The 2020 Palisade is a new midsize SUV from Hyundai with three rows of seats providing plenty of space for up to eight passengers. A replacement for the Hyundai Santa Fe XL and now the largest model in Hyundai’s lineup, Palisade becomes the company’s flagship.
Size isn’t the only factor dictating Palisade’s flagship status. An all-new chassis, artistic styling, copious upscale features, and technology to the utmost are other contributors.
There are three Palisade trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. All are powered by a 291-horsepower V6 engine joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional on each trim.
Palisade takes regular unleaded gasoline. Fuel economy ratings for front-drive are 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. All-wheel-drive ratings are 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.
Including a $1,095 destination charge, base pricing starts at $32,645 for a front-drive SE model. The mid-range SEL is $34,595. All-wheel drive is $1,700 extra. The top-tier Limited AWD version is $47,495.
For this review, I drove the Palisade Limited AWD, which comes only in seven-passenger configuration (second-row captain’s chairs instead of a three-seat bench). Roominess prevailed, with abundant space throughout, even in the third row. To be clear, I wouldn’t want to actually sit in the third row myself. All I’m saying is that it isn’t strictly limited to little kids, like most third-row areas.
And then there’s the Palisade’s big old cargo area: a generous 18 cubic feet even with all seats upright, and 45.8 cubic feet with the third row folded. Power folding, unfolding, and reclining for third-row seats is a standard feature on the Limited trim.
Other notable standard features on the Limited trim include an inclusive suite of driver assistance systems, 20-inch wheels, a dual sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, power heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a 630-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system with 12 speakers.
The Palisade’s only interior deficit is too-narrow door pockets. I always travel with a 12-ounce refillable bottle of Voss water in the car. That’s a tall but slender, and not very big bottle, right? Upright, lying down, or resting at an angle, it fits into door pockets. But not Palisade’s. Not a deal breaker, but still.
Palisade’s powertrain is a good fit for a midsize SUV intended for transporting multiple people and their gear in comfort, safety, and rich but not ostentatious surroundings. There are several different driving modes to suit various road conditions and power demands, and paddle shifters are standard on all models.
2020 HYUNDAI PALISADE LIMITED AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $47,495
Price as driven: $47,655
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.