The Hyundai Palisade means business when it comes to size, and that sense of size is carried throughout the car in its design and features. It's a people mover disguised as an SUV.
I drove the Palisade for over a week with my family of three to see how it shapes up to our daily needs. We drove the Elite, one of the mid level entry points to Hyundai’s largest SUV. Our model had eight seats but other variants come with seven.
It competes with other large SUVs like the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9. The eight-seater Elite will set you back $62,200, before on-road costs, but it does come with an impressive line-up of features that help it earn its price tag.
While it’s not the sexiest looking SUV I’ve ever seen it’s stylish enough to avoid the brick on wheels look.
It has an oversized grille that makes the bonnet really pop but when you add the 20-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and the long lines to the boxed rear, it makes for a powerful curb side impression.
LED daytime running lights and the long lines to the boxed rear, it makes for a powerful curb side impression. (Image: Dean McCartney)
The interior is also downright plush. It’s here that the Palisade earns its style marks. That ‘large’ aesthetic is carried into the cabin to the width of the middle console, to the buttons and the 10.25-inch touchscreen. The heated front seats and sunroof just add to the wow factor.
It has an oversized grille that makes the bonnet really pop but when you add the 20-inch alloy wheels. (Image: Dean McCartney)
However, you only get four choices of exterior colours, and besides the white option, they all cost an extra $695 – which is a bit cheeky given the limited choices available.
You can choose black, white, grey or a lovely ‘Sierra Burgundy’ colour (which we had) and that’s it. A splash of colour could give this car's exterior a bit more personality.
The Elite we drove had a 3.8-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine and you feel the power of the V6 in the driving. It doesn’t feel like you’re hauling a truck around. This car is powerful and really goes when you put your foot down.
The ride is comfortable, too, with the sports seats and a forgiving suspension. It’s not super quiet in the cabin but it doesn't intrude too much on chatting.
With the 3.8-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine and you feel the power of the V6 in the driving. (Image: Dean McCartney)
While it has lane departure warning, I found it too ‘urgent’ and loud with the beeping, so I turned the feature off. Ultimately though, this car is a pleasure to drive.
Parking is surprisingly good. The wide C-pillar and narrow third row windows do hinder visibility but the parking sensors and rear camera make these small issues.
I would have liked a 360-degree camera view, which should come standard in a car as long as this. You can get this feature in the higher spec Highlander model, though.
The designers have obviously thought about real-world practicality with this car as each row has been carefully thought out with comfort in mind. You will not be found wanting for storage and its something I look for in a family car because, let’s be honest, family’s usually come with an array of ‘stuff’ to fit in.
In the first row the centre console is deep and has a removable storage tray for your oddities but it’s the cupholder bay that I'm very fond of. This space is already quite large (I fit my phone, keys, sunglasses case, coffees and wet wipes in, all at the same time!) but the two cupholders are retractable, giving you even more space. There’s also a wireless charging pad for compatible smart phones and a USB port for connectivity.
In the first row the centre console is deep and has a removable storage tray for your oddities but it’s the cupholder bay. (Image: Dean McCartney)
I also loved the storage area underneath the middle console. I’m not sure what its technical name is but my mum dubbed it the ‘space caddy’. It fit my large handbag and it meant I could have my handbag up front but it wasn’t taking up space on the seat or floor. It also has a USB port.
The second row is a great size and there’s plenty of space for taller individuals. In this row, there is a middle armrest with two cupholders, as well as a cupholder and two bottle holders on each door (total of six). I also liked the flat floor, meaning the middle occupant can lay their feet flat, too.
In the second row, there is a middle armrest with two cupholders, as well as a cupholder and two bottle holders on each door (total of six). (Image: Dean McCartney)
The third row is a tad small though and while it claims to have three seats, it’s really only large enough for two adults (on short trips) or three very narrow kids.
You have two cupholders on each wheel arch, though, as well as two USB ports. Both the second and third rows have directional and zoned air-vents in the ceiling which, in my opinion, is a must-have comfort for passengers.
The third row is a tad small though and while it claims to have three seats. (Image: Dean McCartney)
I liked the boot space and with the third row up, you still get a decent 311 litres of space, but with the third row down that grows to 704L.
2022 Hyundai Palisade I Boot
2022 Hyundai Palisade I Boot
It’s not as large as some other SUVs on the market but it gets the job done. I had paintings and luggage to haul this week and it fit them all admirably.
Again, it’s a big car and that’s obvious on the inside. Even the air vents and buttons are wide. The middle console panel is slanted, making it very easy to access on the go.
The Palisade doesn’t have a traditional gear shifter and it took me a little while to get used to the shift ‘buttons’ but I ended up liking them more than I thought I would.
Would prefer the electric brake to be situated in the same area, though, as its to location to the right of the steering column is disorienting.
The touchscreen is super easy to use and connecting my phone took little effort. (Image: Dean McCartney)
The touchscreen is super easy to use and connecting my phone took little effort. The synthetic leather-trimmed sports seats are a highlight. They make you feel like you’re being cuddled and deliver a very comfortable ride.
Rearranging the configuration for the second and third rows is a bit cumbersome, though. There’s a mix of powered and manual adjustments that don’t flow well.
For example, the second row has an electric folding button in the boot but you have to manually push the seats back up. This isn’t a big deal, but on a car this long, when your five-year old ‘accidentally’ pushes the buttons, it can be a tiresome process.
There are two ISOFIX points and three top tethers in the second row. And when you have a car seat fixed on the left-hand side, the middle seatbelt gets tucked behind it and the middle seat becomes quite small.
I’m not 100 per cent sure you could get three car seats in. Also, the second row seats won’t slide forward when you have a car seat fixed, meaning the third row can only be accessed from the boot.
On the third row, you have one ISOFIX point plus two top tethers on the left-hand side and middle seats but you won’t be able to fit two car seats side-by-side with the tethers positioned as they are.
I also wouldn’t want to be mucking around fitting a toddler in the third row because it’s an awkward space to get into.
A powered tailgate makes life a lot easier to be able to just push a button, either on the boot lid or while seated in the front seat. (Image: Dean McCartney)
I also found the straps to put the third row down can sometimes slingshot forward and tuck in underneath the seats when you’re folding them down.
If you have a car seat installed in the second row, you have to climb into the boot to grab the strap. A powered third row would be welcome here.
I’m obsessed with a powered tailgate because it makes life a lot easier to be able to just push a button, either on the boot lid or while seated in the front seat. Always a handy feature.
My five-year old wanted to touch everything inside the Palisade, and loved discovering storage spaces and the features it has. While I had it, everyone made a point of commenting on this car and having a peek inside. A car that can create that much curiosity deserves your attention.
I'd like more customisation options on the interior materials and exterior colours, but this car was lovely to potter around in. It has the power, looks and comfort and ticks boxes for all members of the family. It gets an 8.5/10 from me and a 9.5/10 from my son.
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