2024 Hyundai Palisade XRT / Photo by Steve Rossi

Car Review: Hyundai Palisade Shows Brand’s Continued Improvement

EAST HADDAM, CT – The Hyundai Palisade XRT confirms my opinion about Korean cars. Each one I drive is better than the last. And while the Japanese may have honed the skill of continuous improvement, Hyundai has mastered it.

The Palisade is a recent offering that’s allowed the company to step into the three-row seating fray and serves as the brand’s flagship. It’s both handsome, purposeful and a bit boxy by design; not too swoopy or over styled with trendy design cues. 

Instead, it focuses more on maximizing the inside proportions. It accommodates big-framed and broad-shouldered buyers and is designed to withstand the test of time both aesthetically and practically.

The XRT is somewhat of a “stealth” edition and adds rugged, black trim accoutrements, such as the grille, lower bumper and door garnish. Along with a unique set of 20-inch black wheels and such interior embellishments as Black H-Tex trimmed seats and rear side widow sunshades. 

Unfortunately, a pair of portly roof rack rails are included, too, which results in somewhat noticeable wind noise.

The Palisade ride quality is surprisingly quiet and accommodating to the level of which you’d find on more expensive competitors. The generous, 114-inch wheelbase (same as a Jeep Grand Cherokee) helps as does the self- leveling, multi-link, independent rear suspension. 

Sound-deadening carpet is standard. My XRT rode on a set of Hankook Ventus tires which the company describes as “high performance; optimized for pleasant high-speed driving and stable handling.” 

Likewise, when it comes to the powertrain, Hyundai has concentrated on refining instead of reinventing. All Palisades are powered by the same 3.8-liter, 291-horsepower V6 which is plenty enough for its stock in trade as a family hauler. Particular attention was paid to under-hood isolation and noise reduction.

The fuel saving auto stop/start system has been tuned for minimal intrusion. Too bad about those previously mentioned roof rails.

Instead of a lesser CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), a true eight-speed automatic transmission is included for smooth, predictable behavior. HTRAC (Hyundai TRACtion) all-wheel drive automatically activates when necessary, thus it intelligently selects its drive mode as a function of conditions for improved roadworthiness and overall economy. It also includes a tow mode (up to 5,000 lbs), which holds low gears longer.

An updated instrument panel and 12-inch LCD color gauge cluster is supplemented by a 12-inch-wide center touchscreen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth, Bluelink+ connectivity (Roadside Assist, Smartphone Starting, etc.), multi-device compatibility and wireless fast charging ensures that utmost personability will be maintained with your personal device. 

A good number of old school buttons and switches have been maintained, so the Palisade is intuitive and easy to operate.

My XRT included eight-way power seats with lumbar support which were followed by a pair of captain’s chairs in the second row. Those seats and third row ingress/egress is assisted by one-touch electronic access. There are also automatic HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) controls and additional USB ports back there. 

As an indication of attention to detail, such niceties as receptables for the seat belt tangs are molded into the side panels so they don’t rattle when not in use.

Focusing on family first, the Palisade provides a generous suite of advanced driver assistance systems which includes 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. 

That’s a lot of assistance, which is why it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Rear side air bags are also standard. 

The all-wheel drive Palisade registers 19 City/24 Hwy mpg and XRT pricing starts at $41,800. That’s a lot of value for the money considering that the average new car price is now $47,244.

As is typically Hyundai, confidence comes standard with America’s best powertrain warranty – 10 year/100,000 miles, along with 3 year/36,000 complimentary basic maintenance.

In the words of the company, the Palisade represents “new thinking” to create “new possibilities.” Hyundai now has almost 850 dealers across America (compared to Toyota’s 1,300), with more than 800,000 Hyundais (compared to 2.3 million Toyotas, including pickups) sold here last year. That’s an increase of 11% for the Korean car maker, which further confirms my opinion of the brand.

(Photos courtesy of Hyundai unless otherwise noted.)

About Steven Rossi

Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer-turned-marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as senior columnist for "Antique Automobile" magazine. His work has also appeared in "Collectible Automobile" and "The New York Times." He holds 21 international speed and world automotive endurance records.

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