By Ewan Kennedy, Motoring Brand
Hyundai Palisade is a large Korean-built SUV, or mover to use the older definition of a vehicle in this class. It’s received major upgrades as well as substantial styling changes for the 2023 model year, so it’s well worth revisiting it with a full test drive.
A major feature of the Palisade is the Hyundai Bluelink system which can be connected from anywhere via a smartphone. Owners can send planned routes and automatically receive emergency assistance after an accident.
They can even lock or start their car remotely with their favorite climate settings, so their Palisade is waiting for them all warmed up and ready to go.
Palisade is a big vehicle with styling that belongs in the Look-at-me class – nothing subtle here. Styling changes for 2023 include a parametric grille design flanked by vertically stacked LED headlights.
The Highlander variant we reviewed has exclusive design touches, including a satin chrome finish on the grille with matching logo badge and skid plate finishes. There are hidden-type turn signals, body-color cladding and exclusive 20-inch wheels with a 15-spoke turbine design.
Hyundai Palisade can be offered with either a seven- or eight-seat configuration, with the former offering two individual captain-style seats in the middle row. This was our test vehicle and it exudes a real luxury feel of the type normally offered only in a limo.
Additional luxuries for Highlander variants include heated and ventilated front and second-row seats now for seven- and eight-passenger variants.
The Highlander also benefits from exclusive interior finishes, quilted seat inserts, quilted and perforated door trim inserts, suede headliner and stainless steel front speaker grilles, as well as door sill plates/cargo area.
Each Highlander variant is available in Black Nappa leather with deluxe quilting and Gloss Black/Pinstripe trim, with the other Warm Gray and Dark Khaki Nappa leather options featuring unique wood-look trim depending on the exterior color.
A 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now standard on all Palisade models. Features include wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; six USB-C ports and one USB-A port;
Reading Bluetooth messages; integrated satellite navigation with live traffic updates; wireless charging of smart phones; and a voice memo function with up to 70 minutes of recording;
There’s also AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio although the latter cuts out when driving through cuttings or when there are multiple trees in the center island or just country driving.
Our Palisade’s 12-speaker Infinity audio system produced excellent sound quality and could be adjusted to suit our needs.
Hyundai Palisade has lap seat belts for all occupants. It’s not as common as it should be because too many competitors have a rear center lap belt.
An expanded suite of SmartSense driver assistance and advanced active safety features is employed in the 2023 Palisade. It now incorporates forward collision avoidance assist with junction turn function, intelligent speed, a multi-anti-collision braking system.
There’s a surround view monitor, reverse light guide function as well as reverse parking collision avoidance assist. The latter is a real bonus when you knock a large people carrier out of a tight space in a mall. It was also handy in the underground parking lot of our building where the roof pillars and other vehicles are quite close.
With Bluelink, the Palisade 2023 has automatic collision notification and an SOS emergency call function.
There is natural language server-based voice control and server-based connected routing navigation.
Access to the front seats and the two middle row seats is easy. As you might expect, the rearmost seats are a little tight getting in and out. But since this is the area normally used by the little ones in your family, there’s little hassle. And the juniors are more than happy to be as far away from mom and dad as possible…
Again, I had trouble seeing the information displayed on the windshield. My polarized sunglasses couldn’t see it unless I tilted my head slightly to one side or the other. Obviously I could look at the instruments in their normal position, but that’s a little less safe than having a view of the traffic ahead and the dials at the same time.
Other car brands have solved this problem, so it’s time for Hyundai to do it.
Palisade is impressive in its drive, especially since it is a five-meter-long vehicle whose main purpose in life is to transport up to eight people. It’s certainly not sporty, but you feel it wants to follow your instructions through the steering wheel and gas pedal.
There are bumps on the joints in the road, but we felt worse. And a bit of road roar on concrete surfaces, but on tarmac it’s nice and refined.
Fuel consumption was in the range of 9-11 liters per hundred kilometers in the city, in the suburbs and on hilly and winding roads. This dropped dramatically to just five to seven liters when driving at an easy pace on flat roads and on 110 km/h motorways.
Hyundai Palisade is a high quality, reasonably priced mover that does everything it’s supposed to do with great aplomb. It’s significantly cheaper than high-end European vehicles in the same category and certainly deserves a place on your short list of models to consider.