The new Palisade gives Hyundai a competitively priced, large SUV with third row seating and acres of cargo room for a family of five. The Palisade is a big, boxy rig with a grille resembling a certain Japanese manufacturer. No matter – it's a looker outside and inside.
Behind the steering wheel, the driver sits in front of a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and eight-inch central touchscreen infotainment, head-up display. There are proper knobs for control functions and large buttons found for other features. No shift lever here, Hyundai saved some room by having gear selection made by buttons. Shift paddles are mounted to the steering column for those who want to row their own. And to aid in shoulder checking, Luxury and Ultimate models have a camera in each side mirror. The video view shows up on a screen in front of the driver when you activate the turn signal. A camera is also mounted on the front of the vehicle.
Cup holders and cubby bins seem to be everywhere in addition to a large bin under the centre console. The interior in my Ultimate is beautifully finished with much higher quality materials than most people would expect at this price level.
Everyone gets to enjoy big, comfortable seats. The third row, while ideal for little kids, can accommodate a small adult. Passenger space is tops with massive headroom, legroom and shoulder room, especially for young children.
Now that curbside leaf pickup in plastic bags is history in St. Albert, I put the Palisade to work hauling bags of leaves to save on the cost of paper bags. I folded down both second and third row seats thinking my big bags needed both rear seats down. Not so – I could have packed in a lot more bags. While 509 litres of space and 1,297 with just the third row folded isn’t massive, it's still very good compared to similar class vehicles.
No matter the trim, the Palisade comes equipped with a 291 horsepower 3.8L direct injection V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic. This engine provides decent performance and good fuel economy. I was able to get 10.5L/100 km at an average speed of 120 km/h. The all-wheel-drive system HTRAC defaults to front-wheel drive but can shift up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear axle, and the available AWD lock can keep a minimum of 20 per cent of torque at the rear wheels.
There are a variety of modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart, depending on road conditions. You can also adapt to road surface conditions by selecting Snow, Mud and Sand. Snow for example allows you to drive away in second gear to reduce the chances of wheelspin and speeds up gearchanges to maintain momentum on slippery surfaces.
There is a boatload of electronic goodies on the Palisade and dealing with the touchscreen and its various functions requires serious reading of the owner’s manual to become familiar with it all.
Safety features are also in abundance, including a reminder in the system that tells you to check for rear seat passengers (you know, don’t leave a child behind in the back seat) before you leave the vehicle.
If you live in a rural area, the low mounted projector-beam headlights (LEDS on Luxury and Ultimate trim levels) look cool but also put out a lot of light. On a dark country road, you’ll really appreciate their intensity.
While the Palisade lineup starts with a front-wheel-drive model for $38,499 (not including freight and a PDI charge), my well optioned seven-passenger Ultimate model had a starting price of $50,199. That might seem a little steep for an AWD family hauler, but it is in fact good value when you start comparing the Palisade’s specs with its competitors.
Read more of Garry Melnyk’s Auto Talk at https://www.stalberttoday.ca/auto-talk