2023 Hyundai Palisade Review:Driving Impressions

Jack R. Nerad, Independent Expert | Aug 15, 2022

Introduction - Find the best Hyundai deals!

When Hyundai first introduced the Palisade crossover SUV for the 2020 model year, it entered one of the hottest and most competitive segments in the American market. Filled with well-known names like Ford ExplorerHonda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander, the segment presented a challenging climate for a new entrant. But the Hyundai formula of value, extra equipment, and excellent build quality immediately resonated with family vehicle buyers. So, for the refreshed 2023 Palisade, Hyundai is applying more of the same—more interior conveniences, tech, and safety—to improve the family appeal of its already very appealing family-hauler.

The 2023 Hyundai Palisade is smack in the middle of the second most popular segment in the U.S. market, with more than one in 10 new-vehicle sales. As such, having a credible competitor is essential to Hyundai's overall strategy emphasizing crossovers, including the Santa FeTucsonVenue, and the Ioniq 5—Hyundai's first dedicated electric vehicle.

In designing the Palisade, Hyundai product planners and engineers concentrated on creating a vehicle that would fulfill the needs of family buyers. Married Millennials with multiple children are the predominant purchasers of the Palisade. Hyundai put a bullseye on hitting their hot buttons.

2023 Hyundai Palisade Price and Release Date - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Production of the new 2023 Hyundai Palisade began at Hyundai's Ulsan, Korea, manufacturing plant in May 2022, and vehicles are currently in American showrooms. The lineup extends across five trim levels for 2023. The base SE trim has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of slightly less than $35,000 before adding the destination charge, taxes, and fees, while the top-of-the-line Calligraphy trim has an MSRP of right around $50,000.

For the 2023 model year, Hyundai added the XRT trim. It includes special dark-toned 20-inch alloy wheels plus a dark-toned grille and black leatherette seats. The SEL is one of the highest-value trims with a hands-free liftgate, heated power front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, wireless phone charger, and Digital Key 2. Pricing for the SEL trim starts at about $38,000.

The subject of this review was a 2023 Palisade Calligraphy that Hyundai product planner Melvyn Bautista described as the best value in the lineup. Hyundai fills the Calligraphy with upscale features like an Ergo Motion massaging driver's seat, Nappa leather seating, video full-display rearview mirror, and reverse parking collision-avoidance assist. The only added equipment on the luxuriously fitted Calligraphy trim test vehicle was carpeted floor mats ($215.) With the $1,295 destination charge, the total price before taxes and fees was $52,310.

Independent Expert Opinion: Design, Comfort, and Utility - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Front Quarter View

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The industry slang for the type of change the Hyundai Palisade experienced for the 2023 model year is "facelift." That aptly describes the exterior modifications meant to endow the vehicle with an even more "premium" presence. To accomplish this, Hyundai designers gave the vehicle a more prominent "cascading" grille, new 18- and 20-inch wheels, and a revised and somewhat tidier rear end. Dimensionally, the grille added a tiny bit of length ahead of the front wheels, while the rear-end "bob" subtracted a bit less. Neither front nor rear change affected the interior space at all.

Two individual exterior features do add value. The rear of the vehicle now features a faux skid plate design that includes an integrated hitch cover. After all, who wants their hitch hanging out all the time? Even more important is the addition of auto-dimming side mirrors. That's a genuine plus since the Palisade's large side mirrors would otherwise throw off big-time headlight reflections at night.

Inside, Hyundai spruced up what was already a comfortable and convenient cabin. Nappa leather is standard on the Calligraphy trim, but even lesser trims get nicer soft-touch materials—either leatherette or genuine leather. The air vents are slimmer, and Hyundai upgraded the controls and switches for easier operation. No need to wade into the infotainment screen to lower the temperature or switch on the heated seats, either. The center console has an updated "floating" design that holds a lot of miscellaneous items. New expanded ambient lighting sets a mood.

The Ergo Motion driver's seat on the Calligraphy trim is an obvious bow to luxury crossovers. It has internal bladders that alternately inflate and deflate, offering a massaging motion on the lumbar spine and pelvic areas. Second-row passengers will appreciate the "wing-out" headrests with moveable extensions reminiscent of airline headrests. Heated and ventilated second-row seats are available, as are heated third-row seats.

