When Kia debuted its Telluride crossover last spring, you knew that a Hyundai version would be along shortly.
Now, it’s here. Hyundai’s midsize, three-row Palisade arrived in showrooms this summer.
Hewing to corporate strategy, the Kia presents as a more rugged crossover, while the Hyundai has a luxurious ambience.
However you slice it, though, both are very good cars and will compete well in the midsize crossover segment.
Entering the kid zone
The 2020 Palisade accommodates seven or eight. Typical of midsize three-row crossovers, the third row is a kid zone. The second-row seats fold forward at the push of a button to allow young ones easy access to the way back.
Cargo space behind the third row is about average for the class, with additional room under the cargo floor. Second- and third-row seats drop to create a flat floor.
Casual cabin storage includes space within and beneath the “floating-bridge” center console. The Palisade uses a space-saving, console-mounted push-button gear selector.
The Palisade is available in three trims: SE ($32,595), SEL ($34,545) and Limited ($45,745).
In the Hyundai tradition, even the base SE is well equipped, while the Limited brushes up against the luxury segment.
Fit-and-finish and build quality appear to rank with the industry’s best. Extensive noise-reduction strategies produce a quiet cabin.
Our test vehicle dished up a first-rate ride; its suspension easily absorbed the impact of potholes and railroad beds.
From behind the wheel, the Palisade drives like a smaller car. But it’s tall and carries its weight high, so it’s not especially nimble, nor is it as engaging as costlier German competitors.
Nearly every driver should be able to find a comfortable driving position and visibility is good in every direction.
All models are powered by a 291-horsepower V-6 paired with an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; AWD is available.
The Palisade runs the 0-60 sprint in a tick or two under 7 seconds.
Equipped to tow
Properly equipped, it is rated to tow up to 5000 pounds. Hyundai equips every model with a transmission cooler, trailer pre-wiring and sway control. The buyer needs only to pony up for the dealer-installed hitch.
As always, Hyundai goes long on standard features. The SE gets remote keyless entry, push-button ignition, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, full-range adaptive cruise control, second-row air-conditioning controls, power-folding second-row bench seats and 60/40 split-folding third-row seats.
Lower trims get an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen; upper trims have a 10.3-inch unit. Most operations can also be managed using a set of redundant buttons. The system responds quickly and its menus are logical.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard and five USB ports — two up front and two in the second row — keep the family’s devices charged.
Two Bluetooth devices can be connected simultaneously, one for a mobile phone connection and the other for streaming audio.
All Palisades are equipped with automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a drowsy driver monitor and lane-keeping assist. A rear-passenger alert reminds owners to check the back seat for items (or children) placed there since the car was last started.
Sixteen cupholders — count ’em — satisfy a family’s need for hydration and caffeination.
Innovations include a pair of display screens in the driver-information panel that augments the blind-spot warning system. When the turn signal is activated, they display a rearward view down either side of the car.
An industry-first roof-vent diffuser allows rear-seat passengers adjust the flow of the air-conditioner airstream, from a tightly focused stream to one that’s fully diffused. The design reduces drafts and quiets the airflow.
Other available family-friendly features include an intercom that enables front-seat passengers to address those in the back via the audio system. A Rear Sleep Mode mutes the rear-seat speakers, so the folks up can listen to their tunes without disturbing those in back.
Hyundai has done its homework on the habits of U.S. families and the Palisade delivers the goods.
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2020 Hyundai Palisade Limited AWD
Vehicle base price: $32,595
Trim level base price: $45,745
As tested: $47,605 (includes destination and handling)
Options included AWD and carpeted floor mats.
Tow rating: 5,000 pounds
EPA rating: 21 combined/19 city/24 highway
Regular unleaded fuel specified