Large families on the hunt for a new ride no longer have to consider just people movers or vans. Now there are multiple top-shelf SUVs to choose from and Hyundai’s flagship is one of the best.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Hyundai Palisade.
The Palisade is the biggest SUV in the Hyundai fleet and recently came in for an upgrade that sharpened the design and added more gear.
Pricing kicks off at about $72,000 drive-away for the Elite with a V6 petrol engine. By the time you get to the Highlander diesel all-wheel drive we’ve tested here it’s more like $87,500.
But it does come packed with equipment, including a head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, double sunroof and Nappa leather trim. There’s also a punchy 12-speaker Infinity sound system.
The centre screen has grown to 12.3 inches and it’s matched by a digital instrument cluster of the same size. There’s also a digital rear vision mirror and remote parking system, which allows the car to be driven forward and backward remotely via the keyfob.
There’s loads of space in the Palisade, especially in the first two rows. Ours was the seven-seat model (an eight-seater is a no-cost option) that has two captain’s chairs in the middle row, for more comfort. The third row is easy to get to and can accommodate adults; our kids had no qualms with the space. Roof-mounted vents pump air to all three rows.
The finishes and materials rival some luxury models, with velvety suede headlining, metal speaker grilles and a wood-look strip flowing from the dash to the doors.
There’s also loads of storage space, including a generous centre binnacle and a shelf beneath the floating centre console.
Traditional buttons make selecting major functions easy and the layout is logical and user-friendly.
There’s airbag protection all around, including side curtains that cover all three rows. The recent update also brought a centre airbag to reduce the chances of front occupants clashing heads. “Safe Exit Assist” can temporarily stop the doors from being opened to save them getting collected by a passing vehicle.
Driver assist tech includes autonomous emergency braking, rear auto braking, blind-spot warning and a 360-degree camera.
The new model has an emergency call function to notify emergency services after a crash.
There’s one area where the new model has gone backwards, though, and that’s the speed warning. Wander 1km/h over the speed limit and four beeps will alert you to your indiscretion. Drive into a school zone outside school times and those same four beeps go off again. You can turn it off with a few presses of the screen – in turn losing the information on what the current speed limit is – but then it defaults to on next time you start the car. After a few days we’d had enough. Long-term ownership would be frustrating.
If you want an all-wheel drive model then it comes with the 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel making 147kW and 440Nm.
It’s nicely suited to the sizeable 2070kg body, with ample low-rev grunt to shuffle things along nicely.
Freeway cruising is a snip, the eight-speed auto rarely having to drop down more than a ratio or two unless a steep hill enters the equation.
Twenty-inch tyres are wrapped in low profile rubber, something that makes sharp imperfections that little more noticeable.
But the suspension controls the Palisade’s bulk well, which results in cornering reassurance that cements the big SUV’s competence.
A serious contender with up-market finishes, a long list of standard features and a hearty diesel engine.
Toyota Kluger Grande Hybrid, from about $83,000 drive-away
Traditional Toyota values shine strongly and the hybrid set-up makes for thrifty around-town running, although tech is lacking in some areas.
Mazda CX-9 Azami, from about $78,000 drive-away
Hearty four-cylinder turbo works well in the big CX-9 body, although it can be thirsty. Quality finishes are let down by occasional oversights due to the Mazda’s age.
Kia Sorento Hybrid AWD, from about $75,500 drive-away
Compact four-cylinder turbo engine teams with electricity to provide ample punch, but cabin lacks third-row sprawling space. Classy interior and long list of gear.
HYUNDAI PALISADE HIGHLANDER 2.2 CRDi
PRICE From about $87,000 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICE Five years, unlimited km, $2445 for five years/75,000km
SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert.
ENGINE 2.2-litre 4 cylinders, 147kW/440Nm
LUGGAGE 704 litres
Originally published as 2023 Hyundai Palisade new car review
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