* A 3-row SUV and I got 25 mpg
* When you turn on the blinker the image on the side view shows up in the instrument panel
* Striking design with an elegant interior
* Driver Talk amplifies front row voices to second- and third-row seat occupants.
* Tinted windows for privacy in the back
* My favorite – the Limited. There is nothing limited about it.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – The biggest SUV Hyundai USA has ever made is less expensive than it’s Kia Telluride, cousin, starting at $32,545. Hyundai’s lineup of SUVs grows from the compact Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe Sport, and the three-row midsize, 8-passenger crossover Palisade that is bigger and better than the outgoing Santa Fe.
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade has more cupholders, USB ports, iPhone holders, and in-cabin storage space. There is a large covered center console bin and some cool retractable cupholders along with Qi wireless charging pad for compatible Android devices as well as recent Apple iPhones, and a large under-console bin for purses or ipads. Bench seats are standard on the Palisade in the SE trim. Starting on the SEL trim, captains chairs are standard.
Are the three rows functional?
In a word, yes. The 2nd-row captain’s chairs slide forward with the touch of a button. There are two options to slide the 2nd-row seat forward; either the power release button mounted on the seat cushion or the switch mounted on the top of the seat back. My six-foot colleague sat in the second row and was quite comfortable. He could sit in the third row and fit comfortably, but wouldn’t want to do so for a long time, though the ability to recline the seat made it much more delightful.
Hyundai has included a power fold for the 3rd-row seat with the buttons located in the cargo area above the under-floor bin in the cargo area. The kids will love the third row, and you will love the extra cargo room for the cooler. The system also includes a Rear Sleep Mode that allows the front passengers to listen to their music or podcast without that same audio heard in the second- and third-row audio speakers. The cool factor is the Driver Talk in-car intercom system that, with the click of a button, allows you to talk to the third row without shouting.
The rolling hills of the Palouse region is the perfect place to show off the Palisade’s Atkinson-cycle 3.8-liter V6, dual CVVT, direct-injected engine. The push-button transmission engages the 3.8-liter powerplant that produces an estimated 291 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and an estimated 262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,000 rpm. Palisade offers more standard horsepower than any other SUV in its competitive set and an unsurpassed level of torque. All the competitors listed have a six-speed automatic transmission while the Hyundai Palisades has an eight-speed automatic transmission with a multi-plate torque converter.
What is HTRAC?
The driver-selectable HTRAC Normal, Sport, snow and Smart modes
We got down and dirty in the 2020 Hyundai Palisade with the available HTRAC All-Wheel Drive. A new option for the Palisade is a newly-developed Snow Mode on its advanced HTRAC AWD system, with unique traction tuning for snow, optimizing available traction. The Drive Mode System’s Snow Mode adjusts front and rear torque distribution, left and right wheel slip control, engine torque and shift patterns according to available traction levels. Also, Palisade’s AWD HTRAC system includes an AWD locking-differential function for challenging traction situations.
After lunch in Moscow, Idaho, we drove past the yellow canola fields up to the dirt roads, looking for a little traction.
Hyundai calls an audible with Harman Karman.
Jonathan Pierce, Senior Manager, Global experiential R&D at HARMAN International lifestyle audio, explained the intricacies of creating a premium sound in a cavernous 3-row SUV.
In Korea, Hyundai uses JBL. In the United States, it used to be Infinity, but now it is Harman Kardon. The Hyundai Palisade is the first Harman Kardon vehicle launch.
What is the difference in sound between Infinity and Harman Kardon for the customer?
Pierce explained it as Infinity is a more progressive sound that comes down to the tuning. It is less about the placement of the speakers, more about the execution of the frequency response, where the difference is between the bass, the mid-range, and the treble. The execution is more radical.
With Harman Kardon, the sound is truer to what the artist is trying to achieve on the recording. Acknowledging how the song is recorded requires a tuning engineer sitting in the car for a week with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) proprietary software. The engineer will sit in each seat of each row, tweaking the bass, flattening out the frequency response in every speaker and also time-aligning each of the speakers.
The challenge is more prominent, the longer the vehicle. Pierce says it is easier to tune a sedan than a 3-row SUV, “the sub-woofers are all the way in the back the front woofers are near the driver. You need to make sure you are time-aligning the sound waves s from the sub-woofers to the mate up to the sound waves of the front-door woofers so that the bass sounds punchy and full and is located right in front of the listener.”
