The Palisade joined the Hyundai lineup in 2020 with much praise as a three-row midsize crossover. The Palisade and platform partner, the Kia Telluride, have since won over consumers and the industry with spacious interiors, impressive technology, trend-setting designs, and overall value. It has set a benchmark for what is expected in a three-row crossover. For 2023, the Palisade receives a refresh with exterior updates, new convenience technologies, new driver assistance technology, and a refreshed interior. It is now available in five different trim levels known as the SE, SEL, XRT (new for 2023), Limited, and Calligraphy. All models come with a 3.8L V6 engine that delivers 291 horsepower and is available with front or all-wheel drive. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.
It seats seven or eight passengers depending on the seating configuration. Standard features include LED lights, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, wireless smartphone connection, rear view monitor with parking guidance, and more. Prices start at $35,900 for a FWD SE and climb into the $49,850 range for a Calligraphy AWD model. Competition includes the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-90, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Grand Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas. I spent a week in an AWD Calligraphy model and here's what stands out...
Premium Features (+)
The Palisade offers a lot of value for the price with a list of available premium features that fit more in line with luxury-level crossovers. Starting outside, an LED lighting system includes premium lighting in front and back with a standout daytime running light signature. Available 20" wheels complement the exterior design with a two-tone machined-finish. Inside top-level materials are available including quilted leather, microfiber-suede headliner, perforated-leather steering wheel and more. Technology is current with a digital instrument cluster, mobile device integration, color touchscreen, premium audio and more. Beyond all of these modern amenities is a long list of available driver assist features thus making the Palisade a well-rounded vehicle in the segment that's built well and priced well.Exterior Styling (+)
The most prominent update to the Palisade is up front where they have added a completely new fascia, grille, headlamps and running lights. The new grille has a family resemblance to the Tucson with a more rugged looking fascia. The highly detailed grille is aggressive and premium looking. A new lighting signature utilizes vertically-connected LED lights that frame the rest of the grille. The side profile remains the same while the rear end also gets a new bumper fascia. The rear view emphasizes a wide, stable stance via vertical LED taillamps and lower fascia skid plate details. Exterior colors carry over from 2022 with one new addition called Robust Emerald. Personally, I like the refresh much better and think it is less polarizing than the initial front fascia.Wheels (+)
Each trim level comes with its own unique set of 18 or 20-inch wheels. All options look great as wheel design continues to be a strong area for Hyundai. SE and SEL models get two different variations of 18-inch wheels. SEL wheels are a machine-faced finish combined with gloss black accents. Stepping up to the top trims, 20-inch wheels are standard with different looks for the Limited and Calligraphy. A new multi-spoke alloy fills the wheel openings well. All designs have a sporty design to them, but the Calligraphy wheels also blend in some depth to its design that gives them a sense of constant motion. XRT Model (+/-)
Hyundai has jumped on the 'off-road' bandwagon and is now offering a new dark-themed, rugged XRT model that complements the Tucson and Santa Fe XRT line-up. The Palisade XRT includes dark finishes all-around, rugged looking 20" allows, skid plate enhancements, dark-finish front grille, black roof rails, power sunroof and black leatherette seats. It is 100% an appearance package with no updates to the actual suspension or capabilities. While many will like the look, note that it still comes with street tires and the same capability as the rest of the Palisade line-up. Interior Updates (+)
The interior of a family crossover must be durable and usable... and Hyundai made an already excellent interior even better for 2023. Palisade now offers an innovative Ergo driver's seat designed to provide comfort and help reduce fatigue during long drives. Palisade's third-row seating now offers heating for its passengers and the second row of seats now offers wing-out headrests and seat ventilation for extra comfort. For the driver, an available full-display digital center rearview mirror uses a rearview camera to allow the driver to clearly see behind the Palisade without the obstructions of passengers or cargo. New, slim horizontal air vents add a sense of spaciousness and premium ambience. The instrument panel has been redesigned for a more voluminous appearance with new ambient lighting themes.Interior Space (+)
The overall space inside has a clean, relaxing vibe for passengers. Up front, both passengers have plenty of head and legroom. An open center console creates space underneath for storage, thus keeping the cabin area clutter free. The center console resembles mission control with push buttons for all the climate controls, electronic gear selection, drive modes, and the heated/ventilated seat controls.
