When it debuted nearly three years ago, Hyundai offered us the opportunity of driving the Palisade on the curvy and hilly Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, N.C. The midsize SUV was more than up to the job to climb the mountainous terrain of “America’s Favorite Drive.” And recently when the Korean carmaker dispatched over the Calligraphy trim for us to test on Tampa Bay roads, it once again proved to be a stylish, attractive, and laid-back ride.

The Palisade and its sibling in the other stable, Kia Telluride, share quite a few of the power train features. It also comes in 7- or 8-passenger configuration and is equipped with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine that blasts off 291 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 262 pounds-feet of torque @ 5200 rpm. The 8-speed auto gear box with paddle shifters is seamless while fitted with an engine start/stop system, which turns the engine off at a halt to save gas. Tow has been added to eco, comfort, smart and sport drive modes (snow and AWD lock for all-wheel drive).

Diamond-cut elements gaze from the new parametric-jewel cascading Hyundai grille decked in shiny black/chrome coat. It is surrounded by ‘crocodile eye’ LED headlights, daytime running lights and turn signals. The revamped cabin gets lavish and eye-catching treatment, mainly massive dual 12.3-inch displays: a touch screen for infotainment system, and the other for digital instrument cluster. Slim horizontal air vents across the dashboard look chic. Also offered are eight-way cooled/heated driver and front-passenger power seats, Nappa leather surfaces, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, head-up display, heated second-row Captain’s chairs, which fold via power button, as does the third row (this one’s heated too!), dual auto a/c and sun roof, tilt/telescopic steering column, seven USB ports, 14 cup/bottle holders, 630-watt Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers and suede headliner.

The Palisade comes standard with Hyundai SmartSense, which includes forward- and rear-cross traffic collision avoidance, safe exit and lane keep assists; blind spot collision and front/reverse park distance warnings; and smart cruise control; there also are 10 airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist, vehicle stability/traction control, front/rear crumple zones, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.

Base-priced at $51,750, the Palisade is tremendous value for the money. The SUV might be a 4,506-pound vehicle but it is a commanding machine that results in a well-composed drive, with sharp handling and respectable overall balance. A spacious, well-crafted and gorgeous cabin is another positive to give sleepless nights to old, established competitors on the road.


Tires: 245/50R20

Wheelbase: 114.2 inches

Length: 196.7 inches

Width: 77.8 inches

Height: 68.9 inches

Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multilink rear

Steering: motor driven power rack-and-pinion

Tow capacity: 5,000 pounds

Fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons

City: 19 mpg

Highway: 25 mpg

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