By on May 22, 2020

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD Fast Facts

3.8-liter V6 (291 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

19 city / 24 highway / 21 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)

12.3 city, 9.6 highway, 11.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $35,200 (U.S) / $45,826.20 (Canada)

As Tested: $43,155 (U.S.) / $47,936.20 (Canada)

Prices include $1,045 destination charge in the United States and $2,010 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

The Hyundai Palisade/Kia Telluride pairing share many common components. Where the two large crossovers most obviously diverge is stylistically.

The Kia is boxy and bold, looking trail-ready, even though it’s not an off-roader (nor will it ever see much off-roading beyond a grass parking area at the soccer complex). Hyundai’s counterpart, however, softens the edges as bit, rounding things off. And while both have interiors that belie their pricing, Hyundai’s is more modern minimalist than what’s on offer in the Kia.

Both feature a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Both have an eight-speed automatic transmission, and both are available with all-wheel drive. Both can seat seven or eight, both can tow up to 5,000 pounds, and both are similarly equipped and price. They’re even just about the same size.

The biggest difference, aside from exterior and interior design, is the on-pavement handling experience. Power feels about the same, and the transmission holds on to gears like a kid clutching his or her favorite toy. Both vehicles have similarly smooth rides, but the Hyundai is a tad silkier.

The Hyundai’s steering is a bit less artificial in feel, and the Palisade is a bit more engaging, relative to the type of vehicle it is, when challenged by a curving off-ramp. Differing spring and damper rates account for this.

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD

Like the Telluride, the Palisade charmed me. It’s just a well-done family crossover in all respects. Relatively engaging to drive, comfortable, and well-equipped for the price.

If you told me 10 years ago that Kia and Hyundai would be the brands building arguably the two best three-row crossovers on the market, I’d look at you like you’d just told me life in 2020 would be halted by a pandemic. Hell, if you told me that two years ago, I’d look at you as if you’d just told me a president of the United States said drinking bleach was a way to cure a virus.

The timing is interesting, too. Both these vehicles launched in 2019, and so did the newest generation of Ford’s Explorer. I found the Explorer to be overpriced on my first drive, and I recently had a Highlander through the house (not literally). While I found it to be quite nice, its on-road behavior wasn’t quite as pleasing as what the Kia, and especially the Hyundai, offer.

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD

One of my major complaints – a complaint many a car reviewer shares – about this business is that too many times, automakers send us top-trim vehicles for evaluation. Fully loaded models instead of the trims that sell in the best volume.

That wasn’t the case with the Palisade Hyundai shipped me. This one was a mid-trim SEL, including standard features such as forward-collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, driver-attention warning, rear-occupant alert, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, safe-exit assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, 18-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, high-beam assist, a trailering package, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, captain’s chairs, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, multiple USB ports, adaptive cruise control, and lane-following assist.

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD

A $2,200 Convenience Package replaced the 18-inch wheels with 20s, and added auto-leveling rear suspension, LED taillights, front park distance warning, power liftgate, wireless phone charger, ultrasonic rear occupant alert, third-row USB, rear window sunshades, and 7-inch digital gauge-cluster screen.

For $2,400 more, you get the Premium Package, which includes leather seats, heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and power fold/recline third-row seats. A second-row bench replaced captain’s chairs at no cost, and $900 paid for a sunroof.

A $1,250 Drive Guidance option added factory nav, highway-drive assist, satellite radio, in-car intercom, BlueLink connected technology, and a BlueLink-based remote start. Carpeted floor mats added $160.

2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD

With the $1,045 destination fee, the $35,200 base price went to $43,155. Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined.

Hyundai and Kia have come up with strong entrants in a crowded, competitive class. The Telluride will appeal to those who want to project a tough, masculine image, while the Palisade appears to be the more urbane of the two.

Which one you pick will be up to your style sensibilities, but either one will do the trick.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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54 Comments on “2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL AWD Review – Silk Road...”