The second row comes with either a bench seat (8-passenger) or captain's chairs (7-passenger). For models with captain's chairs, access to the third row is easy in between the seats or by folding the seats at the touch of a button which slides it forward. The third row is by far the most spacious in the mid-size class with the Atlas being its closest competitor. However, the Atlas only seats two in the third row while the Palisade seats three across comfortably in the back row. For an added open concept feel, the Palisade offers both an opening sunroof up front and a second fixed-glass skylight over the back seats.Seat Comfort (+)
Cloth upholstery is standard on the SE and SEL while a leather trimmed option is also available on the SEL. Limited and Calligraphy models come standard with premium Nappa leather that is soft to the touch and the quilted stitching creates an elegant look. These seats are comfortable and supportive for extended drives. All seats are adjustable and heated seats are standard on SEL trims and up. Other available features include ventilated seats, integrated memory system, heated/ventilated second row seats, leg cushion extension, and lumbar support. Also available are power-folding third-row seats at the touch of a button. Calligraphy models also enhance the luxury vibe with a suede roof liner that looks and feels premium. Cargo Space (+)
Behind the third row is 18 cu.ft. of cargo space. The third-row seats will fold flat to offer 45.8 cu.ft. behind the second row and with both rows flat, there is a total of 86.4 cu.ft. behind the front two seats. Overall capacity is better than most in the segment. Higher trim models offer power folding seats in the second and third row at the touch of a button. As a bonus, there is underfloor storage behind the third row and a hands-free power liftgate.Technology (+)
Behind the newly designed steering wheel is a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel that features a multi-information display at the center of two digital dials. The blind spot monitor system will activate cameras when the turn-signals are activated which projects images into the digital cluster for optimal viewing. Other driver assist features can also be controlled here such as the smart cruise control and lane follow assist.
Slide over to the center of the dash where a now standard 12.3" color touchscreen sits atop the dash. Hyundai's system offers wireless smartphone connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A row of buttons is below the screen with quick access menu buttons and physical dials for audio and tuning. A 630-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system with 12-speakers and surround sound is also available. Overall, the system is intuitive except for a few items such as the ambient lighting settings that require you to tab through a few different screens.
Wireless charging capability has been upgraded from 5 to 15 watts for faster device charging. Also new for 2023 is an available Wi-Fi hotspot capability, a Hyundai first. For more convenience, the third row offers power-folding/unfolding and reclining seats. Second-row captain's chairs are also available. USB-C outlets have been added for faster device charging throughout the interior, providing extra convenience for all passengersOther unique features include Driver Talk which will amplify the front passengers' voice into the speakers for rear seat passengers and Rear Seat Quiet Mode which will subdue the speakers in the back at the touch of a button should you have sleeping children and want to create a quieter environment.
Digital Key (+)
The 2023 Palisade supports the latest version of Hyundai Digital Key. Digital Key 2 Touch allows owners to leave their car key at home and use an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Samsung Galaxy smartphone to lock, unlock, and start their vehicle. After the car key has been added to Apple Wallet or Samsung Pass, users can simply hold the supported device near the door handle to lock or unlock the car. Touching an Apple Watch near or placing the phone in the wireless charger and then pressing the start button allows the driver to start the Palisade's engine. Apple Wallet or Samsung Pass also allows secure sharing of keys with family and friends. Powertrain (+)
The Palisade offers a comfortable driving experience with minimal road noise and reasonable power. All models are equipped with the same 3.8L V6 that delivers 291 horsepower and 262 lb.ft. of torque. It's paired with an 8-speed automatic that is refined and smoothly navigates through the gears. It offers reasonable acceleration from a stop and enough extra power to get cruising on the highway. There are six different drive modes that can be selected through a dial on the center console that include smart, sport, comfort, eco, snow, and AWD lock.
Handling is composed at all speeds making it an easy crossover to drive. Steering is responsive and direct. Even with its larger size, body lean is minimal in quick turns. Stability is good as it absorbs road imperfections with ease. The AWD system is automatic and will kick in when needed to keep the Palisade grounded, but it does not have a low range for more adventurous off-roading. AWD models also add a new Tow Mode which will adjust the powertrain profile for maximum efficiency.Fuel-Economy (+/-)
When it arrived with a full 18.8-gallon tank, it offered around 410 miles of range. EPA estimates are 19/24/21 MPG city/highway/combined and after a week of suburban driving in cold weather I averaged 20 MPG. These ratings are average too low for the class.Safety Features (+)
One of the reasons that makes the Palisade such a value is its long list of standard safety features and it has gotten even longer for 2023. All models come equipped with Hyundai Smartsense safety features which includes many innovative technologies, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, Lane Following Assist, Highway Driving Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist and Remote Smart Parking Assist. All these systems work well and should offer buyers peace of mind that they are already included in the price of the vehicle.Remote Parking Assist (+)
For the first time, Remote parking assist has been added to the Palisade. Often referred to as smart park, it is a neat trick that is quite easy to use. While standing near the vehicle, you can start it up via the remote and once activated, you can control the car at the touch of a button by moving it forward or back as if it was a remote-control car without actually being in the driver seat. The feature is very user friendly and safe. Releasing the button immediately stops the vehicle.Final Statement (+)
The Palisade (and the Telluride) set the bar high for the midsize crossover segment when they launched in 2020. No other brand has been able to match the space, quality, features, and overall value. It has received praise from media and owners alike. The 2023 refresh keeps the Palisade current and competitive with new models that have joined the segment such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Toyota Grand Highlander, along with the recently updated Honda Pilot. The Palisade remains a leader in the segment with even more value and options than before.First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle: 2023 Hyundai Palisade
Calligraphy AWDExterior Color:
Moonlight CloudInterior Color:
Light Beige Nappa LeatherOptions:
NoneMSRP as tested:
$52,310 (With Delivery/Destination)