Let’s get it straight right off the top. As crossovers go, it doesn’t get much better than this, with the exception of its Kia Telluride corporate sibling. The 2023 Hyundai Palisade pushes all the right buttons. Everything is first-rate, from the driving experience to content, quality and value.
After a week-long test that included a two-day, 2,000-km trip with three generations aboard, I can attest to its family-friendly long-haul capabilities.
The ability to soak up long distances while providing comfort and spacious accommodations is noteworthy.
Plenty of USB outlets for tablets and other devices, along with a suspension that is supple without being too soft, allows distances to shrink.
The three-row Palisade comes in Essential, Preferred, and Ultimate Calligraphy trims starting at $44,204 and topping out at $57,704.
All come with the same drivetrain, a 3.8-litre V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels through a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. In typical Hyundai fashion, value is the name of the game with an extensive standard equipment list across all trim levels.
Careful shoppers checking for similar levels of luxury and equipment, will find competitors charge thousands more and none, other than the Kia Telluride, can offer the same level of award-winning quality and reliability.
The Palisade is the flagship of the Hyundai lineup.
It received a mild makeover for the 2023 model year with fresh looks inside and out. The grille, flanked by vertical lights, is distinct, as are the 20-inch wheels.
The upright C-Pillars and vertical taillights help the Palisade stand out in a class where most vehicles look alike. The LED headlights provide crisp, clear visibility. The high beams were especially appreciated during a late night run through sparsely populated northern New Brunswick.
This run also proved the value of the self-levelling rear suspension. The space behind the second row was crammed, but the extra weight was not reflected in a lowered rear end and headlights pointing at the sky.
Inside the 2023 Hyundai Palisade: More upscale and luxurious
The interior has been refreshed. Offering the same family-size accommodations as the first-generation Palisade introduced in 2020, the 2023 version is even more upscale and luxurious. There is seating for up to eight, seven with the dual captain’s chairs in the middle row like the tester.
The power folding/unfolding rear-most seats are easily accessible thanks to rear doors that open nice and wide and second row seats that slide forward at the touch of a button.
For the duration of this trip these seats were stowed. Upon arrival and for the remainder of the week, they were used on occasion by the seven-year-old with no complaints. Those with long limbs and/or a tall torso may not be happy campers.
But they will be happy in the first row.
Both front seats are heated and ventilated, offer eight-way power adjustment and feature leg extension cushions for those with long limbs.
The driver seat also boasts a memory system that allows two drivers to store and recall their settings. This feature was one of many that showed members of the design and development teams had children and experience driving long distances with the family aboard.
So many great road trip features!
The features we experienced and appreciated during a drive that included one ten-hour session during the height of summer travel:
- Surround and blind view monitors, great for parking in tight quarters, and checking for pets or little people before pulling out.
- A quartet of 12-volt, and five USB outlets, two of them on the side of the front seat backs for easy access by second row occupants.
- An in-car intercom – great for conversing with those in back without having to raise your voice
- 14 cup holders
- Sunshades on the second-row windows
- Separate HVAC controls for the second row
The 12-speaker, 640-watt Harmon Kardon audio system was rarely used to full effect during the trip, but appreciated later, when driving solo. Controls for the large (31-cm) configurable high-resolution infotainment screen are intuitive controls. Features include a WiFi hotspot, satellite radio, navigation, and a wireless charging pad.
Strangely, for a vehicle of this price range there was no wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A cord was required.
The powertrain of the 2023 Hyundai Palisade is carried over from the outgoing model.
There was little reason for change. It is silky smooth and provides adequate and competitive motivation. I would prefer a little more torque, but then I am of the ‘never too much power’ school. Even with five people aboard and a full cargo area, there was plenty of grunt for passing and hills were not an issue.
There are paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, but as is most-often the case, they are completely unnecessary.
The ride is pleasantly smooth and relatively quiet for such a large box-like vehicle. There is no pretense of sportiness. This is after all a tall, large and heavy family-oriented vehicle.
Hyundai has tackled the safety situation with a full slate of passive and active safety features including ultrasonic rear occupant alert, navigation-based smart cruise control, and remote smart parking assist.
When the Hyundai Palisade came to market in 2020, it repositioned the bar for three-row crossovers.
Those in the market for a comfortable, luxurious and value-packed mid-size crossover would be doing themselves a disservice if they did not check out the improved 2023 Palisade, especially if they plan to use the accommodations and features for long family trips!
FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Hyundai Palisade Urban 7-passenger
As tested: $55,906 including freight
31-cm screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Bluelink telematics, satellite radio, 12-speaker, 630-watt Quantum Logic audio system
Forward, rear cross-traffic and blind spot collision avoidance assist, lane keep and follow assist, rear occupant alert, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, blind view monitor
20-in alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, remote smart parking assist
3.8 litre V6, 291-horsepower, 262 lb.ft. of torque. Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 12.6/9.5
Length, 4,995-mm; wheelbase, 2,900-mm, width, 1,975-mm; weight, 2,098-kg