Ace of Base: 2020 Hyundai Palisade SE

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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.

[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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2 of 31 comments
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.