  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I too, am surprised at the fairly meteoric rise of HK. As a college freshman one of my friends drove an Excel which his parents had bought him new. It didn’t make it through our sophomore year before he bought a used Camry.
    My wife had never heard of the Palisade before cars came up in a conversation with some of her snootier friends and one of her friends mentioned she was interested in one. Given the crowd she was in , all of them frequented the DTM Big 3 or Lexus , I’m surprised.I really think they are making a dent in near luxury sales for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      They’re trendy. That explains a lot of their sales growth.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      I have noticed the same thing, The Palisade and Telluride are showing up in the better-off parts of town around here.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Why wouldn’t they? They look good (by the standards of this class, anyway), they’re luxurious, and they’re a good deal.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Kia, in particular, has been getting its fair share of lux brand trade-ins on the Telluride SX-P.

        The Telluride (and Palisade) is actually a pretty decent off-road vehicle (w/ a proper set of all-terrain rubber) due to its diff lock and hill descent control.

        The Telluride won its segment in last year’s Mudfest and was the overall runner-up.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          To go along w/ that, Kia is supposedly working on a more rugged “X-line” trim of the Telluride, which would not only get more rugged cosmetic changes, but things like a front and rear skid-plate.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m not in the market for this type of vehicle, but I can tell you this: I’d buy it ten times out of ten versus the “Cadillac” XT6.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      If only there were more than these 2 options

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m not familiar with the pricing of this vehicle, but I think it’s a mid-level model. I’m sure there’s a fully loaded one. But as is, with leather, nav and a sunroof, it’s very well equipped for $43,000.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        There are – the Ascent has gotten pretty good reviews and the Pilot, despite its age, is holding up fairly well (biggest issue, aside from the ZF 9 spd on higher trims, which seems to have been addressed, is the now chinzy in comparison interior).

        And there’s the CX-9 which has a nice blend of style and premium touches, but for those who actually need a usable 3rd row, may not be the best choice.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Well guess what…I would buy the Cadillac XT6 (why the quotes?) or even a Dodge Durango 10 times out of 10 versus either Korean model. So there.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    The front end is too ugly for me to ever consider. Styling is subjective, beauty in the eye of the beholder, bal bla bla, sorry UGLY

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    If I were in the market for a 3-row crossover these would be at the top of my list although I do like the Telluride styling a bit better. I see these everywhere and if I didn’t know I would guess their prices to be $10K more then they are. HK got it right with these two and deserve the sales volumes they’re enjoying

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m surprised you didn’t include the CX-9 or Durango in your comparative set as those are generally considered the “enthusiast” choices in this class. This also doesn’t look as roomy as an Atlas although I guess its design is fancier to offset that.

    Personally, I’d get an Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      slow_poke

      tried a Cx9 and it was small and seats were terrible. very disappointed because its great looking. never considered a Durango. Odyssey (really all mini-vans) are the real, practical choice, but having trouble pulling that trigger… i think one of these is going to be our first new car purchase ever…

      oh, and thanks for the review – on the road comfort is a huge deal for a family hauler…

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Thesse and the Kia telluride are still going for over msrp and for that reason id rather enjoy 5k off a pilot or ascent.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Folks love the HK products.

    I predict tons of comments.

    45 by 9PM

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Fanboys love the HK products.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, as someone who has three excellent HK products in his driveway right now (plus another two that my S.O. owned prior to the two she does now), I’d say there’s good reason to fanboy.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Same. Six H/K products in our immediate family.

          As for the Palisade, I prefer the Telluride.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          As someone who looked at one of these while the Hyundai dealer modified my wife’s Santa Fe’s knock sensor system to warn her maybe in time to pull over if the bearings decide to munch themselves because they couldn’t be bothered to get all the metal from machining out of the block, I’ll pass.

          I mean seriously, my first year model F150 had a recall over door hinges and excess carpet being a fire hazard. My kids Leaf is an early car and one for the passenger airbag sensor. My supposed to be the worst car ever Fiesta…none. Yet Hyundai has been building the beta 4 forever and I get this. Thank God I passed on that fancy new turbo motor that was available and could get it out of its own way.

