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Reviews

2023 Hyundai Palisade Review: Luxe On A Budget

Design | Comfort | Tech | Performance | Safety | Fuel Economy | Pricing | FAQs 

Luxury doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – the Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy is proof of that. The top-trim Hyundai offers upscale features, premium looks, and advanced technology all for a fraction of the cost of what the alternatives from luxury brands ask.

For 2023, Hyundai updated its poshest SUV with a fresh exterior design and more standard features. Buyers now get things like a larger touchscreen and the addition of Highway Driving Assist 2, which includes automatic lane changes. All of these upgrades make the Palisade Calligraphy that much more appealing.

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  • Exterior Color: Emerald Green
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Wheel Size: 20 Inches

Hyundai dropped the Palisade’s smaller family fascia and went big. A huge cascading grille now extends down from the headlights all the way to the base of the bumper and uses chrome extensively on the top-end Calligraphy model. But the bold design choice works, especially contrasted against the beautiful Robust Emerald green of this tester. The only downside is that the new face adds an extra 0.6 inches to the front overhang, which makes an already big SUV look even bigger.

The interior design goes virtually untouched from last year – but it’s still very good. High-quality aluminum accents surround high-end black Nappa leather on the seats and black accents on the dash and door panels. On this Calligraphy model, there is some hard-touch plastic lower down, but everything within immediate reach feels properly premium.

  • Seating Capacity: 7
  • Seating Configuration: 2 / 2 / 3
  • Cargo Capacity: 18.0 / 45.8 / 86.4 Cubic Feet

The Hyundai Palisade is like a cheat code for long drives; it is unbelievably comfy. The Nappa leather front buckets offer heating, ventilation, power adjustability with a memory function, and a smart posture adjustment function that straightened up my back when I got too slouchy.

The second-row captain’s chairs and even the third-row bench are both heated, as well, and the second row is among the roomiest in the entire class. Better suspension damping for 2023 also helps improve the Palisade Calligraphy’s already plush ride.

  • Center Display: 12.3-inch Touchscreen
  • Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: No / No

A 12.3-inch touchscreen comes standard on all versions of the Palisade and is joined by a corresponding 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The new center touchscreen replaces last year’s base 8.0-inch screen and the optional 10.3-inch display on the Calligraphy model, and yields better graphics with a more concise home screen.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but both require wires. There are also seven total USB ports throughout the cabin, and Hyundai still offers its Blue Link smartphone app for remote start through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

  • Engine: 3.8-Liter V6
  • Output: 291 Horsepower / 262 Pound-Feet
  • Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic

The Palisade’s 3.8-liter V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission put down power well enough. There’s decent acceleration from a standstill and still plenty of torque higher in the rev range for easy overtaking at highway speed. There’s a ton of body roll, so don’t go flinging the Palisade into corners too excitedly, and the steering is heavily boosted, which makes it feel easygoing around town but vague in tighter turns.

  • Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
  • NHTSA Rating: Five Stars
  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick Plus

Every Palisade comes with standard safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control with Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist (HDA). That means the car will accelerate and brake automatically depending on the flow of traffic, as well as offer moderate steering inputs – but HDA is still hands-on.

The Calligraphy model offers Highway Driving Assist 2 at no extra cost. HDA2 is still hands-on, too, but adds automatic lane-change assist as well as an improved distance indicator and even adjacent traffic sensors that keep you from getting too close to the car next to you. This is the type of advanced safety tech typically reserved for high-end vehicles, not a Hyundai.

  • City: 19 MPG
  • Highway: 25 MPG
  • Combined: 21 MPG
  • Base Price: $35,550 + $1,335 Destination
  • Trim Base Price: $50,835
  • As-Tested Price: $52,735

The base Palisade is only $36,885 to start (including the $1,335 destination charge), which makes it one of the more affordable three-rows in the class. But if you want to ball out on the luxurious Calligraphy model, this version will cost you at least $50,835. Adding all-wheel drive is an extra $1,900 on top of that – but there are no other options, everything else comes standard.

Because this version of the Palisade is $15,000 more expensive than the base model, it doesn’t exactly win any awards for value. But compared to the lux trims that Ford, Jeep, and other competitors offer, the Calligraphy model is actually a relative bargain.

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