By on September 4, 2019

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.

[Images: Hyundai]

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.

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31 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Palisade SE...”

  • avatar

    Throw in leather, nav, and a sunroof, and suddenly an XT6 makes even less sense than it does now.

  • avatar

    I bought my current car for its ‘wretched’ beige interior— having owned 3 cars with death-black and dove grey interiors prior.

    Beige is beautiful!

    I can’t bring myself to call it ‘sandstorm.’

    • 0 avatar
      PSX 5k Ultra Platinum Triple Black

      In my 3 years of selling Dodge, I only sold one Neon. It was a 2000 SE with the Sun and Sound package (moon roof and cd player) a 3 speed automatic and a sandstorm interior. This was in 2002, to a girl that must have been Dan Akroyd’s doppelganger. The car had a birthday as most of our Neons and Stratus (Strati?) did, so it had a fat mini.

      Don’t think I hated the Neon, I myself bought a 2003 srt-4. Yet, Dodge didn’t call the srt-4 a Neon srt-4, so idk.

  • avatar

    I really like the look of the Palisade. I think it was a very good decision to use the 3.8 L engine. I almost leased a 2019 Santa Fe in May, but I didn’t like the 2.4 NA engine. When I moved up to the 2.0T, it was available only in the Limited and Ultimate trim, which, even in FWD, priced out to over $400/month.
    I really don’t need a three row SUV, but if I did, some trim level of Palisade or Kia would do. The only Hyundai I had was a 2016 Genesis, but the car was great and my dealer’s service was excellent. I would have leased another Genesis, but I wanted to go back to an SUV’s seating height.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    The base SE is my preferred trim because:

    1) I find cloth seats most comfortable and easiest to live with day to day–I don’t burn my buns on hot days and I don’t shiver in them on cold days.

    2) Smaller wheels/bigger tires: Big wheels and low profile tires equal a jiggly ride. I like a softer, less jiggly ride, and the 18 inchers on this SE will provide it.

    How lucky that the low cost car is actually the one I prefer!

    • 0 avatar

      Totally with you on the cloth seats. Have never been a fan of leather seats, and certainly NOT vinyl. A couple of brands, Jeep and Subaru offer (or used to offer) heated cloth seats. Now that’s nirvana!

      • 0 avatar

        Vinyl grows on you. Especially in a car or truck you take to the beach, to the mud etc… Not to mention one where kids occasionally eat ketchup and ice cream in the back…

  • avatar

    I’d rather have the Telluride in the highest trim available where I can still get the middle row bench. I’d need AWD and the towing package.

    Still a solid value at that level of kit.

  • avatar

    Americans do love their big ‘n’ cheap stuff.

    That front end looks cheap and isn’t going to age well. The rest of it is inoffensive.

  • avatar

    At this point is there anything either Hyundai or Kia can’t do.

  • avatar

    At least it has a V-6. Kudos to Hyundai.

  • avatar

    The Kia version of this thing looks like an Escalade. The era of low-effort, high-profit SUVs and CUVs is over for GM and Ford.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I prefer the Telluride on looks alone. Scaling the nose of the Kona 3x was a bad move by Hyundai.

  • avatar

    “Palisade” is just a fancy word for a stick fence. Then again, “Escalade” means climbing over said fence with a ladder. It’s like these car manufacturers have some sort of a (medieval) siege mentality.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT


    The vehicle was named after the affluent suburb outside Los Angeles called Pacific Palisades. This was per a Hyundai spokesman.

  • avatar

    Needs more headlights.

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