Second-row side-impact airbags are new, as are the remote smart parking assist and rear parking collision-avoidance assist. The remote parking assist allows you to back the Palisade into and out of tight parking spots from outside the vehicle using the key fob to control its motion. The system doesn't allow steering of the crossover, just forward and backward motion at a very slow speed.

Independent Expert Opinion: Infotainment, Technology, and Safety - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Interior Dashboard

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

For years, Hyundai vehicles have been known for their easy-to-use infotainment systems. The 2023 Palisade continues in that tradition with several enhancements. Perhaps the most important is the introduction of an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, which, up to now, was an area where the Palisade fell short. The 2023 Palisade features a Verizon hotspot in which you can connect up to five devices.

Hyundai added multiple USB-C charge ports and power outlets throughout the interior—including on each side of the third row—to keep things powered up.

The 2023 Palisade also features improvements to Hyundai's Bluelink connectivity. The Gen 2.5 system in the new Palisade synchronizes settings for two drivers tied to Bluelink and digital key. It offers remote engine start capability that also pulls in climate control and seat settings. When starting the car using Bluelink, the system automatically uploads the driver's personal settings. The Bluelink system will also transmit messages from the onboard rear-seat reminder system if it detects movement in the vehicle after you park it and the doors are locked. The alert system will also sound the horn.

The 2023 Palisade is the first Hyundai model to have Digital Key 2. Compatible with iPhones and Samsung smartphones, it allows iPhones, Apple watches, and Samsung phones to lock and unlock the vehicle using near-field communications (NFC). You can share the virtual "keys" to the Palisade via iMessage and Samsung Pass, and the driver can put limits on time of access and remove access at any time. Hyundai also provides a wallet-friendly NFC card giving access to the vehicle.

The width and depth of the advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) are impressive. The 2023 Palisade offers forward-collision warning, blind-spot warningsafe-exit system, rear cross-traffic warning, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist, and remote smart parking assist. ADAS that are especially helpful on the highway include driver monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights, navigation-based adaptive cries controllane-keeping assistance, and Highway Driving Assist.

The full-display rearview camera mirror uses a spoiler-mounted camera to send video to the mirror. Because of the camera's location, passengers or cargo don't block the view as a traditional rearview mirror might. You can turn off the camera function by flipping a lever that turns the unit into a conventional rearview mirror.

Independent Expert Opinion: Driving the 2023 Hyundai Palisade - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Rear Quarter View

Photo: Jack R. Nerad

The 2023 Hyundai Palisade provides the type of driving (and riding) experience that the typical family buyer seeks. Hyundai skewed the suspension settings and ride feel toward comfort and quiet. The 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission provide more-than-adequate acceleration. Steering is reasonably communicative but certainly not quick. Braking feels strong and controllable.

As part of the testing process, we piloted a Calligraphy model with the HTRAC all-wheel-drive (AWD) system over an off-road course. The Palisade encountered no problems, but its street tires and 7.9-inch ground clearance don't tab it as a true off-roader. And that likely makes no difference at all to the typical Palisade buyer.

In front-drive form, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade has EPA fuel-economy ratings of 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway/22 mpg combined. The EPA rates the Palisade at 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined in AWD form. Cargo space is praiseworthy—18 cubic feet behind the third row and 86.4 cubic feet with second and third rows folded.

The Palisade will transport up to eight passengers, seven with second-row captain's chairs. First- and second-row accommodations are cushy. The third row is better than some competitors and offers power-folding.

Independent Expert Opinion of the 2023 Hyundai Palisade - Find the best Hyundai deals!

The Hyundai Palisade made a place for itself in a crowded market by delivering good value and the availability of luxury features families could appreciate. The formula works as well today with the 2023 Palisade as it did when Hyundai first introduced it.

Undoubtedly, all the changes made to the vehicle are improvements. While individually they aren't major improvements, the sum-total of the changes make the 2023 Palisade an even better value than before for consumers who desperately need some. Being a Millennial parent with multiple children is a challenging task right now. The 2023 Hyundai Palisade makes the job that much easier.

Jack R. Nerad has been reviewing cars, trucks, vans, and sport utilities for more than three decades. He managed the editorial efforts of Motor Trend magazine and Kelley Blue Book and currently is the host of the SportsMap Radio Network program America on the Road, which is available on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, and other outlets.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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