CHATHAM, Mass. – Hyundai’s television ads for the three-row Palisade sport-utility vehicle (SUV) always revolves around a happy family, a theme I thoroughly understand following a week enjoying its technology, features, amenities, comfort and driving characteristics.
My review sample was a 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD, the pinnacle of the brand’s diverse SUV lineup which ranges from the subcompact Venue and Kona to the compact Tucson to the small mid-size Santa Fe to the large mid-size Palisade. And that list does not include the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions of some of these as well as the all-electric Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 and Nexo fuel-cell vehicle.
Efficient powertrain and platform
The introduction of the Palisade in 2018 meant the Korean automaker now offered a modern, highly competitive entry in all SUV categories. The company decided its flagship would be motivated by 3.8-liter Atkinson Cycle GDI (gas direct injection) D-CVVT 24-valve six-cylinder engine.
These engine descriptors translate into a powerplant which produces 291 horsepower and 262 pounds-feet of torque; is capable of propelling the large (4,506-pound, 196.7-inch long/68.9 in high/77.8 in wide) SUV from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under seven seconds, and tow a trailer of up to 5,000 pounds (with the factory hitch), while returning almost 25 miles per gallon.
That fuel-economy figure was my observed mileage (24.9 mpg). The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates the Palisade Calligraphy AWD at 21 mpg overall (19 urban, 25 highway).
The power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission into Hyundai’s H-Trac active-on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD) system. Depending upon road surface and environmental conditions, the driver can select unique drive modes regulating shift points, throttle positions for: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Smart, SNOW mode, TOW mode, and AWD Lock.
A fully independent suspension – MacPherson type struts up front, multi-link in the rear – provides solid underpinnings for a smooth, quiet ride while also yielding reassuring handling prowess.
Bringing the Palisade to a halt is a power-assisted, four-channel anti-lock (ABS), four-wheel disc-brake system with 13.38-inch vented rotors in the front, 12-inch solid ones up front.
Comprehensive list of advanced driver-assistance systems standard
The Calligraphy utilizes computer capabilities of the aforementioned braking system for the electronic-stability control with traction control and vehicle stability management as well as many of the advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
The ADAS roster includes: Blind Spot Collision Warning; Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist; Parking Distance Warning Forward and Reverse; Parking Collision Avoidance Assist Reverse; Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert; Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Car/Ped/Cyclist Detection & JT/JC/LO/LS /ESA; Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Following Assist; Driver Attention Warning; Safe Exit Assist; Highway Driving Assist/HDA II; 360° surround-view camera; head-up display (Hyundai’s is one of the industry’s best, featuring ADAS alerts), and Trailer Sway Control.
A premium interior befitting flagship position
Nappa leather covers the (seven-person; an eight-seat option is available) seats in all three rows with the first two rows (individual thrones for all four occupants) having heat and ventilation (the fronts with power adjustment, four-way lumbar, massage and thigh-cushion extension).
Third-row occupants are treated better in the Calligraphy than in most SUVs. They have heat, a power slide for the second row to ease ingress/egress as well as several cupholders and USB outlets.
Three-zone automatic climate-control, with outlets throughout for all passengers, keeps things toasty in the winter, cool in the summer.
Hyundai’s 12.3-inch LCD touch screen provides the control center for the comprehensive infotainment system which includes a navigation system which interacts with the smart cruise-control system (which can “anticipate” curves based upon a designated driving route and moderate the Palisade’s speed to handle the road).
A 12-speaker 630-Watt Harman Kardon® premium audio system with Quantum Logic Surround® with Clari Fi ™Music Restoration Technology, pumps out the infotainment’s sounds.
The system also includes an in-car intercom to facilitate front-seat occupants speaking with those in the rear rows without shouting above the audio system or the voices of the gathered passengers.
Miscellaneous features include wireless mobile-device charging, seven USB outlets (both USB-C and USB-A); 14 cup/bottle holders; keyless entry/operation (including smartphone capability); rear side-window shades; a 12-Volt outlet, and a 110-Volt outlet.
A value-packed, loaded SUV
This is a loaded vehicle – lots of premium, luxury and useable features, amenities and convenience items for the money. It drives well, handling every-day activities with aplomb; provides excellent room for all family members (including today’s more substantial infant/baby/toddler car seats) and their stuff, and does it all in quiet, smooth comfort.
The Hyundai Palisade range covers five trim levels from the $35,550 SE front-wheel drive model to the $51,400 Calligraphy AWD I drove.
There is a lot of vehicle within that price, equal to or better value than the other large mid-size, three-row SUVs. The Palisade is comfortable, reassuring to drive; fuel and operationally efficient and a welcoming place for up to seven occupants.