Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Hyundai - Palisade

Our Opinion

We like
Handsome styling, useful space, impressive equipment, polished road manners, refined AWD diesel.
Room for improvement
Front and centre-row under-thigh support, more grab handles, door bottle storage, AWD for the V6.

Hyundai prepares two-pronged attack on large SUV segment with Palisade eight-seater

18 Dec 2020



IF two heads are better than one, then surely two complementary large SUVs are equally as advantageous – certainly among a crowded competitor set. That’s what Hyundai Australia is hoping.


Joining a heavily facelifted Santa Fe in local showrooms is the Palisade; a large SUV covered extensively for price and equipment by GoAutoon December 11.


Built in the same Korean plant as Santa Fe but offering up to eight seats, the right-hand-drive Palisade has been two years in the making, following its unveiling at the LA Show in November 2018.


Back then it was left-hook only but Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) managed to convince its parent that a large SUV as practical as this is exactly what Aussie families need, especially when starting at a relatively attainable $60,000.


There’s sound logic to bringing it here too. While Palisade is a close mechanical relative of Santa Fe, its significant size increase – 210mm longer, 85mm wider, 170mm taller, riding on a 135mm-longer wheelbase – means this handsome, GMC Yukon-inspired SUV should carve out a niche all its own.


Driving Impressions


For some time now the Hyundai Santa Fe has passed itself off as one of the keenest large SUVs to drive, often to the detriment of its ride quality. But the Palisade suffers from no such sporting delusions. 


Its family-value deal is all about delivering all-round satisfaction rather than favouring the person holding the reins.


HMCA has been involved in the chassis development of this XL-sized SUV from close to the beginning, resulting in a shared suspension tune with Eastern Europe. And from the outset, you can sense it was a wise decision.


Admittedly, there are two distinct flavours of Palisade – the front-drive V6 and the all-wheel-drive diesel. 


We drove the extremes – an entry-level Palisade V6 wearing 245/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS tyres and a Palisade CRDi Highlander AWD on same-brand rubber but 245/50R20 in size. The biggest difference is their traction.


Where the front-drive petrol feels a little disconcerting being peddled briskly on damp roads, the all-wheel-drive diesel is much more poised. For packaging reasons, Australia can’t access an AWD petrol Palisade and that’s a shame because its gutsy 217kW/355Nm 3.8-litre V6 deserves the grip to match its go.


The diesel is something of a surprise. It’s a 147kW/440Nm version of Hyundai’s decade-old R-Series 2.2-litre turbo-diesel – not the latest ‘SmartStream’ version going into the new Santa Fe – yet it’s so impressively refined, you could be fooled into believing it was the newer engine. 


Tied to the same eight-speed auto as the 3.8 V6, its combined fuel number of 7.3 litres per 100km (versus 10.7L/100km for the petrol) pretty much seals the deal in terms of the diesel drivetrain being the Palisade pick.


Pounding across corrugated, hilly dirt roads, the 20-inch-wheeled Palisade Highlander AWD diesel proves effortlessly accomplished and is relatively quiet too, though you hear more road noise in the middle row than up front. 


And when you’re back on the bitumen, its nicely progressive steering and amenable handling make it feel much smaller than it is.


If only the Palisade’s ride wasn’t so obvious in urban conditions, even on 18-inch wheels, though it’s far from uncomfortable and certainly preferable to nauseating body movement.


Inside, the Palisade continues its tale-of-two-halves model story. 


The core architecture of its handsome dashboard and overall interior layout leaves little to criticise (apart from not being able to swallow 1.5-litre bottles in its doors), but the plastics and some of the trim garnishing on the entry model isn’t what you’d call premium. 


It does get standard leather, though, and a heated electric driver’s seat.


The $11,000-dearer Highlander is basically all about dressing to impress. 


On the outside, its sexy all-LED stacked headlights are the bomb, and inside, there’s lovely Nappa leather, plush suede headlining, and a bunch of other welcome luxuries like fan-cooled seating, driver’s electric cushion extension, head-up display, side-view monitor, wireless phone charging and a power tailgate.


While both models share a good-quality 12-speaker Infinity stereo with classy 10.25-inch touchscreen and wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, they also share one annoying hangover from originating in left-hand drive – the headlining shape.


There’s a dent above the driver where the overhead grab handle mounts for LHD but on the passenger side … it’s smooth. 


There’s no facility to mount an overhead grip and nothing on the door to compensate – leaving the front passenger frequently looking for something to hang on to, and it’s made more obvious because the front seats don’t provide enough under-thigh support.


Neither does the centre-row bench, though in the Highlander there’s a solution – opt for seven seats, not eight. 


If you tick the no-cost seven-seat alternative you get two centre-row buckets with in-built armrests and superior comfort to the front pair. 


You also get heating and cooling, plus a neat little walkway to the rear three-seat bench that’s both useful and claustrophobia-free. 


Not that sitting in Palisade’s roomy third row is a prison sentence – it’s just that everyone appreciates a nice view.


Whether you have a mid-row bench or buckets, however, they’re all mounted on runners so you can adjust legroom to suit and everyone gets circular roof air vents with USB ports aplenty, as well as 16 cupholders in total.


Other highlights include rear curtain airbags that go all the way to the D-pillar, one-touch seat folding, reclinable rear backrests, an almost-flat centre and rear floor, a vast amount of luggage space with the third row dumped, and plenty of safety features including crucial rear blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic alert, rear occupant alert, and in the Highlander; safe exit assist.


There’s even ‘Driver Talk’, which projects the driver’s voice through the stereo speakers to the second and third rows while accounting for wind and road noise. 


If you’re tired of yelling, turn the volume up and let the audio do your dirty work!


On first inspection, you can understand why someone might aspire to owning a Palisade because it’s a handsome, imposing SUV without being too in-your-face. 


Yet the more time you spend behind the wheel, or use its voluminous space, the Palisade continues to hold up.


Its sweet spot is clearly the seven-seat Highlander CRDi all-wheel drive, yet even the base front-drive Palisade V6 seems persuasive enough to comfortably expand Hyundai’s market share in the large SUV category. 

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Palisade

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here