South Korean automaker Hyundai’s lineup has grown right along with its reputation.
No longer satisfied with just small entry-level transports tagging price-sensitive clients as was the case when first entering the U.S. market in the mid 1980’s, the upstart automaker now boasts a vehicle capable of swallowing eight riders in the form of the very roomy Palisade crossover.
Palisade, as with all Hyundai opportunities, includes at no additional cost a 10-year 100,000-mile powertrain warranty providing a higher peace of mind plateau; a marketing message that worked wonders to establish Hyundai as a Bona fide player. In a crowded field of worthy rivals, this could tilt final decisions in Palisade’s favor.
Introduced three years ago, as a 2020 model year product, Palisade represents the largest and poshest choice in Hyundai’s ever-expanding portfolio. It’s solidly constructed and perfectly positioned in the larger end of the easily garage-able mid-size crossover segment with three rows of seating standard.
Hyundai markets a number of other five-door crossovers, including Santa Fe, sneaking in at the smaller end of the mid-size category. All begin from uni-body or car platforms, allowing for optimal storage, smoother ride/handling and optimal fuel mileage returns. Currently, no bulkier, body-on-frame truck platforms are offered.
Updates for 2022 remain minimal for this relatively new offering, although Hyundai smartly moved once optional passive and active driver assistance features into the standard column across the board including the entry SE. These include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert (an audio beep when pulling slowly back from tightly packed, limited-view parking spots). Also newly added for 2022, side-view mirror housing with turn signal blinkers in all trims.
The one-and-only available engine remains unchanged; a 3.8-liter GDI (gas direct injection) V-6 generating 291 horses. It’s Hyundai’s largest and most-potent powertrain also found in Genesis branded products; a well-tested choice teamed with an eight-speed push-button electronic automatic transmission located on a 45-degree angle ‘Floating Console Bridge’ between front captain’s chairs.
Each illuminating (in red) inline gear position has its own designated brushed metal rectangle (R, N and D) while, P for ‘Park’ is the only one set apart to the left. The engine teams with either front-wheel drive or Mid-west ready all-wheel drive (known as HTRAC in Hyundai lingo) in all four trims for an extra $1,700.
The HTRAC technology adorns other Hyundai and upscale Genesis branded products too, offering a higher degree of handling expertise than simply four wheels churning together. A single clutch modulates and varies the amount of torque sent to rear wheel within the blink of an eye depending upon driving conditions.
The V-6 provides ample power for this sizeable mid-sizer appreciated when merging onto Chicagoland expressways and tollways; Palisade is sold and built with comfort, not performance as a priority. It handles with ease and maneuvers smallish parking lots effortlessly. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and predictability. The brake pedal responds directly without spongey feedback.
Trim levels include SE, SEL, Limited and Calligraphy, a pinnacle choice debuting in 2021. This fully loaded opportunity with top-tier moldings, brushed-aluminum accents and patterned upholstery rivals those from upmarket nameplates, but with a competitive price point.
Our 2022 Calligraphy all-wheel-drive tester checks in at $48,390. Extras were limited to dealer-installed floor mats adding $215, bringing the bottom line to $49,830 including the ubiquitous destination charge ($1,225 in this case). Entry SE with front-wheel drive starts at $33,350.
This second-year Calligraphy adds a few new upscale nuances including elegantly quilted leather side door panels and seat backs, perforated steering wheel, microfiber-suede headliner, light emoting diode (LED) daytime running lights and an eye-catching, bright, Cascading front grille design. Returning as Calligraphy-only perks: side-mirror puddle lamp illumination at night and premium rear accent lighting.
The electronic push-start/stop button resides on the dashboard right of the steering column. The sizeable 12.3-inch all-digital instrument panel display includes familiar analog-type gauge design, but with crisp illumination and an animated burst of artistry when first starting the vehicle.
Standard in Calligraphy and Limited, a slick Blind View Monitor, projecting live action color feeds from tiny side-mounted cameras into the digital instrument panel when activating turn signals. It’s a simple, easy to digest safety perk providing real-time feedback of hard-to-detail activity.
Atop the floating console bridge resides a horizontal HVAC section with digital display window and dials controlling dual front temperatures and a series of large, well-marked buttons between monitoring fan speed and direction.
In all-wheel-drive editions, one finds a large-iconed, tactile dial nearby for selecting one of six drive modes including AWD Lock, delivering a sustained 50-50 front-rear torque helpful during slippery situations. A horizontal row of black buttons control heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel activation along the lower rearward edge closest dual inline cup holders with sliding top.
Four narrow, smallish air vents place across the dash with the center two brimming a row of large brushed-aluminum push buttons working in tandem with the 10.25-inch, easily digestible, multi-function touch-sensitive center screen.
Flaking the buttons, handy twist knobs controlling audio and station presets also teaming with the screen. Popular Android Auto and Apple Car Play Smartphone compatibilities come standard. Seven USB ports intersperse throughout the vehicle along with 16 cupholders (some serving double-duty as cell phone holders).
With the power latch open, enough head clearance awaits for those up to six-feet, four-inches. Along the inside driver’s side wall/panel resides power buttons raising and lowering 50/50-split third row seat backs. Buttons controlling second-row seating are available too, but Captain’s Chair back rests only flop down. Manual labor props them back to attention. Bench-style three-seat second rows comes standard in SE while optional in SEL.
Hyundai makes maneuvering into the second and especially third rows easier than anticipated. That’s good since some mid-size crossovers just get this all wrong. A button atop second row captain’s chairs motivate cushions and seat backs forward together with a simple push, allowing a small aisle formation and access to row three. While three-person seating is advertised in row three, pre-teens fit with optimal comfort. Two adults enjoy better-than average leg room and acceptable head space.
In front, Hyundai designers went to town with a compelling layout starting with two vertically inline projector headlights residing at the lower sides of a huge hexagon-ish cascading grille. A narrow band of three jewel-like amber LED turn signal bulbs gently touch outer topside upper corners. The LED daytime running lights take on a C-clamp form extending from side fenders down to projector beams.
Inline vertical tri taillight bulbs encase in predominantly red housing flanking the sides of the hatch door with the bottom bunk flashing in an Amber hue when signaling turns. Side-by-side circular dual exhausts launch from the passenger’s side lower end. Four large chrome-like grab handles adorn side doors.
The sizeable 18.8-gallon tank accepts regular, 87-octane unleaded fuel with all-wheel drive versions generating a mildly acceptable 19 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway. Add two miles highway when opting for front-drive.
2022 Hyundai Palisade
Price as tested: $49,830
Engine: 3.8-liter V-6
Wheelbase: 114.2 inches
Overall Length: 196.1 inches
Overall Height: 68.9 inches
Overall Width: 77.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4,284 pounds
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Powertrain Warranty: 10-years, 100,000 miles
Assembly: Ulsan, South Korea