Roseville, CA- After a couple of failed attempts at producing a good midsize sport utility vehicle with three rows, Hyundai finally got it right.
Introduced as a mid-year entry this summer, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is receiving strong reviews. Even though sales aren’t brisk – more than 18,000 were sold over a five-month period, starting in July – there’s little doubt regarding the Palisade’s overall strength.
This is wonderful news for Hyundai, which has struggled when it comes to delivering a well-received three-row SUV that accommodates eight people. The Veracruz was a bust and departed unceremoniously in 2012 after six years of lackluster sales. In its place came the Hyundai Santa Fe XL, another three-row SUV that could never attract much interest.
There’s plenty of fine qualities with the Palisade; it has no glaring weaknesses. It’s visually appealing, a family-friendly hauler that can transport eight people, and displays good performance. And like all Hyundai vehicles, the Palisade comes at a reasonable starting price with plenty of standard features and a fantastic warranty.
2020 Hyundai Palisade
- Performance: 3.8-liter, V6, 291 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 19-26 mpg
- Price estimate: $31,700 to $46,500
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 12 years/unlimited
Even though the Palisade is big, it’s still considered a midsize SUV. It’s larger than any previous Hyundai SUV and has a 4-inch longer wheelbase than the standard Santa Fe that carries five people. Equipped with captain’s chairs in the second row, this version of the Palisade seats seven.
Available in three trim models (SE, SEL, Limited), the Palisade has a lot in common with the Kia Telluride, another new three-row SUV that recently debuted with a 2020 model. The Telluride is Kia’s largest SUV and shares a lot of basic framework and engine similarities with the Palisade. The two South Korean auto manufacturers have been affiliated since 1998.
The Palisade is a worthy competitor to the Kia Telluride, along with industry leaders like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander.
Although some folks may bristle at the idea of only one engine option, Hyundai can respond that the Palisade’s lone choice is a very good one, a 3.8-liter, V6 that generates 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
We found the Palisade engine didn’t disappoint in any driving situation. It’s plenty quick, going 0-60 mph in roughly 7.5 seconds, and is fuel efficient (19-26 mpg) for a larger SUV. Move the dial to Sport mode (other options are Eco, Comfort, Smart, now) and the Palisade goes a little faster. It can also climb steep grades without a struggle, possesses good passing power on the freeway, and is muscular enough to haul up to 5,000 pounds.
While the Palisade displays commendable performance, we were even more impressed with its driving acumen. It doesn’t feel balky like some large SUVs. In fact, it drives like a smaller one that can maneuver through challenging city traffic and has no issues in tight parking lots.
The Palisade interior provides spacious seating with the exception of the third row, where adults are feeling “the squeeze” that typifies the majority of three-row SUVs. The second-row seats not only offer comfort, they can fold up and spring forward with the push of a button that allows third-row occupants good access. The cargo area is a generous 18 cubic feet.
While not overly loaded with high-tech capability, the Palisade has one very cool feature – an intercom that allows the driver to easily speak with rear passengers. There’s a microphone up front and the sound comes out of the rear speakers. The Palisade has an 8-inch touchscreen, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and three USB ports up front and two more in the second row.
The prediction here is that 2020 Hyundai Palisade sales will greatly increase in the coming year, thanks to its overall quality, competitive pricing, and terrific warranty.