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Keep the good, improve the rest

The popular and beautiful three-row Hyundai Palisade has been updated for 2023 with a refreshed face, new interior design, new infotainment system and new convenience features. It and its cousin Kia Telluride are still difficult to find in dealerships thanks to the sum of these new parts.

Starting with the design change, the 2023 Palisade gets a new front and rear bumper fascia, new grille, new headlights and daytime running lights, new wheel designs, and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The new lighting signature includes vertical composite LED lights that surround the grille. There are new strakes on the lower front skid plate while the large rear windows emphasize the interior space.

The new heavy-duty Palisade electric opening and more black accents on front-wheel drive versions. The all-wheel-drive version adds even more, including Hill Descent Brake Control, which slows the driver’s progress on a steep grade, as well as Snow, Tow, and AWD Lock driving modes. SE, SEL, Limited and Luxury Calligraphy trims are still available.

The seven- or eight-passenger Palisade, with a base price of $35,900, competes with the Telluride, which is ten dollars cheaper. It also shares buyers with the Toyota Highlander ($36,620), Ford Explorer ($35,510), and recently redesigned Nissan Pathfinder ($34,640). All five cost hundreds of dollars from each other, making this a contest between features and powertrain.

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The interior of the 2023 Palisade has also been redesigned in this update. It offers a new Ergo driver’s seat designed for greater comfort and less fatigue. The third row now has heated seats and the second row now offers ventilation. New slim air vents extend the look of the interior. To access the third row, the second row automatically folds and the third row folds to provide maximum cargo space when needed. Second-row captain’s chairs are available, or a three-person bench.

For added convenience, the Palisade has a rearview camera that displays what’s behind the car on the road, regardless of the height of your cargo. The dashboard is also redesigned with new ambient lights. Wireless charging capacity has been improved from 5 watts to 15 watts for faster device charging. It can also be used with a digital key, meaning owners can use their phone to open and operate the vehicle. The 2023 Palisade is also the first Hyundai vehicle to offer Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. USB-C outlets have also been added.

The new seats are comfortable, but on the XRT tested here they had only a few adjustments and no under-knee support, which is now expected in family SUVs, but the rest of the cabin felt open and airy. The wide center console provided plenty of storage for drinks and other items, while the controls were simple and straightforward. The Palisade features a push-button transmission that saves center space.

The technology worked well, this XRT didn’t have wireless Apple CarPlay, but the wired version worked well and kept the phone charged while driving. If a vehicle has wireless CarPlay, but no wireless charging, the phone’s battery will drain when playing via Bluetooth.

2023 Hyundai Palisade
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade comes with a 12-inch central infotainment system.
Hyundai Motor America

The lane keeping and adaptive cruise control also worked well, keeping an appropriate distance from the car in front of you, but not too far away to let traffic continually slip by. The stop/start system is relatively smooth, but when the SUV is braked to park and then the driver selects park, the engine restarts for some reason. Most vehicles equipped with a stop/start system turn off at this time.

All Hyundai Palisades come with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than most of its competitors and more than enough for everyday driving, merging and overtaking. The six-cylinder is also refined and quiet, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth as well. It can shift multiple gears at once for faster passes.

It’s a big vehicle, so it’s not very nimble on the road, but the Palisade feels planted in everything but the most aggressive maneuvers. On land or off-road, it is also quite capable with all-wheel drive. Still, it’s not meant for hiking or clearing rocks, but rather for camping, hunting, and fishing.

The new generation of mid-to-large three-row SUVs is diverse, efficient and technological. The sales leaders are the Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer and for good reason. Both of these models have been around for decades and benefit from their refinement and experience. But Hyundai has also been building SUVs for decades; it’s just the biggest one yet.

Ford and Toyota offer a hybrid version of their respective SUVs, which get better fuel mileage than the Palisade’s 19 miles per gallon (mpg) city and 26 mpg highway (19/25 in this XRT all-wheel-drive version), which is also something to consider. Hyundai is all about design and functionality, and in this, they have a winner.


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