2021 Hyundai Palisade Review
The Hyundai Palisade is a midsize three-row SUV that serves as the brand's biggest and most expensive SUV. Compared to the model it replaced, the Santa Fe XL, the Palisade is roomier, more comfortable and more refined. Typical Hyundai strengths also abound, as the Palisade is packed with features and backed by a comprehensive warranty.
Take one step inside the cabin and you'll find this Hyundai is one of the most luxuriously trimmed vehicles in the class. In fact, a new range-topping Calligraphy trim debuts for 2021, adding exotic luxury features such as quilted-leather door inserts and a suede-like headliner. Overall, the Palisade is one of our top picks in the three-row SUV class. But is it the right model for you? Read more about the Palisade in our in-depth Expert Review below.
The Hyundai Palisade might be new to the three-row crossover SUV segment, but it's already one of our top picks. Packed with value, comfort and capability, the Palisade has everything shoppers are looking for. Only the lackluster handling and mediocre fuel economy could be considered demerits, but they are minor ones given this well-rounded SUV.
How does the Palisade drive?
What the Palisade lacks in all-out performance it more than makes up for with a competent and well-rounded skill set. Accelerating from a standstill to 60 mph takes 7.6 seconds, which is an average time for a three-row SUV. High-speed passing can be done with confidence. In our emergency braking tests, the Palisade demonstrated strong and predictable braking. In more routine driving, the brake pedal is easy to control for smooth stops.
Handling and steering are less of a strong point, but the big Hyundai rarely feels sloppy or out of sorts as you drive around turns. Thanks in part to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic, the Palisade is a stress-free companion for both city and highway driving.
How comfortable is the Palisade?
Three-row SUVs aren't always hauling around six or seven people, so there's something to be said for having a little peace when it's just you. The Palisade delivers with minimal amounts of road and wind noise and a quiet yet effective climate control system.
The front seats offer a nice mix of support for cornering and comfort for driving long distances. Just about everybody should like them. The optional second-row captain's chairs are just as good and feel better than some front seats in other vehicles. Even the third row is decent and has a nicely contoured seat cushion.
How’s the interior?
The Hyundai Palisade blurs the lines between near-luxury and luxury thanks to a well-appointed and comfortable interior for all its passengers. Though a few of the controls on the center stack are a bit of a reach, everything is laid out well and simple to understand. The driving position offers a commanding view out the front and sides, and the somewhat limited rear visibility can be offset with the optional surround-view camera system.
Rear passengers will also like the Palisade. The rear doors open wide, and you can easily slide the optional second-row captain's chairs up and out of the way by pushing a button. Once done, there's a clear path to the third-row seat.
How’s the tech?
The Palisade is equipped with several collision avoidance and mitigation systems as well as adaptive cruise control that operates down to a stop. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, and numerous USB ports are spread across all three rows (although only one can be used for phone connectivity). The wide infotainment screen looks sharp, and it comes with navigation that offers several useful features.
Our Limited test vehicle also had the head-up display and rear-seat intercom features; both are useful. Sound quality from the upgraded 10-speaker sound system is decent but not outstanding. Another mild disappointment is the optional turn-signal camera display in the gauge cluster. It's gimmicky and can be distracting to use.
How’s the storage?
Trunk space is generous, with 18 cubic feet behind the third row and 87 cubes with both rows folded down. Beyond that, the hatch opening is wide and accommodating. There's also a useful underfloor compartment. The Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, which is an average amount for the class.
Small-item storage is almost too much of a good thing: a fairly giant center bin with a retractable cover, a second bin on the floor between the front passenger seats, and a traditional center console. Cupholders are retractable but allow for smaller bottles to rattle about. Even the bulkiest car seats fit easily, and the seat anchors are easy to find.
How economical is the Palisade?
The EPA estimates an all-wheel-drive Palisade will get 21 mpg in combined city/highway driving. We were able to match that with our test vehicle on our 115-mile evaluation route. Some rival SUVs offer better fuel economy. But you can run the V6 on regular gas, unlike some rival SUVs that require premium unleaded to return their rated power and fuel economy numbers.
Is the Palisade a good value?
The Palisade, and its corporate sibling, the Kia Telluride, might be the best value in the class. Everything is top-notch, from the driving experience to the interior quality to the standard and optional features. Even the base model seems to give you a bit extra, and in the top trims you get a near-luxury experience. Overall, we are very impressed with the quality and feel of the Palisade. You also get Hyundai's excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance.
The Palisade really blurs the lines between a luxury and non-luxury vehicle. Value and quality are everywhere. This Hyundai has a breadth of talents and is sure to find itself near the top of this competitive class for a few years to come.
Which Palisade does Edmunds recommend?
The SEL is undoubtedly the sweet spot in the Palisade lineup. It doesn't cost much more than the SE and comes with a dizzying number of quality-of-life upgrades. There are also a pair of option packages that allow you to get a few more goodies without jumping all the way to the Limited.
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Hyundai Palisade models
The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a three-row midsize SUV sold in four trims: SE, SEL, Limited and Calligraphy. All models are powered by a 3.8-liter V6 (291 horsepower, 262 lb-ft of torque) that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is an option on all trims.