Affordable Luxury Part 2: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Review

Hyundai has recently been introducing a lot of new products to the vehicle lineup, with a very large selection of SUV/CUVs lately. This is especially apparent in their SUV/CUV lineup which consists of 5 gasoline powered SUV/CUVs, a hydrogen powered CUV called the Nexo and the Electric Kona. In their gasoline powered SUV/CUV offerings they have the refreshed Tucson, the all-new Santa Fe, the all-new Palisade, and the soon to be released Venue.

Consumers are flocking to these types of vehicles and Hyundai is providing a variety of SUV/CUVs that should meet pretty much every type of need, whether it’s small city CUV like the Venue and Kona or large SUV like the Palisade, Hyundai has you covered.

The latest offering from Hyundai is the Palisade, a large three row SUV (or is it a CUV?). The Palisade is Hyundai’s version of the Kia Telluride, which we reviewed earlier in the summer. Both of these vehicles have been extremely popular for the Korean carmaker, I have seen reports of people waiting months to get their vehicle, due to high demand.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Review 1


In Canada, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade comes in four trims: the base Essential has a starting price of $38,499, the Preferred starts at $45,499, the Luxury starts at $50,199, and the top of the line Ultimate starts at $53,999. Prices are pretty much identical to Telluride prices; however, Hyundai does offer the cheaper “Essential” trim with FWD, all other trims come with AWD as standard equipment.

Our review car for the week was the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Ultimate, with total price tag of $55,904, this price includes Freight & PDI of $1,905.

The Kia Telluride we reviewed earlier in the year was the middle trim, so comparing the two is not exactly comparing apples to apples, but the overall vehicles are the same with the exception of some added equipment on our review Hyundai Palisade.


Like the Kia, the Hyundai Palisade is offered with only one engine choice, which is a 3.8-liter V6 engine. The Lambda II V6 engine produces 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. Power is sent to either the front wheels (on base trim) or all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Palisade is rated at a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds.

According to Hyundai, the front-wheel drive Palisade should consume 11.9/8.8/10.5 liters/100 kilometers in city/highway/combined driving, while the AWD Palisade should consume 12.3/9.6/11.1 L/100 km in city/highway/combined driving. On paper, the Palisade AWD consumes 0.2 L/100 km less than the Telluride, in city driving.

For our weeklong review, the onboard computer showed 13.1 L/100 km in 90/10 city/highway driving, which is slightly better than what we got with the Telluride (but these tests were not done in exactly the same weather/road conditions, so it’s hard to say if there is an actual difference in fuel consumption).


Driving the Palisade is a pretty relaxing experience, the ride quality is very comfortable, it feels like you’re floating. This is a big vehicle but the size didn’t feel overwhelming in city streets. The V6 engine provides more than enough power for city and highway driving, the V6 engine is smooth and works well with the 8-speed automatic transmission. The Palisade comes with various “Drive/Terrain” modes, for driving on paved roads, the “Drive” modes include Smart, Sport, Eco, and Comfort and driving off-road, the “Terrain” modes Snow, Mud, and Sand.

I mostly drove in the Eco and Comfort modes, although I didn’t really notice a big difference between the two modes. In Sport mode, the engine feels a little peppier and gears are held a little longer. I didn’t bother with driving off-road, as 99% of these vehicles will never see any off-roading other than the odd detour around a construction site.

Parking the Hyundai Palisade isn’t as hard as you’d think, considering its size; parking in small parking spots is very easy, thanks to the cameras at the front, sides, and back.


2020 Hyundai Palisade Review 2

The Palisade and Telluride share what’s under the skin, but the exterior styling is completely unique on both of these vehicles. I like the look of both of these vehicles, and like I said in my Telluride review, I thought that vehicle had more a mature look while the Palisade has a sportier look. I still stand by that statement after spending a week with the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

The Palisade looks like a bigger version of the new 2020 Santa Fe, which I’m a big fan of. So, if it were my money, for the exterior styling, I’d put it on the Palisade, not because the Telluride is not good looking, I just prefer the styling on the Palisade. I don’t know how these exterior designs will age, usually the more mature designs still look good after many years.


2020 Hyundai Palisade Review 6

The other major difference between the two vehicles is the interior, again, I think the Telluride has more mature looking interior and the Palisade is sportier, but not over the top. Unlike the exterior, for the interior, I’d probably put my money on the Telluride’s, I think it looks more elegant. With that said, the Palisade’s interior is not bad. It takes styling cues from the Nexo, with its sloping center console but without as many buttons.

