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2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD Luxury Adventure

Written by Marco Carvajal

Photographs by Marco Carvajal

The Palisade is not just one more SUV in the Hyundai Lineup. The Palisade looks like if you import a luxury SUV like a Range Rover or BMW X7 into Hyundai’s family but it is very original and unique looking. I am test driving the SEL AWD Palisade trim a great SUV priced around $35K.

Hyundai’s Palisade has been one of the best additions to their lineup. The Palisade brings Hyundai to a higher level of luxury and car power. This SUV has everything a demanding driver may wish, from a 291 Horsepower engine with different driving modes for snow and more, to a very luxurious and beautiful exterior and interior design that will make you wish to keep driving the Palisade.

Hyundai’s new 3-row midsize SUV “Palisade” keeps getting a bigger market share. More Palisades than ever can be seen in the roads, as this luxury SUV becomes more popular and more drivers keep buying it.

The Palisade is an upgrade and a replacement for the extra-large 3-row version of Hyundai’s classic Santa Fe.  Hyundai decided to keep the Santa Fe only as a regular size SUV only. The Palisade is more luxurious and powerful than the Santa Fe, therefore it is not just a replacement.

The Palisade has an original identity. Even if the Palisade can be considered a replacement for the Santa Fe XL, both cars are completely different.

The Palisade is original with its own design, its own interior architecture brings more luxury and premium style than the Santa Fe.  Driving a Palisade you can feel power and precision on the road.

The name Palisade compares this SUV with a line of high cliffs, and with the strength of a fortress.  This name relates to the bold exterior and the sense of safety and security for all the family on board.

Bolt and elegant exterior design of the palisade is enhanced with full volume over-fenders and body sides with muscular detailing. According to Hyundai, the Palisade is an expression of rugged utility with premium detailing, using a unique & distinctive “Crocodile Eye” light signature look.

The Palisade’s design has been inspired to reflect the atmosphere of the modern serenity of yachting, with relaxing comfort and family adventure.

2020 Palisade Highlights

  • Engine
  • Lambda II 3.8L Atkinson Cycle GDI D-CVVT 24-Valve V6
  • Horsepower
  • 291 HP @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque
  • 262 lb.-ft. @ 5200 RPM
  • FWD Standard
  • AWD Optional
  • 5,000 lbs towing capacity
  • MPG
  • 19 city / 26 highway / 22 average
  • Transmission
  • 8-speed Automatic with SHIFTRONIC Manual Shift Mode
  • Body Type
  • 5-door
  • 7 or 8 Seats dived on 3 rows.
  • One-touch 2nd Row Seat Slide for 3rd Row Access Standard
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection Standard
  • Rear Occupant Alert Standard
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Standard
  • LED Accents and LED Daytime Running Lights Standard

The Limited Trim model includes Harman Kardon premium audio.

Test Driving the Hyundai Palisade in Florida

This is the second time I test drive the Palisade. This time I am driving this elegant SUV in Florida where the Palisade goes very well with the tranquility of driving near the ocean and water channels in Florida.  You feel safe and the interior is very spacious from first to third road.  So many features let me enjoy the ride and the interior. The passengers onboard love riding inside the Palisade, great audio, great multimedia, very comfortable seats and very good space for everyone. Getting in and out of the Palisade is easy and practical. Shopping is easy with reasonable trunk space for a three-row.

My previous test drive of the Palisade was very different as it included the difficult off-roads in Asheville, North Carolina, where I was able to navigate the Palisade through great off-road obstacles, having the Palisade responding great on all road conditions.

The Hyundai Palisade proved its off-road skills on a set of terrain that included ditch crossings, log crossings, steep hill climbs, hard rocky descents, on several deep mud conditions in Asheville, NC.

2020 Palisade Trims and Pricing

Selecting the right Palisade to take home is an easy task. There are only 3 trims, all of them are well equipped but as you go for the top model Limited you will get much more features. The 3 different trims can be purchased FWD front wheel drive standard, or you can upgrade them to AWD All wheen drive.

Model Engine Transmission Drivetrain MSRP
SE 3.8L V6 GDI 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



SEL 3.8L V6 GD 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



Limited 3.8L V6 GD 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



SE 3.8L V6 GD 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



SEL 3.8L V6 GD 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



Limited 3.8L V6 GDI 8-Speed Automatic SHIFTRONIC



Additional $1,045 Freight Charge Applies

Practical Interior Space

The Palisade has a large enough interior, it is very spacious. The interior of the Palisade feels very luxurious with high-quality material. Intelligent storage functions, such as cubicles and shelves, are very helpful for long trips. Behind the third row, there are 18 cubic feet for the load that rises to almost 47 cubic feet with the third row folded flat. The Palisade has a lot of interior space without having to drive a huge car.

The three rows of seats can accommodate adults in almost any position, something unusual on 3-row SUVs. The second row and the third row both have very comfortable space for passengers on board.

The distance between the second and third row is larger than in most 3-rows. There is enough space for adults to seat in the 3rd row.

The front seats are among the best in the segment and passengers in the rear seats have plenty of legroom. The front seats are very spacious, the driver and the front passenger both have enough space to stretch legs, arms, bring accessories, purses or bags on board without feeling too tight. The trunk of the Palisade has a very good size compared to most 3-rows.

Palisade Performance

The Palisade is sold standard with front-wheel drive, but you can go for All-Wheel Drive for an additional $2,000 more. The Palisade is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower and 262 foot-pounds of torque coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 engine is strong and robust, with a fairly sporty acceleration, as well as its handling and steering.

This SUV is smart, Hyundai’s smart HTRAC all-wheel-drive system tracks vehicle speed and road conditions to control braking between the left and right wheels.  It balances power between the front and rear wheels to ensure safety while delivering superior cornering and driving dynamics on multiple road surfaces. Traditional 4-wheel drive systems were made for off-road conditions and generally not very fuel-efficient.  Hyundai’s HTRAC is designed to combine the capabilities of a 4WD system with the performance and full efficiency of front-wheel drive.

While the AWD system is always engaged, drivers have the option of selecting different driving modes, like Snow mode, Smart mode, lock AWD, ECO mode.

The Palisade has enough power to tow up to 5,000 pounds, and it can be ordered with a Class III hitch and an automatic rear suspension.

The MacPherson rear multi-link suspension system is robust. The 8-speed automatic transmission resolves smoothly, offering a refined feeling. The rear shocks have been pushed more vertically for a longer ride and better ride quality, along with a body that is more rigid.

The Palisade is a family SUV that produces great performance. Driving the Palisade you can feel how efficient is the car and how it offers a superior and well-receptive driving experience

Palisade Compared to other SUVs

Some of the main competitors are the Volkswagen Atlas, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Subaru Ascent, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder and the Dodge Durango.

The Palisade is a great buy with a very low initial price of around $31K. Less expensive than all key competitors and it offers a great warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Palisade is equipped with all the right tools to be successful and win over the competition. The Palisade has some similar elements to its relative the new Kia Telluride, but both SUVs look completely different, with their own design and functions.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Marco Carvajal

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