If you’re looking for a big Hyundai SUV for the family and can’t keep track of whether the latest Santa Fe has 3-row seating or not; Hyundai has finally cleared things up! You want the new Palisade, the biggest Hyundai ute yet. Indeed, just like it sounds, it offers truly palatial space for up to 8. So let’s see what else it has to offer.

The name Palisade is defined as a type of fence with pointed stakes for protection and defense. So, perhaps with the 2020 Palisade, Hyundai is projecting their 3-row, luxury minded SUV as their best line of defense against the endless barrage of big crossovers these days, and a family’s best protection from the outside world! Or, maybe, they just thought the name sounded cool!

Though it does truly look like they want to protect you, by making just about every safety system standard; including Forward and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance. 

Up close and personal, the Palisade is not as big as it appeared when first debuted on the auto show stand; tall for sure, but length is actually just shy of rival Honda Pilot. And, the 114.2-inch wheelbase is the same as the Nissan Pathfinder. 

For better or worse, looks are what can often make or break a vehicle sale. Needless to say Hyundai is not sneaking around. The Palisade wears a huge face that demands respect. Fender extensions, beefy looking rockers, and a high beltline all hope to portray an air of ruggedness; while signature LED lighting, a panoramic glass roof, and this Limited’s 20-inch wheels ensure you don’t miss the design’s luxury. 

The Palisade is of course kin to Kia’s Telluride; though while the Kia is assembled in Georgia, the Palisade is imported from South Korea.  

They share the same naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine partially running on the Atkinson Cycle, and outputting an identical 291-horsepower and 262 lb-ft. of torque. 

The transmission is an 8-speed automatic; sending power to the front wheels, or to all four if Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel-drive system is added. Shift-by-wire does away with the traditional shifter and cleans up the console; leaving a row of small selector buttons, and a transmission that’s slow to respond to them. 

While HTRAC can certainly handle some light off-roading situations with ease; it also comes with a rear-biased Sport mode to improve on-road handling, as well as a Snow mode for optimized winter traction. 

Seating for eight is standard, though 2nd row Captain’s Chairs come with Limited trim. 2nd row space is enormous, and comfort level high. One-Touch folding of the 2nd row allows for easy entry into 3rd; where you’ll find adequate space for adults in a pinch, but also hard cushions.

There’s more cargo space than a Chevy Tahoe behind the 3rd row, 18.0 cubic-ft.; but that’s 3.0 cubic-ft. less than the Telluride, though it can be power-folded here, a feature not available on the Kia. With the middle row down, there’s 45.8 cubic-ft.; maxing out at 86.4 with all seats folded. 

Can’t fit it inside? Well, you can tow it behind you with a 5,000 lb limit. 

Being a Hyundai flagship model, and one aimed at families, means a tech quotient as high as for comfort. 

Well, if your definition of high-tech is a 10-inch touchscreen for navigation and the like, wireless phone charging, and seven USB ports; then you will be happy. 

While there are some similarities, the overall theme of the interior, and dash in particular, are quite different than the Telluride. In the Palisade, there seems to be a clear Mercedes-Benz influence.  

It looks quite luxurious, even if some things feel and respond more Asian than Germanic. 

Our first drives were around the state of Idaho where we found the Palisade to be quite maneuverable and easy to handle. Similar to the Telluride, it drives much smaller than it is, aided by great visibility all around. 

It also responds appropriately quick and powerful out of turns; with good amounts of feel from the light steering, to help you find your way through them smoothly and safely. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are good for a big rig; 19-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined with 2-wheel drive; 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined with all-wheel drive. That rates only slightly below all vehicles as to Energy Impact Score; at 15.0-barrels of yearly oil consumption, with 6.7- tons of CO2 emissions. 

Pricing starts at just $32,595, mid-level SEL is not much more, at $34,545; but it’s a big step up from there to Limited, which starts at $45,745. All-wheel-drive is a $1,700 option for all trims. 

So, what else is Hyundai trying so hard to protect with this 2020 Hyundai Palisade? Perhaps it’s their secret formula for delivering an amazing amount of luxury, practicality, and comfort in a highly desirable package that remains quite attainable. That’s certainly something worth defending and the Palisade easily lives up to its name. 


  • Engine: 3.8 liter
  • Horsepower: 291
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft.
  • EPA: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway,
  • Energy Impact: 15.0 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.7 tons/yr