An unmitigated success in a disastrous year.
by Brendan Appel
2020 will be known for lots of things, but mostly for being an unmitigated disaster of a year. In between COVID-19 and riots, however, we can find a few bright spots to raise our spirits. While most people are driving less these days, they are also less likely to trust public transportation (I mean, who doesn’t want to ride in a germ tube, I mean train/bus) and that means more people are in the market for a new set of wheels. If you need to transport yourself and up to six of your kin, chances are you’re shopping in one of the most popular automotive segments in America: the three-row SUV. So where does budget-brand Hyundai stand in this crowded field? As it turns out, front and center.
Hyundai blasted into the crowded 3-row SUV segment with a vehicle that offers more style, more comfort, more tech, and – perhaps most importantly – more value. Let’s start with the Palisade’s styling, which begins with its striking (and very large) front grill – you will not mistake the Palisade for any other SUV coming your way. The large angular grill is augmented by two openings for the lower driving lights, and below that is a lower chrome-accented lip that finishes out a very busy but handsome front end. Out back, the Palisade’s name is featured prominently across the rear hatch flanked by curved taillights facing inward with silver accents. There is also a lower lip here that finishes off an almost perfect design. We say “almost” because, instead of having symmetrical dual exhaust tips on both sides, Hyundai opted to use only a single dual tipped pipe on the right – which looks a little bit out of proportion. The side profile has a very Lincoln-Aviator-esque look, which is not a bad thing. Finally, the huge 20” fan-style wheels round out the Palisade’s attractive styling and give it that flare of ruggedness.
While the Palisade’s exterior grabs your attention, the interior is what will seal the deal (and separate it from its Kia cousin, the Telluride). The materials and attention to detail here will pleasantly surprise all but the most brand-snobbish among us. From the quilted-stitched door panels to the comfortable and supportive seats to the wide center console, this is an interior you will relish being in. The large 10.25” touchscreen is responsive and easy to use, and there are hard buttons for those features that need them. For example, unlike a Volvo XC90, which requires several swipes and screen presses to call up the onboard cameras, Hyundai smartly puts a button right on the center console along with controls for heating and cooling the seats and for heating the steering wheel. Changing driving modes is as easy as turning the large dial, and hill descent control gets a dedicated hard button as well. HVAC controls are clear and easy to use, and above those are hard button shortcuts for radio and NAV controls. Even the shift controls are beautifully integrated on that same, wide center console, and, with the possible exception of the C8 Corvette, might just be the best push button transmission in a mass market vehicle.
Once inside, fire up the Palisade and prepare to be wowed by the sheer amount of cool tech now available at your fingertips. You have the usual panoply of safety features like adaptive cruise control with stop and go assist for traffic jams, forward collision warning and braking assist, lane keep assist, a head-up display, and rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist. But by far the coolest feature in the Palisade is what happens when you want to change lanes: engage the turn signal either left or right and a live camera feed of the appropriate blind spot will appear in the 12.3” full-digital instrument cluster so you can easily see if you’re about to merge into that Mini hiding in your blind spot. As of now, only Hyundai and Kia are offering this must-have feature in select vehicles – hopefully it will find its way into as many future vehicles as possible. It’s the closest thing we’ve seen to the windshield camera displays in the hero Mustang from Need for Speed.
Under the hood is a 3.8L V-6 engine making 291hp and 262 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. While falling far short of more powerful engines available in some competitors, the relaxed mood the Palisade’s interior places you in will not have you lamenting the powertrain. Mileage is also decent at 19 city/24 hwy and 21 combined. This is on par with most non-hybrid competitors. What’s not on par with most competitors, however, is Hyundai’s best-in-America warranty, including a 5-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
So why is the Palisade an unmitigated success and why should you probably buy one? That’s easy: all of the above is available to you for a mere $47,605.00, including delivery. In a world where almost all the Palisade’s competition stickers for much more (similarly equipped), the value proposition here is among the best in the industry. For Hyundai, that’s nothing new as the brand has come to symbolize value, but the Palisade moves the brand in another direction – near luxury. If you are in the market for an SUV, do yourself a favor and check out the Hyundai Palisade, just remember to leave your brand-snobbery at home.
2020© Sons Of Speed LLC