“7 Seat Luxury on a Budget”
Occasionally in the automotive industry things happen that turn the status quo on its head. You expect Mercedes and BMW and Lexus to produce high quality, uber luxury SUV’s and you expect to pay a pretty penny for them. On the flip side you expect the middle of the pack companies like Honda, Nissan, Ford and Toyota, to name but a few, to make good quality, budget conscious, vehicles that won’t break the bank. However, Hyundai decided to throw a wrench into this equation. This year the Korean jug gernaut introduced the Palisade to the driving public. A mid size, 7/8 seater SUV, depending on how you configure it, that makes you question why you would want to walk over to the traditional Luxury Brand side of your local automall.
The engineers at Hyundai spent their efforts on designing a true luxury experience with the Palisade. The inspiration for this luxury was drawn from the boating industry and specifically high-end yacht. This inspiration flows from the outside into the interior and the wide expansive feeling the Palisade exudes. The overall design appears classic with a unique LED headlight design and placement. The headlights actually sit below the upper LED DRL’s where you would expect the actual headlights to be.
To urge this people mover, Hyundai, have placed a 3.8L naturally aspirated V6 good for 291 bhp and 262 lb-ft of torque. In practicality, this produces a sufficient amount of thrust but would not be mistaken for sporty. Mated to V6 is a silky 8 speed auto and with all models except the base model that has FWD only, all other trim levels come with a sophisticated terrain and drive select system allowing for adjustment between ECO, Comfort and Sport, along with Snow, Mud and Sand. The result is a smooth unrushed power delivery. The ride is comfortable and never harsh, cloud like with the Palisade soaking up the road noise and bumps. This comfortable cloud like ride does come at a price, when pushed the Palisade tends to roll and sway a bit more than competitors in the segment. To handle essentially all the urban weather can throw at the Palisade, Hyundai’s system modulates power to each wheel with greatest traction using active braking to modulate torque. This will ensure you make it through the local snow storm with ease.
The jewel in the Palisade’s chest is the interior. It is a plush comfortable environment that uses uniquely textured materials and surfaces. The highlight of the interior are two LCD screens. The digital cluster measures in at 12.3” and the center touchscreen at 10.25”. The center screen then flows smoothly into the switch controls and then into the climate controls housed in the top of the center console. The center console houses a configurable storage tray that transforms from storage bin, nearfield charging area and to multi cup holder. Hyundai uses a uniquely textured weave pattern that sets it apart from simple matte or gloss plastics for the center console. The seats provide for a supportive yet supple, perfect for long cruises. Rear passengers can enjoy captain seats which come heated and cooled along with second and third row independent USB charging ports. The tech in the Palisade for this price point is a cut above. You have features like in cabin announcement controlled by the driver, rear audio shutoff, blind spot camera system (Blind View Monitor), Safe Exit (alerting exiting passengers to cars driving up beside the Palisade as they are about to exit). The overall experience is one of serenity and is aptly called the “Wellness Center” by Hyundai.
The 7/8 seat midsize SUV market is ruthless segment of the industry. Every manufacturer is vying for a slice of the pie. With the likes of Toyota redesigning the all-new Highlander, a class leader in this segment, Hyundai has it’s work cut out. The other elephant in the room is the release of Hyundai’s sister company’s Kia Telluride. Ringing in at an as tested price of $54,525.00 the Hyundai edges out the Toyota by about $1,500 dollars. However, differences are in the details. The Hyundai feels more upscale and refined and its lines appear to flow more smoothly. This is where the Palisade shines; it introduces buyers to level of luxury not usually found at this price point and who doesn’t want luxury.