2023 Hyundai Palisade 3.5 V6 Sunroof 7-Seater Facelift Review : Creamy n’ Smooth, Yea-Forsooth
Singapore - Till now, I am actually surprised that Hyundai’s largest SUV can still fit into tight spaces. But do not get me wrong, as the Palisade is far from being a compact car. It is at the moment, the largest car the Korean car manufacturer has produced.
When Hyundai first pulled the covers off their flagship SUV, it was offered as a 2-3-3 format 8-seater. But now, with the sacrifice of the middle seat in the middle row, I come to believe that the Palisade offered in this form is actually an improvement.
Externally, the midsize SUV has gotten a design tweak. The daytime running lights now sit on the outer edges of their lenses, and the grille, squared and expanded. The rims have a new look, which I think, gives the car a more expensive vibe. The front door pulls, which had button-activated locks, have also made way for touch sensitive handles; which not only improve their functionality, but they also now come with expensive-looking frosted silver accents.
Over on the inside, the lower half of the dashboard has been redesigned. The new-look four-spoke steering wheel is quite similar to the ones found on the Avante sedan and Tucson SUV. Additionally for the driver, there is a 2.6-inch HUD, which helps to keep eyes fixed on the road. The same 12.3-inch dual screens have been retained for the instrument cluster and infotainment display; the latter provides support for both Apple and Android devices.
The centre console retains the same push-button drive selector, and drive mode wheel-knobby-knob-thing. If you require storage, there seems to be plenty here, especially if you were to push in the cup holders.
With the facelift, the Palisade’s middle row now consists of a pair of captains chairs, which come ventilated, just like those in the front row. For those at the rear, they will have to make do with the same 3-seater bench.
But before we take the Palisade for a drive, there is one thing which I have to put straight though. The Palisade is not intended to duke it out with the likes of the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 (similar to this SQ7 Deyna took on tour). It is more of a bread-and-butter SUV, targeted at the North American eco-system; where it would naturally be an option among similar midsize SUVs, like the Ford Explorer and the 3-row version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It may not be a luxury SUV, but it certainly has many comparable features.
Having a natural-breathing V6 is quite a rarity these days, as many manufacturers have moved on to smaller right-sized engines, often a 2.0 in-line four with a turbocharger strapped on. So yeah, comparing the large Hyundai to a 2.0, your road tax is easily going to be more than twice the yearly renewal. But, if you are someone who sees comfort as THE top requirement, you’d appreciate that creamy linear-smoothness the engine delivers. Its 336Nm of torque is gradual, unlike that of a turbocharged car’s “whomp!”. But it is this delivery without lag that works to your advantage. This is especially when navigating town traffic. On the inside, the Palisade lulls you in absolute comfort, and you feel more compelled to coax, rather than shove the car around. But if you do want pace, the midsize SUV can reach 100km/h in 8.1 seconds - not too shabby if you ask me.
The suspension works well if you are unhurried, and I would say that handling is pretty decent. But put it through its paces, and you’d soon find the Korean people-carrier protesting. Though it is an SUV, the Palisade we get here is front-wheel drive, so add plenty of right foot, and those drive wheels will begin to chirp quite readily. However, I do notice that this is less evident than in the pre-facelift car.
Overall, I feel that the Palisade is well thought-through, and rather easy to manage. It is equipped with driver assistance features like its Blind View Monitor, which displays the immediate blind side of the vehicle in the direction you are turning, which is activated when you put on your indicator light. This is also part of the system which forms the 360-degree top-down display, which makes parking a breeze.
When backing out, the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist keeps an eye out for passing vehicles or pedestrians, warning you or even braking if needed. The Safe Exit Assist rear radars act as an extra set of eyes, to warn of on-coming traffic when exiting the parked vehicle. Additionally, if you need to communicate with occupants at the rear, the Palisade is equipped with an in-vehicle intercom system.
But I would say that the Palisade may not be for most buyers, as a price tag above $300k can be difficult to swallow. But for those who appreciate a smooth and comfortable delivery, paired with many of the features that a German luxury 7-seat SUV can offer, the Palisade is quite the bargain.
TEXT & PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Hyundai Palisade 3.5 V6 Sunroof 7-Seater
Engine 3470cc, V6
Gearbox 8spd auto
Top Speed 210km/h
Fuel Consumption est. 10l/100km
CO2 est. 210g/km