Our review car came with the 10.25” touchscreen, which is standard on the top two trims, while the lower two trims get an 8” touchscreen. The screen is responsive and has crisp graphics that are easy on the eyes; this screen displays maps, output from the various cameras, and the infotainment system. There’s a separate area for the climate controls, with a small LCD screen showing the fan speed, temperature, and airflow. Below this section are the buttons for the transmission, knob for the driving modes, and buttons for seat heating/cooling.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Gauge Cluster

The gauge cluster is fully digital, which is standard on all but the base trim, it is somewhat customizable and has crisp and easy to read graphics. Like the Telluride, the Palisade also comes with side cameras that show you the area in the blind spot when the left/right signal is on, this is a great safety system but I found the display area to be quite small and you have to take your eyes of the road to look in your gauge cluster to see the video output. I think it’s faster just to do a shoulder check, the same system on the Telluride has a different display, where the video is shown in a larger screen in the middle of the speedometer and tachometer, on the Palisade, the display output is in the speedometer (for the right side) and tachometer (for the left side), which is a smaller surface. Personally, I would have liked the output to be shown on the large 10.25″ infotainment screen, like Honda does.

The interior is a really comfortable place to be in, the seats are very comfortable and come with heating/cooling for the front occupants. Our review car came with 8-way power adjustable driver and passenger seats, these seats are comfortable for long or short trips. The second-row seats are also comfortable and have a good amount of leg room, these seats can slide forward and backward. The third-row seats are surprisingly roomy, I set all three rows of seats to my seating position and I found plenty of room in the third row. The middle seat in the third-row is not meant for adults on longer drives. Getting in and out of the third-row seats was pretty easy, the second-row seats fold down at the touch of a button, and the seat slides forward, making room to comfortably enter the third-row of seats.

2020 Hyundai Palisade interior

I was surprised by how quiet the interior on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade was, the level of quietness is up there with luxury brands. However, because the interior is so quiet, I noticed a significant amount of wind noise coming from the top of the driver’s side window when fully closed. I don’t know if it’s common on all of these vehicles or if it was an isolated problem just with our review car, but it really annoyed me, especially since it’s so close to my ear. I would notice the sound at speeds above 60 km/h and it would increase as speed increased, personally this would be a deal breaker for me, if this issue is present in all of the Palisades.


Our review car was the top of the line Palisade Ultimate, so it was loaded with all sorts of technology, safety, and convenience features, below is a highlight of what was available on our review car:

  • Proximity keyless entry with push-button ignition with keyfob remote starter
  • Proximity-activated smart lift gate
  • 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support & memory
  • 8-way power passenger seat (with height adjustment)
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated/Ventilated front seats
  • Heated/Ventilated rear captain’s chairs
  • Premium Nappa leather seating surfaces
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Auto-leveling rear suspension
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
  • Bluetooth hands free phone system
  • Rear Seat Quiet Mode
  • 12.3″ Full Digital Display Instrument Cluster
  • 7” High Resolution TFT LCD multi-information display
  • Head-Up Display (projection)
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with stop-and-go capability
  • Parking Distance Warning – Reverse (PDW)
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Rear Occupant Alert (ROA)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire indicator
  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
  • Safe Exit Assist (SEA)
  • Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) with ultrasonic sensors
  • Dual zone automatic temperature control
  • 2nd row single zone automatic HVAC controls
  • Manual rear sunshades
  • Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
  • Parking Distance Warning – Front
  • Surround View Monitor (SVM)
  • Blind View Monitor (BVM)


Hyundai has done a great job with the 2020 Palisade, it’s a large SUV that’s equipped like a luxury vehicle without the huge price tag. Our review car was the fully loaded version, but even the lower trims are equipped quite nicely.

The Palisade is a nice looking SUV, it has a lot of room on the inside, gets good mileage (considering its size), has a comfortable interior, and can be had for a good starting price. If you’re looking for a big SUV, make sure to check out the 2020 Hyundai Palisade and the Telluride.




Photo of author


Faisal is the cofounder and automotive photographer at Unfinished Man. He provides insider perspectives on the latest rides through his acclaimed photography. Faisal also serves as the site's watch expert, staying on the pulse of emerging timepieces. His seasoned eye for men's lifestyle products makes him an authoritative voice.

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