Since encountering it at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, I always had a soft spot for the Hyundai Palisade.
I can still hear the folks at Hyundai arguing with us that their Palisade should’ve won #VOTY19 instead of the Kia.
Some might call this the Jan Brady Syndrome. The response to someone – or something – getting all of the attention and accolades than they should. Just because they were older? Or, better looking? Or, 7something else?
Since encountering it at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, I always had a soft spot for the Hyundai. It was more luxurious looking and fulfills its “upscale” tag line Hyundai has given it. I was glad I was there for a regional preview drive event later in July before taking one home with me from that year’s Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally. Each one left a great impression upon me – including the one I had last year.
Yet, it shares the same platform and driveline as the #VOTY19 winner – the Kia Telluride. It is a good backbone to build an SUV on. Always have. Well…at least from my observation.
The thing about working with a vehicle that has been on the market for a few years is to challenge myself from reading the forums and comments. Everything from excessive wind noise, shuddering, engine issues, liftgates releasing on their own, and so forth…
Then, there’s the larger corporate issues of how easy they are to steal using a USB cord and engine quality issues. It should not be difficult to talk about certain brands and products without being reminded if these – and more.
Before I dive into the nuts and bolts of my experience with the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy you are seeing on these pages, let me just dive into what has changed in its fourth model year.
Right off the bat, there is a new front clip. The grille may spear to be enlarged, but it is a complete reshape towards a squared off look overall. In turn, the headlamp units and LED running lamps have followed form giving the Palisade a more aggressive look up front.
This Calligraphy tester came with a new set of 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. The result is a cleaner profile with a nod to its “upscale” tag line. If that’s the case, then Hyundai was leaning towards Lincoln than Genesis in this Palisade Calligraphy.
Inside, Hyundai added the stylish four-spoke steering wheel seen on the Tucson, Santa Cruz, and Sonata. The 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen has changed for the silvery dials seen on top trims of the Tucson. In all, these feed to its ambitions and intended audience for this luxurious SUV.
Again, a lot of what’s in the Palisade from the past model years have carried over. All of which are good things. The seats are big, the cabin is spacious, the third row accommodates children very well and has a one-button action to access the third row of seats.
It’s also a lovely cruiser. If you bring some of your friends along, they will enjoy a nice ride anywhere you take them. There’s also more than enough cargo space for their gear. Tailgates are no problem here.
The 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine with the eight-speed automatic and our tester’s all-wheel drive are familiar components for a nice drive. While it has returned a 22.1 MPG fuel economy average, it does so with nominal penalty while making its turn across town and beyond.
The steering system does maneuver tightly for a vehicle in its class. Still, a good sense of size and distance will surprise you how nimble the Palisade is to park. While on the road, it offers presence and peace of mind that you expect from a vehicle in its class.
How much would you pay for all of this luxury in a three-row mid-size SUV? Hyundai is asking $52,310 for this 2023 Calligraphy AWD tester. Considering the rise in prices in this market, it seems daunting at first. Then again, the average transaction cost for a new vehicle is around $45,000. With that said, you choose between five trim levels of the 2023 Palisade starting at $35,550.
I know that you have been hankering for the brass tacks on this vehicle. When you experience vehicles over the lifespan of its offering, you try take another approach in telling its story. In this case, the revisions on the exterior and interior added some character to an already stylish family hauler.
Still, there are some issues to overcome when crowning the Palisade to any lofty plinth. Not just from the forums, but from the news. What if you bought one and could not get it insured? What if you were judged by your friends with guilt by association due to all of the bad press against the brand? How do you overcome all of this when you came away with the conclusion that the Hyundai Palisade is the right vehicle for you.
One answer comes from their history. Hyundai has been there before. They fought back with better warranties, better quality, better products, and a better reputation. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!
Yet, it still feel that the vehicle you have just read about is the right solution for you and your family, you might just end up liking it. And, owning it for a long time. That’s the goal of any vehicle, right?
Needless to say, this would an SUV that Jan Brady would happily own.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Hyundai Motor America
All photos by Randy Stern