2023 Hyundai Palisade
MSRP: $35,900 (base) MSRP As Tested: $52,310 (Calligraphy AWD)
Introduced in 2020, Palisade enters its third model year with a fresh face. The new grille, lights and fascia align the big SUV’s looks with its line mates. Trim levels have been shuffled for ’23: in comes XRT, out goes SEL Convenience. Carrying over are SE, SEL, Limited and Calligraphy. Prices start at $35,900, and range to $50,800. My AWD equipped tester had an as-tested price of $52,310.
The view from the driver’s seat is new for 2023. So is the seat itself – or rather the seating materials – and a massaging option is now offered, but only for the driver’s side (married drivers take note, before selecting this option). Facing the driver is a redesigned instrument panel, framed by an also new steering wheel. Newly available are third row seat heaters, though no rows can be heated in SE models. Shifter controls are arrayed in a bank of large buttons at the base of the center stack. It’s a simple design, in easy reach of the driver. HVAC switchgear is just above; the layout is straight forward. A 12.3″ center touchscreen is your access point for infotainment functions on all trims. The system is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Onboard navigation with traffic flow info is standard across the board – a nice touch. The available, 12 speaker, Harmon Kardon sound system (optional on SEL, standard on Limited and Calligraphy) offers good (though not exceptional) sound. The capability of the wireless device charger in the center console (unavailable on SE, standard on SEL and up) has been boosted from 5W to 15W, for faster recharges. Similarly, USB-C ports replace USB-A ports.
Palisade seats eight in a 2-3-2 configuration in SE and (optionally) SEL trim levels. Captains chairs replace the bench on all other trims, dropping the max passenger count to seven. Cargo capacity is generous: 18 cu.-ft. behind the third row seats, 45.8 cu.-ft. aft of row two, and 86.4 cu.-ft. with all rear rows folded. There’s an additional stowage spot below the load floor, and all seatbacks fold flat. Liftover height in back for loading is low. The seatbacks on rows two and three can be raised/lowered remotely from the cargo bay on Limited and Calligraphy trim levels.
All Palisades are powered by a 3.8L V-6 engine, linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated at 291 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, and 262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The motor is a good match for the vehicle; with sufficient power on tap for all of your driving needs. The EPA estimates that an AWD Palisade like my tester will return 19 mpg’s city, 25 highway and 21 combined, and I logged 20 mpg’s overall. Palisade brakes smoothly and rides comfortably. This is a large SUV and as such doesn’t feel sporty, but it corners confidently. All Wheel Drive is optional on all trim levels ($1,900). Maximum towing capacity is rated at 5,000 lb.
A loaded Calligraphy like the one I drove is nicely appointed, but I think the value pick in the Palisade lineup is the SEL, with the Premium Package. This bundle ($4,950) adds a number of desirable features, highlighted by Surround Vision. I find that bird’s-eye camera systems like this ease parking and backing so much that they’re nearly mandatory options in big vehicles like Palisade. The package also includes an in-car intercom, perfect for those moments in long, family trips when the answer to “Do I have to come back there?” is, yes.
A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons has been reviewing new cars for publications for over 30 years. He is the author of six automotive books, and photographer of more than 200 calendars.