The frequency response of the sound inside the Palisade is one aspect that the engineer is trying to accomplish. The engineer bases the sounds on the spectral hearing of 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz that humans can hear. The Palisade is engineered so that the people in the SUV can hear the entire spectrum of the music, no matter where they are sitting.
How does Harman Kardon know how an artist wanted the song recorded?
It struck my ear when Pierce said the engineer tunes the car so that the listeners can hear the song how the artist wanted the song played.
How does Harman Kardon know how an artist wanted the song recorded? “If you know your system can play from 20-to-20 (the Spectral sphere) and you know the frequency response of your system you are listening to the music in the purest form.” I used the analogy that it was like a painter, that with the proprietary software, the engineer can figure out what color the artist wanted the picture to be. It is the challenge and responsibility of Harman to paint the art piece red if the artist painted it red, not to paint it blue.
The secret to the 3rd-row success is bringing some of the music from the back to the sides, widening the stage of the amphitheater if you will. With Quantum logic and more sophisticated software, the engineer has gone from mixing only two channels up to six or eight channels of dedicated information sent to each speaker. Every stream or channel has a hierarchy, and depending on the stream, you can get the bass first or second, etc. Pierce is just as concerned about how the music sounds as he is being respectful to the artist. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
What safety is standard on the 3-row Palisade?
Palisade has seven standard airbags: dual front, dual side, driver’s knee, and roll-over-sensing side-curtain airbags.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) w/ Pedestrian Detection
Lane Following Assist (LFA)
High Beam Assist (HBA)
Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC)
Optional Safety on the Palisade
Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
Safe Exit Assist (SEA)
If a passenger attempts to open the door when a car is approaching from behind, a visual and acoustic warning on the center cluster will alert the driver. Also, if the driver attempts to deactivate the Electronic Child Safety Lock feature, Safe Exit Assist will override the driver and ensure the rear doors remain locked until the approaching vehicle has passed.
Parking Assistance and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
Using the Blind Spot Detection system’s radar sensors when backing up, the system can not only warn the driver if vehicles approach from the rear side, it also applies the brakes automatically.
Competitors to the 2020 Hyundai Palisade:
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
2019 Toyota Highlander
2019 Honda Pilot
2019 Nissan Pathfinder
2019 Ford Explorer
2019 Chevrolet Traverse
2020 Kia Telluride
Exterior and Interior car colors
I drove the steel graphite SEL and the moonlight cloud Limited. The Palisade will be available in several exterior colors, including Beckets Black, White Cream, Lagoon Silver, Steel Graphite, Sierra Burgundy, Moonlight Cloud, and Forest Rain. Interior combinations include unique molding accent colors tailored to the exterior combination.
The base SE and midline SEL share the same grille while the top-line Limited gets its own unique grille.
2020 Hyundai Palisade Pricing and Models:
2020 Hyundai Palisade SE:
SE front-wheel-drive (FWD) $31,550
SE all-wheel-drive (AWD) $33,250
Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive being a $1700 option
2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL front-wheel-drive (FWD):
SEL FWD $33,500
SEL FWD (Sunroof) $34,400
SEL FWD (8-Seat) $33,500
SEL FWD (Sunroof + 8-Seat) $34,400
SEL FWD (Convenience) $36,600
SEL FWD (Convenience + Drive Guidance) $37,850
SEL FWD (Convenience + 8-Seat) $36,600
SEL FWD (Convenience + Drive Guidance + 8-Seat) $37,850
SEL FWD (Premium) $39,000
SEL FWD (Premium + Drive Guidance) $40,250
SEL FWD (Premium + 8-Seat) $39,000
SEL FWD (Premium + Drive Guidance + 8-Seat) $40,250
2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL all-wheel-drive (AWD):
SEL AWD $35,200
SEL AWD (Sunroof) $36,100
SEL AWD (8-Seat) $35,200
SEL AWD (Sunroof + 8-Seat) $36,100
SEL AWD (Convenience) $38,300
SEL AWD (Convenience + Drive Guidance) $39,550
SEL AWD (Convenience + 8-Seat) $38,300
SEL AWD (Convenience + Drive Guidance + 8-Seat) $39,550
SEL AWD (Premium) $40,700
SEL AWD (Premium + Drive Guidance) $41,950
SEL AWD (Premium + 8-Seat) $40,700
SEL AWD (Premium + Drive Guidance + 8-Seat) $41,950
2020 Hyundai Palisade SEL Limited:
Limited FWD $44,700
Limited AWD $46,400
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade will be in select car dealerships in the next couple of weeks.