Her + His Car Reviews

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL SUV

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

$43,155 as tested $32,843 (Front Wheel Drive) to $46,451 (All Wheel Drive, Limited version)
The new 2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD midsized SUV is an impressive new model. With a hefty 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower, this big wheeler can move. It is graceful yet has gripping acceleration to move on highways or back roads and the vehicle's handling is responsive. The driver can choose from Comfort, Snow, Eco, Sport and Smart modes - all easily made at the click of a dial. The settings accommodate for the correlated name.

For a newcomer to the class, this 7-seater offers quite hefty towing capability. Properly equipped, it tows up to 5,000 pounds, certainly a new, good option for a family, holiday cruiser.
It performs quite well on the street and on the open road. Powered by a 291 horsepower, 3.8-liter V6, the Palisade is smooth, quiet, accelerates well, and feels very stable and planted on the road. Hyundai hit just the right balance and setting for the steering system.

Hyundai gets big time kudos for the drive mode system. On most cars and SUVS that I have driven which have a mode system, there seldom seems to be much difference in how the vehicle feels or performs. Not with the Palisade.

The Sport mode feels even more smooth because it automatically adjusts the steering effort, as well as the engine and transmission control logic. And yes, the performance is quite significantly enhanced.

The other modes--there are considerably more than you'd find elsewhere in similar systems--include Smart mode. ECO mode is good for fuel efficiency, which works like a charm, delivering three or four miles per gallon more while not affecting the way the car feels at all. Snow mode that distributes the right amount of driving force on icy, or snowy roads.
Fuel Economy
21 miles per gallon Combined, 19 City Miles, and 24 Highway Miles 22 miles per gallon combined, 19 city and 22 highway.
The Car
Hyundai has launched a great introduction with the new 2020 Palisade 3-seater midsized SUV. An updated look, the Palisade replaced the Santa Fe which had excellent ratings from Consumer Reports and was tagged as a top seller.

An updated design with more squared off muscular exterior, tremendous technology and safety features, including outstanding comfort creatures has Hyundai leadership expecting the same for the Palisade. Made in Korea on the identical platform as the 2020 Kia Telluride, the Palisade has a slightly varied consumer base. Not quite the flash as the Telluride, but equal in amenities.

We notice the designers did some really appreciable things to enhance this SUV and separate it. for starters, getting into it is easy. As someone 5' tall, I did not have to make the usual 'giddy-up' to maneuver in. More on the unique design elements in the Aesthetics & Styling section. Seating is also a consideration, as they are quite comfy, great lumbar, and of course heated. Adjustability is at the touch of a finger.

It seats seven (7) easily, or you can switch out the captain's chairs for a row and seat eight (8); the third row has 60/40 folding split for easier access. All supported by 20" alloy wheels. Inside has a luxe look and feel, nicely pointed and presented. Note the infotainment display is prominent 10.25" wide, so easy to see all presented on screen. Passengers in the back are comfortable with air control as they have vents, and USB charging ports, too. For minding the little ones, the new Palisade"s second row secures two (2) full LATCH connectors for car seats. In the middle portion of the seat it has one (1) upper tether. And again, in row three, is one (1) full LATCH connectors and two (2) tether anchors.
The Palisade quite successfully uses Hyundai's formula: Lots of value, lengthy warranty, and styling that sets it apart from competitors. It replaces the Santa Fe XL in Hyundai's lineup, and has gotten rave reviews from auto writers for its value, performance and safety features. It's built on the same platform as the fabulous Kia Telluride which is garnering quite a lot of sales and attention, but the two are dramatically different. The Telluride, with its aggressive styling, and rugged, yet lovely interior, is clearly sportier and athletic looking, while the Palisade looks more conventional and subdued..
Front/Front side Impact/Side Curtain/Driver's Knee Airbags, Proximity Keyless Entry, Push-Button Start, Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Hyundai's entire suite of advanced driver assistance systems has Forward Collision Warning with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, Automatic High Beam Headlights, Lane Departure Warning. Automatic Emergency Braking with Stop and Go Capability, Automatic Emergency Braking. Plus, a 5 Year Roadside Assistance Warranty - see Dealer for details.

Vehicle Stability Management with ESC, ABS w/ Electronic Parking Brake, Rear Occupant Alert, Parking Distance Warning, Safe Exit Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist.
Along with the usual safety features you get on every car or truck, Hyundai provides a lot of advanced standard features like a drowsy driver monitor, lane keeping assist and a rear passenger reminder that lets you know somebody's still in the car on that seat, a rare feature to be found anywhere.
In our tester the Palisade SEL AWD, there was tremendous technology advancement. Let's take a look at them all: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lots of USB ports in all rows, Bluetooth for hands-free. The 10.25" touch screen is upmarket and elaborate and allows for two (2) phones to simultaneously connect - pretty stellar.

Perhaps it should also be noted under the "Safety" section that the Blind View Monitor shows the blind spots in the instrument screen when the turn signal is activated. Again, very technologically superior, especially great for a big vehicle, that a driver be able to see and navigate all that is in (or near) her purview. Now, one of the more innovative features on the vehicle needs to be called out as such and that is an intercom to help to boost voices from the driver to the passengers in the rear of vehicle.