          Add to that, wiper issues and the AC smelling like something died in a swamp when you kick it on (something none of the others in the fleet do) and new Hyundai’s will be a hard pass. Her 07 was a much better vehicle.

          I know this site is a Hyundai Kia love fest, but in my fleet it is a distant 4th behind 2 Ford’s and a freaking Nissan. Yes, I’m angry so pass

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        So do (increasingly) automotive publications.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I looked at one while getting recall work done on my wife’s current Hyundai. I don’t get the love fest here.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I don’t get the love fest for this entire market segment, but if this is the kind of car you’re looking for, the Palisade is a really good choice, assuming the reliability’s there (which it should be).

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Minus the Premium Package it might even feel like a midlevel trimmed vehicle too. I know a commenter mentioned an outlet receiving a mid trim Telluride but I haven’t seen it yet.

    Although once the demand for the fully loaded models is satisfied they do have to build more of the mid models for the shopper who is also looking at say a Highlander XLE.

  • avatar
    redapple

    OK. You are winning me over. I m warming up to HK.
    This one is not quite a beauty. And $43K is a bit dear.

    Be safe out there this big weekend and as always, Orange Man Bad.

  • avatar
    gasser

    In this area, the most popular 3 row has been Audi Q7. In the last 2 months, a Palisade and a Telluride appeared. Inroads are being made by H/K in a new market. GM 3 rows are extinct. Only one lonely Lincoln 3 row SUV to be seen.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    This is what I just refuse to understand:

    “A $2,200 Convenience Package replaced the 18-inch wheels with 20s, and added ….” $1000 inconvenience during tire replacement

    How do these wheels are related to the convenience?

  • avatar
    Carrera

    If I was the daily driver, I would get the Durango RT. I am sick of making compromises and getting the sensible ride.
    If it was for my wife, probably I would steer her toward Telluride. In my area, dealers break into a hearty laugh if you talk bellow MSRP for a Telluride. If they are extremely desperate, they will take a $100 off. Palisades? Totally different story. Dealers are willing to sit down and talk. A bit of persistence can net you invoice or bellow.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Try stretching for the SRT, if you’re tired of making compromises. I’m not even much of a fan of fast cars, but that one’s a hoot.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        The SRT is very nice Stuki but just like the Charger big motor, there’s a big jump in price and also insurance rates. Biiig. The 5.7 would be enough.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      This is a prime example of where the (difference in) design matters.

      The Telluride was staying on lots on avg. for 7-9 days w/ the top SX-P trim getting snapped up even quicker.

      And even despite the pandemic, the SX-P is still commanding a premium over MSRP in many markets (but now, markets that were asking $8-10k over MSRP are being “more reasonable” and charging $5-7k over sticker).

      That has helped to keep the Telluride’s ATP well into the $40k.

      While some buyers actually prefer the Palisade (or at least don’t mind it), the market has spoken and the design of the Telluride is the clear winner.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        BD2, a coworker just bought a Palisade at invoice for his wife. The wife kind of liked the Telluride but when they saw the Kia MSRP prices and the lack of choices on the lot, they ran to Hyundai, 2 miles down the road. I’ve been reading some reviews about the two and pretty much agree that these seem to be the most different twin cars in a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          backtees

          Can’t recall exactly the podcast I heard the review but I was surprised to hear each is built in a different factory. Shared development with each having complete independence on final trim etc.

  • avatar
    WestoverAndOver

    My wife and I are actual buyers of a Palisade Limited AWD, taking delivery on 11/30/2019. It is primarily her car. We shopped this against many vehicles, including the Germans, and all other brands that sell cars in the United States. This is our first H/K product, and we came from a JGC limited. We paper-shopped and in-person shopped several cars. The final two contenders were the Buick Enclave Avenir and the Hyundai Palisade Limited. The Hyundai won over the Buick because of 1) Styling (yes, really), 2) Footprint vs. interior size, 3) Value for the money (MSRP on HPLAWD is the same as an Avenir with massive discounts). I am honestly shocked at how much I did like the Buick. In the end, we determined we valued the following within this segment: Captain’s Chairs in row two; a useful 3rd row that would actually seat three across, legally, in a pinch, or two comfortably (we are a family of four and my parents live in town); smaller footprint with a larger interior capacity; comfortable and nice interior. The H/K cousins were just too good to pass up. But why didn’t we buy a minivan? Yeah, I know, ask my wife.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Many happy miles to you.

