Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Palisade SE
It will surprise exactly no one to find a Hyundai on deck for this week’s Ace of Base; after all, value for money is this brand’s modus operandi. The new Palisade isn’t the brand’s first crack at the three-row crossover segment but, also unsurprisingly, it is certainly its best effort.
Fresh for 2020, this machine has space for all hands and an enormous grille that’s sure to menace its way through the pick-up lane at school. Is it packed with features at a reasonable price? You bet it is.
It also fixes the brand’s formerly asinine naming scheme, one which was a mash of Sport, XL, and Santa Fe.
Customer: “We’re looking for a three-row SUV.”
Hyundai rep: “Certainly. Here is the XL.”
Customer: “My brother had an Excel. It was terrible.”
Hyundai rep: “Not Excel, XL.”
Customer: *wanders over to Honda dealership*
Base models are denoted by the SE trim, priced at a sensible $31,550. Powered by a 3.8-liter six-cylinder making 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the Palisade won’t set anyone’s hair on fire but it’ll certainly more than manage to get out of its own way. All-wheel drive is a $1,700 option.
All seven colors can be paired with either black or grey cloth seats and, while it’s not the array of interior shades once found inside cars, at least Hyundai doesn’t restrict shoppers of the base model machines to wretched beige. Those 18-inch alloys are, in fact, one of the few ways to distinguish between the trims, as Hyundai refuses to loudly shame buyers of the cheapest version by installing orange fog lights or something equally silly.
Several driving aids are also on board the SE, including forward collision avoidance and lane keeping assists. Smart cruise control with stop-and-go capability is on board, along with backup beepers and a raft of airbags. With trailer brakes, this thing can tow 5,000 lbs.
Inside, that second-row bench is power folding and there is an underfloor storage compartment for unmentionables. No fewer than five USB ports of the fast-charge variety pepper the interior, one of which plays well with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Infotainment duties are handled by an 8-inch touchscreen. Second row occupants get their own climate controls and vents, a feature which should keep back seat carping to a relative minimum.
Now that they’ve binned the confusing suffixes and reserved the Santa Fe name for the two-row machine on which it belongs, expect the Palisade to steal a few sales from other six- and seven-passenger crossovers in this segment.
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.
The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.
Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.
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