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2020 Hyundai Palisade loads up on content


On the road, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is extremely smooth and very quiet. The standard (and only) engine is a 3.8-litre V6. - Richard Russell
On the road, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is extremely smooth and very quiet. The standard (and only) engine is a 3.8-litre V6. - Richard Russell

COUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Hyundai has topped off its crossover vehicle lineup with the 2020 three-row Palisade. The largest vehicle ever produced by Hyundai; the Palisade is named after a series of cliffs in California and aimed at consumers in their peak years of transporting children.

“This vehicle is for those who need a three-row vehicle. To them, space, versatility and premium features are important,” Lawrence Hamilton, director of marketing for Hyundai Auto Canada, told us here during the reveal of the company’s new flagship.

The Palisade is considerably larger than the Santa Fe XL, which it replaces. Built on an entirely new platform it shares with the Kia Telluride, it is 7.5 cm longer, and rides on a wheelbase that has grown by 10 cm. It is also 9.1 cm wider and five cm taller.

That extra space has been allocated to the second and third rows, which boast exceptional head and legroom — and plenty of space for child seats. The Palisade seats eight with its standard second-row bench seat, seven with a pair of captain’s chairs in that location.

The third row actually accommodates adults, two in comfort. There are belts and space for three smaller individuals. It can be accessed through a single button that causes the second-row seats to tilt and slide forward. There is also a grab handle on the C-pillar to aid third-row entry. On upper trim levels, the third-row seat can be reclined or powered up/down from the cargo area.

 Built on a new platform it shares with the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade is 7.5 cm longer and rides on a wheelbase that has grown by 10 cm. It is also 9.1 cm wider and five cm taller. - Richard Russell
Built on a new platform it shares with the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade is 7.5 cm longer and rides on a wheelbase that has grown by 10 cm. It is also 9.1 cm wider and five cm taller. - Richard Russell

These are just a few of the many examples of how the development team designed the Palisade to be the modern-day equivalent of the minivan — family-friendly to the extreme. There is a driver talk mode that amplifies the driver’s voice through the rear speakers so they can tell the rear occupants to, for example, quit fighting and quiet down. If they do so, the rear speakers can be muted, so the little ones can sleep.

Family friendly? There are USB plugs in all three rows, seven in total. Clever placement includes the sides of the front seats for second-row occupants and high up in the third row. There is wireless charging, a 115-volt outlet and 14 to 16 cup holders, depending on the model. A number of storage pockets provide space for large objects like purses and tablets in the centre console. There is underfloor storage in the cargo hold and two speeds for the liftgate.

Safety is a major consideration for all of us, but Hyundai knows parents place extra emphasis on this when considering a new vehicle. The Palisade has thus been loaded with a full array of active and passive safety features. It all starts with the increased use of high strength steel and a significantly stiffer structure. Among the standard equipment, depending on trim level, the Palisade comes with: lane keep assist, blind spot/collision avoidance assist, surround view monitor, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control and both front and rear park distance warning. The side view monitor uses cameras to display the scene in the instrument panel when the signal lever is activated.

Over on the technical side, the top two trim levels come with three years of Hyundai’s BlueLink Connected car system, at no charge. Through an app on their phone, the owner can locate the vehicle, lock or unlock it, start it remotely and activate the HVAC system, and conduct diagnostics. The 26-cm wide navigation screen can display various content and two phones can be connected, one for audio and one as a phone

There are three different instrument clusters, depending on trim level.

 The Palisade will be available in Essential ($38,499), Preferred ($45,499), Luxury ($50,199) and Ultimate ($53,999) trim levels. All but the base Essential include all-wheel drive. - Handout
The Palisade will be available in Essential ($38,499), Preferred ($45,499), Luxury ($50,199) and Ultimate ($53,999) trim levels. All but the base Essential include all-wheel drive. - Handout

On the road, the Palisade is extremely smooth and very quiet. The standard (and only) engine is a 3.8-litre V6. It produces enough power to lend this big ute an unexpected sense of urgency when pressed. The eight-speed automatic has a gear for all occasions and shifts are imperceptible. The selection is a shift-by-wire arrangement through buttons on the centre console the sophisticated AWD system utilizes input from 50 sensors, processed 100 times every second, to determine how much power to send to the front or rear wheels.

There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, but I’ll bet that 90 per cent of Palisade drivers will never use them. Similarly, after the new wears off, I think the vast majority of drivers will never use the ability to choose between Smart, Comfort, Sport and Eco drive modes. Nor will they select sand, snow or mud from the terrain. I’d suggest Comfort or Sport depending on your driving style and snow if you encounter a particularly nasty situation.

The Palisade will be available in Essential ($38,499), Preferred ($45,499), Luxury ($50,199) and Ultimate ($53,999) trim levels. All but the base Essential include all-wheel drive. It is available on the base model for $2,000. Preferred is expected to account for 42 per cent of sales, Luxury 38 per cent, and Essential and Ultimate 10 per cent each. At the various steps on the trim ladder, the product planners have ensured the Palisade has an advantage over the competition in equipment levels. 

Hyundai sees the Palisade going up against the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and VW Atlas primarily, with the Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9 as secondary combatants. The Palisade joins the hot-selling Kona and the Santa Fe in the company’s crossover lineup. Next up? The Venue at the other end of the size spectrum, will appear later this year. Hyundai says it is being developed to appeal to the young and older single females.

The specs

Model: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury AWD 7P

Engine: 3.8-litre, V6, 291 horsepower, 262 lb.-ft. of torque

Transmission: eight-speed automatic, full-time all-wheel drive

NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 11.9/8.8

Length: 4,980 mm

Width: 1,976 mm

Wheelbase: 2,900 mm

Weight: 1,910 kg

Price: $38,499, $50,199 as tested

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