      We have an 09 Sedona, but I wouldn’t consider the newer ones because the second row is fixed.

      My first H/K product was an 01 Elantra, bought very used with 138k on it. It was cheap to run, and quite scrappy under hard use. It lasted us 5 more years and only went away due to frame rust. That little car sold me on the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Nice review, Westover and when it comes to why the slow death of minivans as I’ve said many times, WOMEN DON’T LIKE THEM and that’s all that matters

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        My last two vehicles were/are minivans while my wife’s were prius’. First, 2012 Mazda5 and now a 2019 Odyssey (just a larger Mazda5 for me). I LOVE minivans. I was all set to by an Orange Wrangler Sahara Unlimited, but I could not give up the utility of my ‘van.

        We took it on a ski trip to southwest Utah (Brian Head) this past Christmas (we live outside of LA). On the return trip, we just cleared Primm after it had been shut down over Christmas day. On the drive up the steep grade outside of Primm, it started snowing again. Shortly afterwards, they closed the highway again to every but those of us already on the road.

        What is normally a 3 hour drive from Primm turned into a 9 hour slog. There was not ONE complaint the entire way. The seats were amazingly comfortable, car was quiet, and the aftermarket dvd player had an HDMI input for mirroring. This saved my marriage as my wife was in the second row streaming movies for 9 hours.

        With that said, my wife refuses to drive the minivan but is happy that we have one.

  • avatar

    Everybody, let’s sing dithyrambs to Telluride, yeah, everybody, clap you hands, everybody, together, together, forever!

  • avatar
    bd2

    A thing to note is that the Palisade and Telluride are on H/K’s last gen platform, whereas the Highlander is on Toyota’s latest TNGA platform.

    There’s a good chance that the 2 will switch over to H/K’s latest N3 platform for their MCE (like what the Santa Fe is doing) – decreasing weight and allowing for both hybrid and PHEV variants.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      99% of buyers don’t care what platform it’s on. At least half the goal of a platform is cost reduction anyway.

      They don’t care what it weighs either. If they do care, they probably think heavier is better/safer.

      It needs to look good, fit their stuff, and offer good value in feature content.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        While that may be true, a good % of buyers will notice the improved fuel economy, crash test scores and the availability of a hybrid and/or PHEV options.

        And there will even be some buyer who notice the improved handling.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Why is it a complaint that you get the loaded models to “review”?

    Obviously the manufacturer wants to provide the best example, but you benefit from being able to try all the features. Ideally you then discuss how well that implementation of those features work and whether or not the extras are worth it.

    It isn’t a Chinese menu of features that work the same across all models. Is the leather nice or cheap? Do heated seats provide an even heat to the whole seat and seatback, or does it feel like sitting on a hot plate? Does lane keep assist drive you crazy?

    If you don’t get the loaded models, you can’t help potential buyers with any of that. You don’t need the volume model to comment on it; use your imagination. Not that most TTAC reviews offer much insight these days anyway. Someone could write this review without driving the car. Only here for the comments these days.

  • avatar
    fourthreezee

    This X1,000! Oh, and Orange Man Bad! Leaving this site now.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Since the biggest differences between the Telluride and Palisade are cosmetic I’ll focus on that. I find them both interesting to look at although neither is perfect. I prefer the font end of the Telluraide and the rear of the Palisade. But given that they clearly spent a lot of time differentiating the styling (GM for example does less to differentiate cars that sell a much wider price spreads) there’s one area where they really missed the ball. They chrome around the side windows is a mess on both cars. I’m not sure what they were thinking. The Palisade wraps around the windows but then comes down in the middle of the C pillar rather than meeting the bottom chrome strip. And the Telluride has a wavy, stunted chrome strip below the windows that looks like they ran out of chrome.

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