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2020 Hyundai Palisade: First Look

  • New 3-row family crossover.
  • 2020 Hyundai Palisade is larger, more stylish and more luxurious than the Santa Fe XL it replaces.
  • Abundant standard active safety features.
  • On sale summer of 2019.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade looks to be the Korean brand’s most serious effort to date at cracking the full-size 3-row crossover segment. It is bigger than the 3-row Santa Fe it replaces, while offering an abundance of standard safety technologies and family-oriented comfort and entertainment features that outpace most competitors. It also tries to elevate itself into a more premium position in the marketplace with a more overtly stylish design and higher-end interior trappings.

How Big Is It?

The new Palisade is three inches longer in length and a considerable four inches longer in wheelbase than the outgoing 3-row Santa Fe (known as Santa Fe XL for 2019). Width and height are greater, as well, however, the Palisade still falls somewhere in between its various key competitors that include the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Subaru Ascent. Creating the biggest possible family hauler clearly wasn’t the priority. Indeed, the Palisade’s rather low height would indicate Hyundai prioritized a more stylish overall appearance — something it definitely achieves.

Inside, the Palisade’s specs would indicate it should have one of the most spacious cabins in the segment. Second- and third-row legroom dimensions surpass that of the Pilot and Ascent, two competitors that can fit adults quite comfortably even in the third row. It’s much better than the Highlander and the Mazda CX-9. Third-row headroom is quite good, too.

In terms of cargo capacity, the Palisade’s 18 cu ft. of space behind the raised third row is better than all of the above-mentioned competitors. True, it’s a slight advantage, but it also features extra space under the floor. Its 45.8 cu ft. with the third-row lowered is in the middle of the pack. Hyundai did not release a maximum cargo capacity number, but manufacturers often differ in their means of measuring and reporting that figure, so you’re often left comparing apples to oranges anyway. It should be plenty big.

What Fuel Economy And Power Will It Get?

The Palisade comes only with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is one of the strongest outputs in the segment, however, it may feel a bit weak when initially accelerating as that peak torque arrives at a lofty 5,000 rpm. This is presumably, in part, due to the engine running on the more efficient Atkinson cycle. Fuel economy figures weren’t released, but that cycle plus an 8-speed automatic should yield pretty solid fuel economy for a large family crossover.

Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available.

What Noteworthy Features Are Available?

Every 2020 Palisade comes standard with a nearly unmatched array of standard active safety features: forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, driver inattention warning, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and a new Safe Exit Assist feature that emits a chime if a door is about to be opened into the path of an incoming car.

Hyundai anticipates that the Palisade will get a 5-star crash rating from the government and will earn a Top Safety Pick+ award from the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Less vital new features include the option of a head-up display, a Driver Talk system similar to the one offered by Honda (transmits the voices of those up front to those in back), a Sleep Mode (mutes the rear speakers for those in back to sleep to listen to their own music), a new fixed-glass panoramic roof panel over the back seats, reclining third-row seats and ventilated second-row seats (we can’t think of another non-luxury vehicle that offers that).

Oh, and for the kids, how could we leave out the 16 cup holders and seven USB ports?

What’s The Interior Like?

During our brief time in the Palisade at the Los Angeles Auto Show, we were impressed with the elevated, genuinely luxurious cabin featured in the upper-most trim level on display. The quilted leather and open pore wood trim were particularly impressive, as was the 10-in infotainment display. We also expect to appreciate the clever center console that features deep storage areas in a pair of bins on top and another sizable area below. The cup holders, uniquely, flip into place within one of those bins to provide extra versatility.

How much And When Will It Be On Sale?

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade will arrive in summer 2019. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but given Hyundai’s other products, we would expect it to be similar to the Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9 — albeit with perhaps a few more features for your money.

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