The Hyundai Palisade is elegant and affordable.
Hyundai shook the midsize, three-row crossover utility segment in 2020 when it introduced the Palisade. The new model immediately supplied a bridge between mainstream and luxury brands, a vehicle prized for its upscale styling and excellent price point. Now in its fourth year, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade reflects a significant design and tech refresh, enabling this model to stay competitive in a tough segment.
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade is available in SE ($34,950), SEL ($37,950), XRT ($40,250), Limited ($46,500), and Calligraphy ($48,900) grades. Add $1,295 for the destination charge.
All five grades feature a V6 engine matched with an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is a $1,900 add-on across the model line.
Highlights of the 2023 Hyundai Palisade
When the Hyundai Palisade arrived, it replaced the Santa Fe XL. The Santa Fe remains, but it now occupies the two-row, midsize segment (the three-row XL was dropped). The Palisade is the largest crossover sold by Hyundai, with more than a half-dozen other models, including the all-electric Ioniq 5 and a fuel-cell vehicle also available.
Since its 2020 debut, the Palisade has undergone several changes ahead of the current mid-product-cycle update. These include introducing the range-topping Calligraphy grade in 2021. In 2022, Hyundai added blind-spot monitoring to all grades. Light package and trim offerings were also accomplished.
Mid-sized SUVs are a breed of their own regarding design and styling. Creating a cohesive look isn’t an easy feat with such a large canvas. Nevertheless, Hyundai managed to improve the Palisade significantly in the 2023 model year.
The front end was updated intensively and completely revitalized. A significant change was the design of the grille, which now seamlessly blends in with the headlights and sports a unique pattern. Speaking of headlights, they also have been changed, not in the shape itself but in the light layout. On the Palisade, the running lights seemingly connect with the front fog lights, resulting in a tightly coordinated design. Moreover, the bumper was also updated, resulting in a new but familiar look by allowing all these improved features to blend.
There aren’t as many changes in the back as in the front. Even so, the few improvements supply a nice touch, such as a refreshed bumper or making the fog lights thinner and continuous. New alloy wheels also give a nice formal touch. Overall, the new Hyundai Palisade is confidently attractive and a classy improvement over the previous model.
On the inside, the Hyundai Palisade looks thoroughly upscale and spacious. The same design cues can be seen across the cabin, such as continuity, cohesiveness, and courtliness. The usage of plastic is to a minimum, the leather is high-quality, and the overall fit and finish are impressive. There’s a great emphasis on texture rather than extravagant choices.
All the important buttons are physical, both on the steering wheel and the center console, and are laid out with care. A major feature of the cabin is a crisp 12-inch infotainment system, which blends well with the rest of the cockpit, along with the digital gauge cluster.
There’s a copious amount of space both in the first row and the second row, and when it’s coupled with the car’s inspiring comfort, the experience of driving or being driven around is great. However, the third row, while comfortable enough, is a bit lacking in terms of space and should be reserved for children.
The cargo space is fantastic, as is expected from a mid-sized SUV. With all the seats in their standard position, there are 18 cubic feet of room in the trunk, 45.8 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 86.4 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded.
The first major talking point in terms of technology is the sheer number of charging ports laid out all around the car. There are six USB charging ports in the car, two for each row, along with multiple 12V ports, and a wireless charging port in the front.
A premiere for Hyundai is installing a digital rearview mirror, allowing the driver to seamlessly use the reverse camera. Moreover, the Hyundai Palisade also enjoys the first time where Hyundai installed a WiFi hotspot, which makes sense given the myriad of charging ports.
Apart from these, Hyundai has all the regular bits and bobs regarding technology, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice recognition, and the like. Moreover, the Palisade can also use a proprietary app, Digital Key 2, that allows you to remotely lock and unlock and even share keys via your smartphone.
Given how the Hyundai Palisade is a full-blown family SUV, you can expect the safety features to be adequate. There is a myriad of systems to keep you and your family safe, such as forward collision avoidance assistance, highway driving assistance, reverse parking assistance, blind spot monitoring, lane keep and lane following, and more.
Another interesting and useful capability is Hyundai’s integration of the navigation system with the cruise control, allowing the car to automatically slow down whenever there’s a turn in the road. Even more so, the Palisade also offers safe exit assistance, to help your children get out of the car safely.
In terms of passive safety, Hyundai also employed rear side-impact airbags as standard, to guarantee that everyone is safe in case the worse does happen.
Engine, Transmission, and Drivetrain
The Hyundai Palisade has a singular highly efficient engine option: a direct injection 3.8-liter V8 that uses the Atkinson cycle, producing 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This fuel-efficient engine is linked to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission.
A significant mention needs to be said about the engine’s quietness. There appear to be copious amounts of sound-deadening materials used in the Palisade because the car’s sound is quite faint.
You can either purchase the Palisade in front-wheel-drive, being the standard option, or all-wheel-drive, dubbed the HTRAC. The latter gives you a thorough mode selector, that allows you to drive confidently in untimely weather, tow items, or send more power to the rear wheels if you feel like driving briskly.
On the Road
You won’t carve corners with the Hyundai Palisade. But that is to be expected with a high-profile, three-row people mover. Hyundai, though, emphasizes comfort and that is where this SUV shines best.
Regardless of drivetrain choice – front or all wheels – the V6 develops ample power and sends that energy to the wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission. We noted and liked how quickly the transmission responds, immediately shifting downward under hard acceleration and without effort.
