai Palisade – Road Test

The first time I saw a Palisade in the flesh (or should I say metal), I wasn’t paying attention and mistook it for an Infiniti QX80. I jumped into the passenger seat and looked around, thoroughly impressed and could see why the QX80 was priced around $96,500. The driver asked what I thought of it, and how much did I think it was worth. I blurted out – around $85-90k. “Nope – $56k fully loaded.” Came the reply. My jaw dropped. $56k for an SUV like this, just oozing luxury?! What a bargain. “Yeah, pretty nice for a Hyundai – right?” Whaddayamean a Hyundai? “It’s a Hyundai Palisade” No way! Gotta get me one for a test ASAP. And so we have it… for a week.

What Is It?   

  • Medium to Full-size SUV
  • Three-Row seating
  • Four available models: Essential, Preferred, Luxury and Ultimate
  • 8-passenger premium seating space
  • Ultimate trim level comes with 7-passenger version only (optional in Luxury)
  • 8L V6 Engine
  • 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC® (Paddle Shift) manual shift mode
  • HTRAC All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • Multi-terrain Control Mode
  • Auto-levelling rear suspension
  • Ultimate trim level gets an exclusive grille

How Does It Look?                              

  • I love the look of the Palisade
  • There’s just enough chrome on it to make it look luxurious without too much bling like a Cadillac
  • The front lights that continue onto the lower facia gives it a well thought-out and luxury look
  • Proximity keyless entry with push button ignition – didn’t like this, you had to touch a spot on the door handle rather than just put your hand behind the handle and pull… found it a little cumbersome, so isn’t really a proximity keyless system is it?

What’s It Like Inside?       

    • Perfect-sized heated (standard) steering wheel
    • Was surprized at this level of luxury it had a manual tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, was expecting power
    • The seats are firm and very comfortable, with plenty of adjustments
    • Leather 3-stage Heated and Cooled seats. When you switch off the vehicle it defaults to off, so you have to continually set the seats – very annoying
    • All but the base models get 8-way power driver & passenger seats and heated rear seats
    • Ultimate trim level gets you a 4-way power driver’s lumbar support instead of 2-way
    • 2-Person Driver’s Seat & Mirror Memory
    • 3″ Full Digital Display Instrument Cluster – LOVE this, only available on the Ultimate (others get a 7” version)
    • Head-Up Display (projection)
    • Turn signal camera – Very unique and comes standard in the Palisade is the Turn signal/hazards view in the dashboard [pics]
    • Centre console is very useful and attractive with just the right amount of buttons – too often “luxury” is translated into buttons and more buttons (talking to you Audi and Porsche)
    • 25” colour touchscreen (1920 x 720) with onboard Navigation & Traffic flow including incident data via HD Radio (HERE) – Really LOVE this screen and looks like it’s going to be the new “must-have” in all vehicles in the near future
    • 630-watt harman/kardon premium audio with 12-speakers and QuantumLogic Surround with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology – unfortunately, if you use a USB drive it can’t find songs or artists like the Ford Sync system does. You have the choice of Shuffle or play the entire list or advance and reverse through the songs – nothing else!
    • Huge Dual panel sunroof (fixed rear panel) covers the entire roof and gives the cabin a nice bright interior
    • In the second row there’s an abundance of legroom along with its own climate control system
    • It’s very easy to get in and out, plus access to the third row is a simple as pressing a button – the second-row seat tumbles and slides to allow plenty of room for 3rd-row passenger to enter/exit
    • The Sliding 2nd row seats also slide for more/less legroom. They can also be folded and moved from the cargo area with a push of a button
    • One-touch 2nd row seat slide for 3rd row access
    • Third-row PowerFold 50/50 split-folding bench seat is comfortable
    • Cargo Capacity: Behind 3rd Row 18 cu.ft / Behind 2nd Row: 45.8 cu.ft / all seats folded: 86.4cu.ft
    • Comparison: (2019 Explorer): Behind 3rd Row 21 cu.ft / Behind 2nd Row: 43.9 cu.ft / all seats folded: 81.7 cu.ft

So How Quick Is It & How Does It Handle?                    

      • It’s positively brisk if you want it to be – especially in Sport mode. In Eco it’s slower, but not sluggish – a very good compromise
      • One thing I didn’t like is that if you’ve been driving in Sport mode for instance, when you turn it off, you have to re-set it to Sport mode – it defaults to Luxury every time when you re-start the vehicle – very annoying!
      • Very quiet and hushed interior – a great place to spend long distances on the highway
      • Steering input is excellent, it makes the Palisade feel much smaller than it actually is
      • Adaptive Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go is very good. You can get within a couple of car lengths of the car in front – some systems are useless cause there waay too much space.
      • Reverse Sensing System – brilliant system! The steering wheel vibrates when a vehicle is coming from your blind spot while reversing!
      • Lane-Keeping System, which includes Lane-Keeping Alert is very good. Unfortunately, it can’t be relied upon all the time because of our third-world “painted lines” on our roads in Ontario! When there are actual lines it works great, the steering vibrates when you leave your lane, but not too much to make it annoying – however, it made an annoying chime every time you strayed over or too close to the line
      • Turning Diameter (curb to curb, 38.7 feet)
      • Maximum Towing Capacity with trailer brakes – 5,000 lbs / 1,650 lbs without brakes

Horsepower:          291 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque:                  262 lb ft @ 5,200 RPM
Top Speed:            210 km/h / 130 mph
0 -100 km/h (sec): 7.7

What Does It Cost? For up-to-date pricing visit:  HyundaiCanada
To Buy…
Base pricing starts at $38,499
Test Vehicle: Ultimate (base price): $53,999 // As Tested: $54,199 (+$200 for Sierra Burgundy paint)

To Operate…

      • Rated at (L/100 km): City – 11.9 / Highway – 8.8 / Combined – 10.5
      • I averaged 8.3 L/100 km on mixed highway driving and
      • 9 L/100 km in country/town driving
      • In and about town we got 12.2 L/100 km


      • Bumper To Bumper: 5 years/100,000 kms (Other manufacturers are: 3 yrs/60,000 kms)
      • Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km (Other manufacturers except Ford are: 3 yrs/60,000 kms)
      • Roadside Assistance: 5 years/100,000 km

The Competition
Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Land Rover Discovery, Toyota Highlander

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

  • The Good: the Turn signal/hazards featuring in-dash video is nothing short of genius – other manufacturers are going to be copying this if they’re smart
  • The Bad: The sound system is incredible, but not being able to select a song or artist on the USB stick could be a complete deal-breaker for me! Maybe there’s an adjustment in the system that I didn’t know about
  • The Ugly: The faces on all the other manufacturers when they see this baby coming!

What’s The Verdict? 
With very good fuel economy, it’s way better than I would have thought possible for a vehicle this large. The luxury feel and execution of the Palisade Ultimate puts it right up there with anything else on the luxury market, except for the price. It’s literally $30,000 below its true competitors, but far better than its immediate competitors like the Explorer (including the 2020, it’s not even close). With the Terrain Management System, it is seriously taking on the real 4×4 vehicles – not the mall/urban SUV that looks the part but can’t actually do it.

When you compare it to any vehicle at any price point, you have to consider the Hyundai Palisade a bargain – even at the base trim level, you’re into Escape/Rav4/Honda CRV pricing for a vehicle that blows them all away! So only one question remains: How the hell are they going to improve this vehicle when they put a Genesis badge on it??!!

2020 Hyundai Palisade, rear seat buttons


Copyright © 2020 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland