2023 Hyundai Palisade: Segment Leader Gets a Makeover

Strong points
  • Comfortable ride
  • Smooth and quiet engine
  • Spacious interior with generous content
  • Good fit and finish
Weak points
  • Fuel consumption is relatively high
  • No hybrid option
Full report

Introduced three years ago, the Hyundai Palisade is the largest crossover in the Korean automaker’s lineup, offering seating for up to eight. It happens to share many similarities with the Kia Telluride, and both have proven to be excellent products from day one. In fact, they are The Car Guide’s Best Buys in the three-row midsize SUV segment.

Hyundai and Kia are known to update their models sooner than most competitors do, and for 2023 the Palisade is getting a mid-cycle refresh. Don’t look for anything major, though. The goal was simply to keep the design up-to-date while making a few changes inside.

The most striking revisions include a larger, cascading front grille that blends into the redesigned headlights. The wheels and lower bumpers have a new look, too, while the dual exhaust tips are squared off. Elsewhere, the new metallic accents in top-line Ultimate Calligraphy trim (grille, lower bumpers, headlight bezels, etc.) are now painted in black on Preferred and Urban models. The rest of the exterior design remains generally untouched.

Photo: Julien Amado

Spacious and Accommodating Interior

Open the door and you’ll find a familiar layout with a number of small changes. The massive centre console is still there along with smartly arranged controls. The redesigned, four-spoke steering wheel emulates those in other Hyundai vehicles such as the Tucson and Sonata. Designers have tweaked the row of buttons underneath the 12-inch centre display and incorporated new air vents that stretch all the way to the right end of the dashboard. Also, the seat covers are updated.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t a radical transformation. The Palisade’s cabin was already a nice and pleasant place to be in. While some of Hyundai’s (and Kia’s) models have sacrificed a bit of intuitive operation in the name of styling, it’s not the case with this big, family-friendly SUV, which remains a benchmark in that area. A Wi-Fi hotspot and digital rear-view mirror are newly available for 2023.

Photo: Julien Amado

There’s a ton of space inside the Palisade including ample room for adults in the first two rows. The large door openings also make it easy to install child seats. Access to the third row proves easy—simply push a button to fold the second-row seat—but anyone taller than a kid or young teenager will feel a bit squeezed and uncomfortable during long trips. To be clear, legroom is not a problem back there, but the low seat bottoms come at the expense of thigh support. Passengers can find solace in the ability to keep power devices connected and charged through USB-C ports. Available heated third-row seats are new for 2023, as well.

What about the trunk? Cargo capacity is still rated at 510 litres with all the rear seatbacks in the upright position. It increases to 1,297 litres and 2,447 litres when you fold the third- and second-row seats, respectively.

Photo: Julien Amado

Same V6 With No Hybrid Option

Hyundai didn’t make any changes under the hood. The 2023 Palisade returns with a naturally aspirated 3.8-litre V6 that continues to deliver 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Smooth and flexible, this powerful engine enables proper acceleration and passing manoeuvres. It may not be as spirited as the Honda Pilot’s own V6, but performance is still adequate and the quiet operation makes it even more enjoyable.

The conventional eight-speed automatic transmission does a good job overall, too. That being said, maybe Hyundai could have used this mid-cycle update to add an electrified option. Consider this: the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is rated at 6.7 L/100 km in ideal driving conditions, whereas the Palisade used for this review achieved a fairly disappointing 11.8 L/100 km.

Photo: Julien Amado

A key move for 2023 was eliminating the base FWD model, meaning all Palisades sold in Canada are now equipped with AWD as standard. The system is the same as in the past, and it has shown good capability in the snow. You should feel quite confident driving the new Palisade come the thick of winter.

On the road, the Palisade is a smooth, well-mannered SUV that proves even more comfortable for 2023 with the addition of Ergo-Motion technology to the driver’s seat. That’s what Hyundai says. Personally, I didn’t see that big a difference with the previous model, which already delivered a terrific mix of comfort and support for the legs and upper body.

The suspension is carried over, so look for the same compliant ride as in the past, even on bad pavement. Steering feels a bit vague but still manages to guide the front wheels effectively. The Palisade was really not designed to excite drivers. It’s more about solid and surefooted handling.

Acoustic glass in the top-line Ultimate Calligraphy model noticeably improves noise insulation in the cabin. The wind noise we used to hear was remarkably absent this time around. Preferred and Urban models both have standard glass, so it remains to be seen whether the new Palisade’s quieter quarters are exclusive to the most luxurious model. 

Photo: Julien Amado

Prices Go Up

With no more FWD models to keep the entry price at an attractive level, and inflation still rearing its ugly head, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade is significantly more expensive. The base MSRP is now set at $47,799, or just over $50,000 with freight and PDI. At 5.99 percent over 60 months, you’re looking at monthly payments of about $975. Leasing for 48 months at 6.99 percent will hit you with payments of $725. And that’s just for the entry-level Palisade which, thankfully, is rather nicely equipped.

The Palisade Ultimate Calligraphy with optional Sierra Burgundy paint ($250) costs nearly $60,000, meaning buyers must spend $1,151 a month for 60 months, while lessees need to fork over $865 a month for 48 months. That is too much money, quite frankly, even with all the content Hyundai has managed to include in it.

To sum up, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade does not reinvent the wheel, but it’s refreshed and improved enough to keep dominating the segment (along with the Kia Telluride). Despite the lack of a hybrid option and prices that keep going up, it still represents a solid buy.

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