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Car reviews - Hyundai - Palisade

Our Opinion

We like
Cabin real estate, outward visibility, ergonomic driving position, capable driveline, confident handling, user-friendly tech interface, value for money
Room for improvement
Monotone cabin plastics, low braked towing capacity, overtaking performance, light tyre and wind noise, small sunroof on Elite grade

Seven-seat family motoring takes a big step forward

7 Feb 2022


HYUNDAI is renowned for its seven-seat family haulers. The Santa Fe has been a stalwart of the local SUV scene since 2007, and through three generations, the model has improved by every conceivable metric… However, some people regard the Santa Fe as a five-seater with an extra pair of occasional seats – not a “true” seven-seater. For them, the full-size Palisade is the answer.


The Palisade debuted at the Los Angeles Motor Show in 2018, was eventually adapted for right-hand-drive markets and went on sale Down Under in late 2020. Based on a stretched version of the Santa Fe’s platform, the Palisade is 210mm longer and 85mm wider than its sibling, which is why it offers notably more passenger and cargo space. It’s also available in eight-seat guise…


Eight-seat Palisade derivatives come fitted with five child-seat anchorages with ISOFIX connection points in the two outboard second-row seats and one third-row seat. Seven-seat versions, in turn, have four child-seat anchorages in combination with three ISOFIX points.


Sixteen cupholders, seven USB outlets and a myriad cubby and storage spaces are provided, while the third-row seats have reclining backrests and there’s a one-touch tilt and slide function for moving the second row forward (by 220mm) to allow easier access to the rearmost seats.


The Palisade is powered by either a 217kW/355Nm 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine that drives the front wheels or a 147kW/440Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in conjunction with all-wheel drive. 


According to ADR combined cycle testing, petrol models consume an average of 10.7 litres of fuel per 100km and turbo-diesel models 7.3L/100km. Both powerplants are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all derivatives’ braked towing capacity is listed at 2200kg.


We tested the mid-tier Palisade Elite with a turbo-diesel engine and all-wheel drive (Hyundai says diesel AWD variants account for almost 70 per cent of the range’s sales). Priced from $65,500 (plus on-road costs), the five-door SUV costs just $300 more than the top-spec Santa Fe Highlander, but it offers significantly more space – and is very nearly as well-equipped.


As standard, the model includes 18-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare, black leather upholstery with electric adjustment for the driver, tri-zone climate control (with vents for all three rows of seats), keyless entry and ignition, third-row intercom, “Quiet Mode” audio isolation, a wireless charging pad, front- and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, self-dimming rear-view mirror, auto headlights, plus adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go functionality.


A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment array incorporates native satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio, supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, plus it offers the ability to pair multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices simultaneously. Audio comes courtesy of a 12-speaker Infinity premium sound system.


Safety kit includes an electric park brake with auto-hold function, tyre-pressure monitoring, six airbags (including curtain airbags for the third row of passengers), forward collision warning, AEB with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, lane-keep and lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic avoidance, driver alertness monitor, high-beam assist, and rear seat occupant detection.


Like its stablemates, the Palisade is backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with roadside assistance and capped-price servicing ($399 for petrol versions, $469 for their diesel equivalents). Service intervals are set at 12 months or 15,000km (whichever comes first) with 


The Palisade competes in the SUV Large (under $70,000) segment. Its rivals include the Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota LandCruiser Prado, as well as the Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Skoda Kodiaq and Toyota Kluger.


Drive Impressions


If you’ve driven a Santa Fe, you’ve driven a Palisade – and I mean that as a compliment! From behind the ‘wheel, the Palisade feels incredibly composed – considering its extra bulk and heft – and it handles winding backroads with the attitude of a smaller SUV. However, the Hyundai also feels entirely manageable at carpark speeds and in inner-city driving; the high seating position and generous glasshouse make this full-size family hauler a genuinely easy vehicle to handle.


If you factor in the well-assisted (but feelsome) steering setup and a smooth-yet-responsive transmission, and you could say the Palisade feels miles ahead of where some consumers may still perceive the Hyundai badge to be. In fact, the driveline masks the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel's so-so outputs incredibly well – it only really shows deficiency when called to overtake in a hurry.


It’s something that you don’t tend to notice the other 99 per cent of the time. In daily driving, the driveline is spirited enough, and the fuel economy tremendous – especially when considering the two-tonnes and change it is required to haul around. On test, we managed 7.9 litres per 100km.


There is a little wind noise present at highway speeds, which is perhaps attributable to the Palisade’s bluff design, as well as slight tyre rumble when driving on coarse and unsealed roads. Those are the only negatives that warrant a mention. You’re unlikely to notice them most of the time and, when the audio system’s playing, not at all. It’s just something to bear in mind.


The big Hyundai’s braking performance is about what you’d expect, and the pedal feel is spot on. The Auto Hold function is also a welcome addition, especially in stop-start traffic.


In fact, all the driver-assistance systems worked impressively well and caused no issues on test. The controls and switchgear are easy to decipher and logical in layout. That said, the steering-wheel mounted controls for the lane-keep and steering assist features in the recently tested IONIQ 5 are preferable to those of the Palisade. The latter is admittedly the older model.


Hyundai offers some of the best adaptive cruise control setups in the market and the Palisade is certainly no exception. The test unit’s system is confidence-inspiring and operates smoothly – it’s the sort of setup one could trust to help you pilot the vehicle over long distances. 


While I’m usually not a fan of adaptive cruise control systems, I’ve found recent Hyundai and Kia setups very hard to fault and, in the Palisade, it contributed to the kind of relaxed highway cruising experience that family buyers really should be demanding from their new car.


And, as a family car, the Palisade is a vehicle that serves its purpose exceptionally well. With the rear seats folded flat there’s plenty of luggage space, and the two-seat centre row makes access from the sliding door to the rearmost row a piece of cake – it’s almost like the model combines the strengths of a people-mover with the best aspects of a large SUV. Ventilation is terrific throughout and the amenity across all three rows means no one feels like they’re travelling second-class (except perhaps for the centre rear-seat passenger – it’s a bit narrow back there).


But, on balance, the Palisade ticks several boxes. It’s a versatile and practical family hauler that’s well equipped, a pleasure to drive, and surprisingly economical. Bundle in Hyundai’s long warranty and capped-price servicing deal and there really is very little not to like.

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1st of December 2020

Hyundai 2020 Palisade

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