The Hyundai Palisade is an all-new SUV for 2020. How does it stack up against the competition? We took it for a test drive to find out.
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Hyundai brings out their largest vehicle ever, the new Palisade, a three-row family hauler. Growing families needing extra room will have another choice in the already popular SUV segment. The 2020 Hyundai Palisade competes against the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, Subaru Ascent, and sister-company’s Kia Telluride.
This week, we drove the top-trim 2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited with all-wheel drive.
What Is The Hyundai Palisade?
The Palisade is an all-new model from Hyundai and the largest vehicle they’ve ever produced. It offers three-row seating standard and rides on an entirely new chassis. The Palisade, which went on sale over the summer, replaces the previous Santa Fe XL. There are three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited.
Features & Options: Comfort & Safety
Standard features on the Palisade include heated mirrors; rear parking sensors; remote keyless entry; push-button ignition; second-row air-conditioning controls; and 60/40-split folding third-row seats. Tech and connectivity features include an eight-inch touchscreen; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; and three USB ports up front and two in the second row.
Advanced safety features include automatic high beams; forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking; lane keeping assist; a drowsy driver monitor; and a rear passenger reminder.
Features & Options: A Nice Array
Our range-topping Limited tester ($46,400) adds a dual sunroof; automatic wipers; additional driver-seat adjustments; premium leather upholstery; ventilated front and second-row seats; a heads-up display; and a digital gauge cluster. Other niceties include a surround-view and blind-spot camera; interior ambient lighting; and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system.
Limited models also come with roof rails and a remote start; heated front seats and second-row captain’s chairs; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control. Extra safety features include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
What Does The Hyundai Palisade Cost?
Total MSRP on our Limited tester: $47,605 including destination. By contrast, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade starts at $31,500.
Interior Highlights: Comfortable & Modern
Stepping inside the all-new cabin reveals a very luxurious place to spend time. The top trim Limited is loaded with extras to make life easier for busy families. We cranked up the cooled seats to their highest settings, and sat back in comfort on an unseasonably warm day here in Denver this week.
We used the heads-up display to keep our eyes on the road and away from distractions on our busy commute to and from Denver. The Nappa leather front seats are supportive and the cabin is especially quiet to keep out the noisy world on those long drives. We cranked up the Harman Kardon premium stereo to whittle the time away.
Interior Highlights: Plenty of Room
The cabin is roomy and it’s easy to find the perfect driving position with the memory seat adjustments. Passenger space is excellent in the second row with the Limited’s optional captain’s chairs. Our passengers this week slid in, got comfortable by lowering the second-row window shades, and nearly went to sleep.
It’s easy to access the Palisade’s third row with the optional captain’s chairs and it is comfortable enough for adults to take on longer weekend trips. Average-size adults will fit just fine in the third row. Cargo space is generous, with 21 cubic feet behind the third row and 87 cubic feet with both folded down.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The new Palisade is powered by an Atkinson-cycle, 3.8-liter V6 producing 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to an eight-speed automatic powering all four wheels. Front-wheel drive is standard, but our Limited tester came with HTRAC all-wheel drive. There is a Snow mode and AWD lock with auto-leveling suspension, all of which are nice features.
Snow mode adjusts front and rear torque distribution, left and right wheel slip, and shift patterns according to available traction levels.
EPA fuel mileage estimates come in at 19/24 city/highway and 21 combined. Compared to other similar options, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade lags behind the competition in terms of fuel economy.
Driving Dynamics: Onward & Upward
The 3.8-liter V6 is a competent engine for a vehicle this size, even at altitude where we did all of the testing. We pushed the three-row family hauler hard up I-70 and never felt we needed more power. Families carrying a full load of kids, pets, and cargo will find it plenty capable, and you will be comfortable on longer trips. Visibility is excellent thanks to plenty of large greenhouse windows.
Ride quality is comfortable even with the Limited’s exclusive 20-inch wheels. We ran the dirt roads leading to our house with little to no issue. The eight-speed automatic is smooth and quick when shifting, even when going up the mountains west of Denver. We took it around some tighter curves and the Palisade does have significant body roll; but you won’t notice that during normal commuting or highway driving.
Driving Dynamics: A Few Extras
We made use of the surround view and blind spot monitor as we navigated packed streets. It kept us from getting hit in a busy parking lot this week. If you live in a cold climate, the Palisade offers eight inches of ground clearance and a capable AWD system for when the snow comes.
Lastly, our Limited tester came with an AWD lock and a Snow mode, but no other specialized off-road features. It will get you to the trailhead but not much farther.
We are impressed with Palisade’s mild-mannered driving dynamics, utility, and all the features this trim level comes standard with for the price. If you’re shopping for a three-row SUV for your family, the Hyundai Palisade is a model you need to have on your list.
Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy