Updated for 2023 with a new dashboard, steering wheel, air vents, front grille, lights and bumpers

Dale JohnsonIn the popular and crowded mid-size, three-row SUV segment, Hyundai’s offering is the Palisade.

It’s up against plenty of competitors, including the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Expedition, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas – as well as the related Kia Telluride.

Hyundai’s flagship vehicle has been updated for 2023 with a new dashboard, steering wheel, air vents, front grille, lights and bumpers.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the engine, a 3.8 litre V-6 producing 291 hp. While providing adequate acceleration, this is not a high-performance engine. Nor is it a gas-sipper; it’s rated at 12.6 litres per 100 km in the city and 9.5 l/100 km on the highway.

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The Hyundai Palisade Ultimate Calligraphy is the top trim level of Hyundai’s flagship SUV


The Palisade’s controls are easy to find and navigate

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One of the attractions of the Palisade is a price that starts at $47,999 (plus fees, levies, delivery and destination fees) – which is below many of its competitors. The entry-level model is called Preferred, and the mid-range model is the Urban.

I recently test-drove the top trim level Ultimate Calligraphy edition, which included such goodies as Nappa leather seats, heated front and rear seats, and a Harmon Kardon premium audio system with 12 speakers. Outside, the Ultimate Caligraphy includes a premium finish on the wheels, LED headlights and taillights, premium rear accent lighting, body colour bumpers and exclusive front grille and bumper. The price of my test vehicle was $58,824

I found the updated exterior styling very nice; the large grille looks high-end and distinctive without being strange or bizarre. The back also has high-end styling touches with large, vertical taillights.

The Palisade – which sits on a 2,900 mm (114 in) wheelbase and is 4,995 mm (196.7 in) long – appears to be bulkier and larger than it actually is when you drive it.

It’s very spacious with lots of headroom, and it’s easy to get in and out of all three rows.

The seats are very comfortable, although another inch or two of legroom would have been appreciated. However, I like how bolsters at the front of the front seats can be extended to provide extra support behind your knees. The massaging function also helps to make long rides comfortable.

The Palisade also excels when it comes to the instrument panel and controls.

The navigation system is extremely easy to, well, navigate. It’s easy to go back and forth between the radio and the map – which can’t be said for some competitors.

There are buttons and knobs for the heating and air conditioning system, and there’s also a small display screen below the main 12.3-inch touchscreen to show details on the airflow and temperature. The transmission selector buttons are on the console, eliminating a shift lever.

A wonderful safety feature is, when you turn left or right, an image of what’s behind you in that lane appears on the dashboard, temporarily replacing either the speedometer or tachometer, depending on which way you turn. So in stop-and-go traffic, if you’re turning right, it’s easy to see if a cyclist or pedestrian is coming up between you and the curb. I also found this feature very helpful at night: as soon as you put your signal on, you can see on the dashboard if vehicles are quickly coming up behind you. There’s more detail than just looking in the rear-view mirrors.

The interior is tasteful and not overdone. While there’s nothing that stands out as unusually clever, exotic or innovative, nor is there anything that could be considered bizarre, puzzling or strange.

The Palisade is popular thanks to its features and price – whether it’s the base Palisade or the fully-trimmed Ultimate Calligraphy edition.

Dale Johnson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who has worked in TV, radio, print and online. While the manufacturer provided Dale with a vehicle to test drive, the content of this review was not reviewed or accepted by the manufacturer.

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