Bang for your buck: The Hyundai Palisade offers a comfortable real-world driving experience
Have you noticed the changing tides of the South African car market? The once-popular luxury multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment faces increasingly tough competition as consumers flock to the practicality offered by SUVs and bakkies.
Remember the good old days when everyone and their mom wanted an MPV? They were the ultimate family carriers, offering practicality and comfort that sleek, sporty sedans couldn’t match. The luxury MPV segment has taken a hit, with only a few of the big-name players remaining, such as the Mercedes-Benz V-Class and VW Caravelle.
In response, Hyundai launched the futuristic and sleek Staria. But what about buyers who want MPV-like features in a more accessible package … say, an SUV? Enter the Palisade. It shares a platform with the Kia Telluride (which sadly isn’t available in South Africa) and, let me tell you, it’s even bigger and more stylish than your average large SUV. Plus, there’s not a sliding door in sight.
For the 2023 model year, it’s been given a nip and tuck, making it easy to spot the differences between the new and the pre-facelift model.
The massive front fascia consists of a substantial cascading grille that almost covers the front end and headlights with daytime running lights that extend downwards to make the already big front end, well, seem bigger. The vertical LED taillamps and new 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels give off American SUV vibes. Do you see it?
If you want space, it doesn’t get much more spacious than the Hyundai Palisade Elite 7-Seater. Sure, it’s easy on the eye, but what really sets it apart is the sheer amount of room inside. And if you need even more seating, there’s an 8-seater option available too.
While there are plenty of storage points throughout, we noticed that the door cubbies were on the narrow side. On the bright side, there’s ample space beneath the gear shifter to store your wallet or tablet.
The only downside is that it lacks the foldable tables found in its German rivals and its more budget-friendly Grand Creta sibling.
It makes up for its shortcomings with massive boot space rated at 509 litres with all seats up, 1 297 litres with the third row folded, and 2 447 litres with all seats folded flat.
Regarding interior design, it’s virtually unchanged from its predecessor. Still, those familiar with the product will notice the new digital instrument panel, audio interface design, steering wheel design, seating surfaces and materials — and an Infinity 12-speaker sound system.
For enhanced comfort, the second row is in the form of captain seats with armrests, while the rear consists of a single bench that can accommodate three passengers. Thanks to its one-touch-operated second row, getting to the third row of seats is a breeze. Of course, you can always sneak through the middle of the second row if you’re feeling adventurous.
There’s also a panoramic roof, rear air conditioner and heated and cooled seats, while the wireless charger has been upgraded from 5 Watts to 15W. The intuitive 12.3‑inch infotainment system allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
At the heart of the Palisade lives the familiar 2.2-litre turbodiesel powerplant that churns out a healthy 142kW of power and 440Nm of torque. And while those numbers might not seem like much on paper, it’s enough for a comfortable real-world driving experience.
The Palisade also has a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that seamlessly sends power to all four wheels using the HTRAC AWD system.
There’s enough power for decent off-the-line acceleration and highway cruising, complemented by plenty of available torque for easy overtaking. It’s as if the Palisade was built with SA’s bumpy and pothole-infested roads in mind, as the suspension effortlessly absorbs bumps and road imperfections.
Despite its size, the Palisade is surprisingly agile, thanks to its light steering feel and excellent handling.
Priced at R1 099 900 for both the 7-seater and 8-seater variants, the Palisade offers excellent value, especially considering the level of features and equipment included. It comes with a 5-year/150 000 km warranty, a 7-year/105 000 km service plan and roadside assistance.
If you’re in the market for a luxury SUV that won’t break the bank, the Palisade is definitely worth a closer look. It’s a solid choice for anyone who wants to enjoy the finer things in life without compromising on value or practicality. With its spacious interior, top-of-the-line features and excellent driving dynamics, the Palisade is sure to impress even the most discerning car buyers.