If you prefer some control over the shifting process, steering-wheel paddle shifters are at the ready. The Palisade offers six driving modes, including eco, comfort, sport, smart, and snow. This year, Hyundai includes a tow mode.
The advantage of all-wheel drive becomes apparent under certain driving conditions. Particularly, thanks to a locking center differential, up to 50 percent of the power is shifted to the rear wheels. This is especially important when riding on slippery roads or wherever terrain conditions are less than ideal.
Responsive steering, decent handling, and strong brakes are other attributes of note for the Palisade. It offers a quiet and comfortable ride, overarching features that crossover shoppers prefer.
Nearly every manufacturer has a stake in the three-row, midsize crossover utility vehicle segment. Among the top competitors are the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Chevrolet Traverse, and Dodge Durango. Add in the GMC Acadia and Buick’s Enclave among the domestic competitors.
From Japan, we have the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, and the Honda Pilot. The Kia Telluride is a corporate sibling. The slightly smaller Kia Sorento is also worth a mention. Other models in this segment include the Volkswagen Atlas. Nearly every model offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. The Ford, Jeep, and Dodge, though, come with rear-wheel drive, while the Subaru offers standard all-wheel drive.
Hyundai Palisade Considerations
We cannot say enough positive points about the Hyundai Palisade to underscore how well we think this model performs. In effect, the Hyundai Palisade along with its Kia Telluride corporate sibling has raised the bar for the segment. We believe that these are the best models in the segment and that’s a significant accomplishment for the company.
The SEL trim is a decent place to start your search. As equipped without all-wheel drive, this model may be had for about $40,000. That’s a competitive price point these days and especially noteworthy given the model at hand.
Cristian Pușcașu contributed to this story.
2023 Hyundai Palisade Specifications
|Segment||Midsize Crossover SUV|
|Price Range||$34,950 to $48,900|
|Standard Engine||3.8-liter, V6|
|Horsepower||291 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||262 lb.-ft. @ 5,200 rpm|
|Seating||7 or 8|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,171 to 4,506|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||40.7 / 40.1 / 37.8|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||44.1 / 42.4 / 31.4|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||61.2 / 60.8 / 55.2|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||58.1 / 57.7 / 43.7|
|Storage (cubic feet)||18.0/45.8/86.4|
|Gross combined weight rating (pounds)||5,732/5,871|
|Towing (pounds)||1,500 or 5,000|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||18.8|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||19/27/22|
|Manufacturing Plant||Ulsan, Korea|
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer.
Addendum: Key Attributes of the 2023 Hyundai Palisade
Rugged XRT Grade
There is a new Palisade grade this year, the XRT. Notably, this one joins Tucson and Santa Fe versions with a look that is rugged, yet stylish. We could see this grade eventually making its way across the Hyundai crossover universe.
With the Palisade, the XRT features a dark-finish front grille along with skid-plate design elements dressing the front and rear fascias. Keep in mind, though, that the look is more appearance instead of practical. The Palisade is designed for no more than light-duty off-roading, otherwise, steel plates would offer protection.
Other features of note include rugged-look lower door trim, 20-inch alloy wheels dressed similarly, and black roof rails. Hyundai rounds things out with a power sunroof and black imitation leather seats.
Tech This Out
It is fun watching what the manufacturers are doing to improve their products year after year. Most of the significant changes have to do with technology, an ever-evolving component that consumers crave. Stay on top of your game and the customers will return.
For Hyundai, it is all about the details when making tech changes. For instance, this year the wireless device charging capabilities were upgraded three-fold for faster device charging. Further, the Hyundai Digital Key means drivers can leave their key fob at home and use a designated device instead. These devices are the Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhone, and Apple Watch equipped with an app to share with family and friends. This means that a family member can leave the Palisade locked at the airport, train station, or other public places. You’ll then access the Palisade with your device and be on your way.
It took until 2023 for Hyundai to offer Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Although the wait was long, it is another welcome feature of the Palisade. Just ask your passengers who like to stream videos or music, or access the Internet while on the go.
Calligraphy: Beautiful, Yet Pricey
When Hyundai spun off Genesis in 2017, the brand lost some of its luxury appeals. Why purchase a Hyundai when a Genesis might do?
Well, there are always brand loyal people looking for value and the Palisade succeeds in that department. This model also succeeds by making a run for luxury shoppers in the Calligraphy grade. Consider the Calligraphy line as the signature for any Hyundai model, where offered.
Although a sub-$50,000 price is offered (before the freight charge), your final cost will top $52,000 with all-wheel drive. Further, don’t expect discounting as demand exceeds supply for Hyundai’s flagship SUV.
Is the Calligraphy overpriced? We do not believe it is. A survey of competing top-grade models shows that the $50,000 threshold was breached across the board.
We Don’t Miss a Minivan
Very few manufacturers still make minivans – Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, and Kia, are what is left. Hyundai once offered the Entourage, a model based on the Kia Sedona. Since then, the market has shifted tremendously to crossovers.
The advantage of a minivan, of course, is its sliding doors as they offer ease of access and egress. But with the Palisade crossover, that issue is largely eliminated as the second-row seats slide and tilt forward with a push of the button. That third row is suddenly available and usable.
The only other issue that remains largely unresolved is cargo space. While the Palisade offers generous space with the second-and third-row seats folded, a minivan simply does it better, especially when said seats fold into the floor. Yet, most families today overwhelmingly prefer an SUV, thus the Palisade wins it for them.
See Also — Last Call for These 2022 Hyundai Models
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