2020 Hyundai Palisade – Hawaii Cars

2020 Hyundai Palisade

A larger, fancier, flagship utility vehicle to fit the whole family


The eight-passenger Palisade arriving this summer is Hyundai’s biggest and boldest utility vehicle since the Veracruz tall wagon was canceled in 2012.

The Palisade is also a solid replacement for the seven-passenger Santa Fe XL that was essentially a carry-over for 2019.

Compared to the XL, the Palisade has four more inches between the front and rear wheels. It’s built on a new platform that will be shared with Kia’s upcoming and range-topping Telluride utility vehicle. The Palisade will be built in Korea.

Overall length has increased by three inches and the body is taller by roughly 2.5 inches. Those numbers position the Palisade mid-pack with the competition, but at or near the top for passenger volume, which is especially good news for adults occupying the third row.

The cabin also stands apart from the crowd. The eight-inch touchscreen is positioned adjacent to the gauges (a 10.3-incher is optional), while the wide floor console mounts the transmission’s pushbuttons and stores assorted valuables. A grand total of 16 cup holders is particularly good news for beverage lovers wherever they’re seated.

Unlike other Hyundai models, the Palisade has an imposing grille that’s wrapped with a wide band of bling. The rounded fenders and bumper edges contain projector beam headlamps and available LED running lights. The taillights tie into the rear fenders in similar fashion. Hyundai’s design team definitely avoided anonymity in sculpting this big machine.

Despite the Palisade’s aggressive exterior, Hyundai installed a rather standard engine. The 3.8-liter V-6 puts out 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, which is actually ahead of most of the competition. The Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

It’s still too early for fuel-economy figures, but based on similar non-turbo V-6 engines installed in competitive vehicles, you can expect a combined city/highway rating in the low 20-mpg range.

That figure would be reduced slightly for Palisades equipped with optional all-wheel-drive. The system has Normal, Sport (sends more torque to the rear wheels), Snow (varies torque between the left and right wheels for increased traction), and Smart (eco) settings. As well, the AWD’s locking differential increases traction at lower speeds in slippery conditions.

The Palisade will be available in SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Limited, and Ultimate trims. As of this writing, official pricing is not available, but the typical base-model starting point for competing utility vehicles is in the low-$30,000 range, including destination fees (add about $2,000 more for AWD).

Buyers get an assortment of active-safety technology plus Safe Exit Assist. It warns the driver and will actually prevent the rear doors from opening if a vehicle approaches from behind.

The options list includes a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, head-up information display, 12-speaker Infinity-brand audio, and 20-inch wheels (18-inches are standard).

Also optional is an intercom system that allows those in back to communicate with the first-class riders in the front row. An interesting extra is Rear Occupant Alert. Its sensors can detect any movement inside the Palisade after the car has been locked from the outside, which causes the horn to honk and issues an alert to the driver’s smartphone. With it, you’ll never accidentally leave the kids behind again.

Selecting the top-drawer Palisade Ultimate will puff up the price considerably, but it ensures that no option from the Hyundai playbook is left behind. Both it and the Limited trim can be fitted with second-row high-back bucket seats — just like in a private jet — in place of the split-folding bench seat.

The Palisade will agree with a growing legion of big-and-tall-wagon buyers wanting plenty of room for themselves and the gang, and enough comfort and performance to make the journey a relatively effortless experience.

What you should know: 2020 Hyundai Palisade

Type: Four-door, front- /all-wheel-drive utility vehicle

Engines (h.p.): 3.8-liter DOHC V-6 (291)

Transmission; Eight-speed automatic

Market position: Hyundai is late to join the full-size utility-vehicle party, but the Palisade comes with all the necessary ingredients to compete and succeed against the more established players.

• Eye-grabbing design will most definitely get noticed.
• Plenty of space for all aboard.
• Non-turbocharged V-6 is almost surprising, but has enough thrust.
• Not enough is said about the virtues of Hyundai’s standard long-term warranties.
• Rear Occupancy Alert safety system should be mandatory on all four-door vehicles.

Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); driver-attention warning (std.); lane-departure warning (std.)

MPG (city/hwy) 18/26 (est.); Base price (incl. destination) $32,000 (est.)


Honda Pilot
Base price: $32,450
Well-regarded utility vehicle has a smooth V-6 and effective AWD system.

Mazda CX-9
Base price: $33,250
Shapely styling and a comfortable interior. Peppy turbo four-cylinder.

Chevrolet Traverse
Base price: $30,900
Biggest of the bunch is spacious in all three rows. Base 310-horse V-6 hustles.