8-speed Automatic Transmission with SHIFTRONIC® paddle shifters. (Are paddle shifters really required on an SUV of this size? I don't know the market segment but how many times will these be used over the life of the vehicle and how much are they costing the customer. Put paddle shifters on smaller cars where the effect can be optimized, not in the family SUV. It occurs to me that this feature on this model is a waste of money). All-Wheel-Drive, Power everything, Rear Seat Quiet Mode.
Regardless of model, you are going to get an awful lot of standard equipment on the Palisade that would cost you extra if you chose a different brand. Hyundai just stuffed this car with so much, starting with the bottom model, the SE. There also are SEL and Limited models for you to choose from as well.

First, all Palisades get the same engine, no matter which model you choose: A 3.8-liter V6 producing 291 horsepower. The transmission on all models is an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive comes with the car, and of course, you can get all-wheel drive, but it will cost you more. They come in either seven or eight passenger layouts.

Let's start with the SE. It includes standard features like heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, remote keyless entry, push-button ignition, full-range adaptive cruise control, second-row air-conditioning controls, power-folding second-row bench seats, 60/40-split folding third-row seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and three USB ports up front. There are two USB ports for the second row.

If you've got the money, the next model up, the SEL might be just the ticket. SEL gives you roof rails, keyless entry, remote ignition, heated front seats, second-row captain's chairs , a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

The Premium package can be ordered if you buy the Convenience package. You will then get LED headlights, leather upholstery, a power front passenger seat, driver-seat memory functions, heated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

A must-have feature is Hyundai's Drive Guidance package, comprised of enhanced driver-assist features, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, satellite radio, an intercom system, and Hyundai's Blue Link Connected Car system.

Now for the cherry on top: The Limited. Added to all the stuff I've mentioned earlier, the Limited provides you with a dual sunroof, automatic wipers, additional driver-seat adjustments, premium leather upholstery, ventilated front and second-row seats, a head-up display, a digital gauge cluster, a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot camera, interior ambient lighting, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system
Aesthetics & Styling
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a welcomed medium-sized - teetering into the 'larger-sized' - SUV stage. It replaces the Santa Fe and has a contemporized, plush desirability with its line up of features, benefits and design elements that appeal to potential buyers of this classification. We especially like the muscular, chiseled exterior accessories by LED taillights and headlights. Accents on the hood and front fašade attract the eye, as well as the stand-out grille.

Large panel windows in the rear of vehicle are critical and appreciated as there are no blind spots for driver; and it also provides a more open view for those in third seat. A mere 18 cubic feet of space behind the third seat; so, things are getting tight. This limited space is not uncommon for third-row SUVs, in fact, it's a bit better than most competitors, especially with the various seat configurations. However, there is a storage area underneath the floor, making it a hidden space saver. Hands-free smart liftgate with auto open for ease with hands are filled. Rear side window sunshades.

Clean soft light gray against a charcoal dash has the interior palate most appealing to the eye. Lots of storage compartments. Under the console is an open cavity to hold last minute items for an easy reach. All seats fold down with touch of a button in the trunk of vehicle; effortless. Roof rails.
From the side, the profile is quite lovely, well balanced and a big departure from its corporate cousin, the Kia Telluride. Hyundai and Kia deserve the highest of kudos for the way that they have distinguished these two brands from each other, giving both brands their own distinct flavor, marketing and ambiance. Way to go! But....about that grille, Hyundai. Get rid of it. Quickly! It's just plain awful.

I know Hyundai can do better. The new Sonata is absolutely stunning. Just plain and have you seen the new Genesis sedan designs? Unbelievable. But the Palisade grille? I don't know if the goal was to make the Palisade more expensive looking, or flashier, or to make it stand out? Whatever the reason, it contains too many styling elements that don't complement each other, lines that seem to go every which way from the headlamps and details surrounding them, to the saw-like grille bars that don't blend in with the beautiful, understated side profile. So much for that topic.

Now the good stuff. The REALLY good stuff. This SUV is hands down one of the best designs for that type of model that I've seen in a long time. Fit, Finish, materials, execution it is all there. And it screams rich!

In addition, the Palisade has full-out, stretch your legs to the limit rear seat space. Seriously. If you want to take a nap in the back seat, go for it! It's worth it! The dashboard looks sufficiently rich for the most part, with only one glitch: the placement of the parking brake button. Don't look for it on the console, or under the dash on the left. It's kind of hidden behind the steering wheel on the bottom left of the dash.

I also wasn't crazy about the push button shift mechanism. Until you get used to it, you find yourself consciously searching for a gear shift or a console shifter. But nope. There it is. Big as day. Pushbuttons. I just wonder if this was just an effort to be different, because the Telluride uses a conventional console mounted shifter.
5 Year/60,000 New Vehicle Warranty. 10 Year/100,000 Mile Powertrain warranty 7 Year Unlimited Mile Anti-Perforation Warranty. 5 Year/Unlimited Mile Roadside Assistance. 10 year, 100,000 mile powertrain limited warranty; five year, 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.