10 March 2021

Hyundai Palisade 2021 Car Review

We recently attended the launch of the Hyundai Palisade – the brand-new SUV that now proudly takes its place as the largest and most spacious SUV in the Hyundai vehicle range.

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Hyundai Palisade 2021
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Hyundai Palisade 2021
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Hyundai Palisade 2021
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Hyundai Palisade 2021
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Hyundai Palisade 2021

After being invited to attend the launch of the Hyundai Palisade SUV, we recently spent over a week getting to know it even better.

The Palisade is Hyundai’s large luxury SUV and is available from $99,990 (+ORC). This might seem like an awful lot of money, but the car oozes cutting edge technology and indulgent finishing.

What’s on offer?

The Elite and Limited gives buyers a choice of a 3.8-litre V6 GDi engine with front-wheel drive, or a 2.2-litre four-cylinder CRDi engine with all-wheel drive, which are both mated to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. Based on Hyundai’s current orders, the Limited looks set to be the go-to choice for buyers.

Spacious and luxurious interior

The entry-level Palisade features as standard a crisp seven-inch full LCD Supervision instrument cluster and a clear 10.25-inch satellite navigation unit and is furnished in leather upholstery as standard.

The Palisade has some awesome features, including Driver Talk which gives you the ability to activate an intercom system to attend to the back seat passengers who might be causing a ruckus, which makes it feel almost as though you’re a captain cruising in an airplane. Another innovation is Quiet Mode, which allows you to cut sound to the rear speakers - perhaps when the rear occupants are sleeping but you still want to stream music in the front.

If you want some added spice, Nappa leather variants are available in the Limited variant, as well as power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, three-zone air-conditioning and Infinity premium audio.

The gear selector is a futuristic Shift-by-Wire selector with buttons, which gives the Palisade a rather modern premium experience, especially when combined with the interior styling cues and with push-button start and an electric park brake; there seems to be a button for almost anything you could imagine, all of which are all well labeled in typical Hyundai fashion. Some might criticise the sheer volume of buttons but we prefer a physical button rather than having to trawl through a raft of baffling infotainment menus. And to keep all the occupants satisfied three sets of fully automatic controls give the driver, front passenger and rear occupants the superb luxury and comfort of being able to set their own temperature preferences.

It’s also a highly connected vehicle with even the front seatbacks featuring USB ports and storage pockets, so that second-row occupants can plug in and charge their devices, in fact throughout the cabin there is a total of seven USB ports more than many modern computers poses these days. You also get a smart proximity key and push button start to make life easier so you can effortlessly head off with your friends and family without the fuss of fumbling for keys.

The Hyundai Palisade is fully loaded with all sorts of modern tech. The power tailgate, for example, that not only opens automatically but also allows you to adjust the opening/closing speed and lift height to suit personal preferences, which is a great feature for confined parking buildings.

The front and second row seats offer heating, and there’s a heated steering wheel as standard, too. In addition to this, each Palisade offers a wireless (Qi standard) smartphone charger, which is so handy to avoid a sea of cables enveloping your cockpit. There’s also a staggering 16 cup holders dotted around the Palisade’s interior, which might be a new record for a passenger vehicle!

Storage-wise, with all three rows upright, there’s still 311 litres of luggage space, and with the third row folded there is a sizable 704 litres of space, so large suit cases and that glamping tent will fit in just fine. Most family buyers will recognize that you can never really have enough space especially when it comes to packing up and heading home.

Smart Safety

There are six airbags, including side curtain airbag protection for all three rows, along with a range-standard suite of SmartSense™ technologies. These include multi-function Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist (BCA) systems. There's also Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) systems, and Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go included.

The top-of-the-range Palisade Limited brings even more to the party. In addition to the  Nappa leather upholstery the Limited seven-seat variant has the addition of ventilated seating in the front row it also adds a Blind Spot View Monitor (BVM), Surround View Monitor (SVM) and the open air feeling dual panel wide sunroof.

Bold lines

The Palisade has a bold design and is easy to identify as one of Hyundai’s flagship models. It starts with its distinctive cascading grille, which is cocooned by high-tech, composite headlights and a vertically-connected forward lighting signature which announces your arrival once you reach your destination.

There is a powerful, extended bonnet which adds to the strong road presence and we also noticed some muscular detailing such as the bold over-fenders and sill cladding to add to the staunch silhouette.

The back of the Palisade emphasises its broad stance through crisp and confident detailing, incorporating a vertical LED tail-light design and 20-inch alloy wheels, available across the entire range, which finishes off this strong ensemble nicely.

Under the bonnet

There are two engine choices available, the 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine which develops 217kW & 355Nm and consumes 10.7L/100km. Then there’s the 2.2-litre Turbo Diesel engine, which develops 147kW & 440Nm consuming just 7.3L/100km. The Palisade’s CO2 rating ranges from 195g/km to 248g/km depending on the model.

Sagaciously Sprung

The Palisade benefits from a new chassis tuning approach, which has evolved as a natural development of the local tuning program deployed by Hyundai Australia’s engineering team for the last decade.

The new approach sees Hyundai Australia involved early in the technical development of any given model, providing Australian input to help achieve the ‘flavour’ of the tune required for our Kiwi market.

All models remain composed and stable even at the limits of what one may deem normal operation, and the cars were faced with off-road dips and gullies which will likely never be seen by most drivers. At open road cruising speeds, it glided along beautifully. The entry level V6 model seemed to be the most rambunctious off the line when compared to the diesel variants.


Drivers might be put off paying over $100,000 for a Hyundai, but put the name to one side and you have large SUV with all the bells and whistles. The fact of the matter is that the Palisade wouldn’t look (or feel) out of place alongside similarly-sized models from more luxurious European marques like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. It’s just a shame that Hyundai didn’t read the room and consider a PHEV option.

Many people will wonder whether New Zealand has space in the market for the huge Palisade, especially considering the accomplished Hyundai Santa Fe that is already on sale for a significantly lower cost. We guess only time will tell.

At a glance


Hyundai Palisade


3.8-litre GDi or 2.2 CRDi


From $99,990 

ANCAP safety rating

Not yet rated


217kW (3.8-litre), 147kW (2.2-litre)


Eight speed auto

Fuel economy

10.7L/100km & 248g/km (3.8-litre), 7.3L/100km & 195g/km (2.2-litre)

Towing capacity

2,200kg (Braked)


2WD and 4WD

Seating capacity

7 or 8

Luggage capacity/payload

311 litres (third row up), 704 litres (third row down)

Safety systems

  • Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • Forward Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Lane Following Assist
  • Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist
  • Rear Occupant Alert
  • Safe Exit Assist

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