When it debuted nearly three years ago, Hyundai offered us the opportunity of driving the Palisade on the curvy and hilly Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina. The midsize SUV was more than up to the job to climb the mountainous terrain of ‘America’s Favorite Drive.’ And recently, when the Korean carmaker dispatched over the Calligraphy trim for us to test on Tampa Bay roads, it once again proved to be a stylish, attractive and laid-back ride.
The Palisade and its sibling in the other stable, Kia Telluride, share quite a few of the powertrain features. It also comes in a seven or eight-passenger configuration and is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that blasts off 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 pounds-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The eight-speed auto gearbox with paddle shifters is seamless while fitted with an engine start/stop system, which turns the engine off at a halt to save gas. Tow has been added to eco, comfort, smart and sport drive modes (snow and AWD lock for all-wheel drive).
Diamond-cut elements gaze from the new parametric-jewel-pattern cascading Hyundai grille decked in a shiny black/chrome coat. It is surrounded by ‘crocodile-eye’ LED headlights, daytime running lights and turn signals. The revamped cabin gets lavish and eye-catching treatment, mainly its massive dual 12.3-inch displays: a touch screen for infotainment system, and the other for digital instrument cluster. Slim horizontal air vents across the dashboard look chic.
Also offered are eight-way cooled/heated driver and front-passenger power seats; Nappa leather surfaces; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; head-up display; heated second-row captain’s chairs, which fold via power button, as does the third row (this one’s heated too); dual auto AC and sunroof; tilt/telescopic steering column; seven USB ports; 14 cup/bottle holders; a 630-watt Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers; and a suede headliner.
The Palisade comes standard with Hyundai SmartSense, which includes forward and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, safe exit and lane keep assists; blind-spot collision and front/reverse park distance warnings and smart cruise control; there also are 10 airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, vehicle stability/traction control, front/rear crumple zones, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.
Base-priced at $51,750, the Palisade has tremendous value for the money. The SUV might be a 4,506-pound vehicle, but it is a commanding machine that results in a well-composed drive, with sharp handling and respectable overall balance. A spacious, well-crafted and gorgeous cabin is another positive to give sleepless nights to old, established competitors on the road.