Hyundai, along with its sister brand Kia, has been steadily clawing its way up the list of group of the world’s biggest automakers. While it has proven itself with numerous impressive models across different segments, including small and medium utility vehicles, there was one major niche that the Korean carmaker didn’t have any presence in — the eight seater large SUV segment. Hyundai has addressed this with its latest model, the Palisade, as it takes position at the helm of the line-up as its flagship SUV. Considerably longer, wider and taller than the new Santa Fe, which has been the brand’s largest offering in this market previously, the Palisade can seat up to eight passengers across three rows.

The Palisade has the looks worthy of a flagship, with a wide ‘cascading’ grille dominating the front end, flanked by composite headlamps and bold lighting signature. An extended front overhang lends it impressive road presence, with bold C-pillars and panoramic glass areas enhancing the overall feeling of roominess.


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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

In fact, the all-new chassis provides exceptional passenger room in the second- and third rows, as well as generous cargo space and flexibility to reconfigure these spaces. The powered rear seats help make accessing the third row a breeze, and two average sized adults can sit comfortably.

Powering the Palisade is a 3.8-litre V6 that’s good for 295 horsepower and 355Nm of torque. This unit is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is available in both two-wheel and four-wheel-drive configurations. The AWD system provides an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles with driver-selectable Normal, Sport and Smart modes, equipping the SUV to handle all weather conditions. Although we didn’t take it off-road, the Palisade’s ride quality and composure on the road are right up there with the best in this segment.

Safety has also been given high priority in the Palisade, with the SUV offering a number of advanced technologies as standard, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go.

The Palisade is also packed with the latest technology features including a Blind View Monitor which provides side views whenever the turn signal is activated, complementing the standard Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist. The audio and navigation display is a substantial 10.25in touchscreen in widescreen format, coupled with a 12.3in fully-digital TFT centre instrument cluster offering various view modes. Two Bluetooth devices can be connected simultaneously, with one for a mobile phone connection and the other for audio streaming. The Qi wireless charging pad is a handy addition and charges compatible phones fairly quickly.  It’s also one of the very few models in this class to offer Head-Up Display, which projects important information onto the windshield, helping the driver keep his or her eyes on the road.

Hyundai has come to the large SUV party very late. But it’s come with a product that is capable of giving many of the established players in this segment a run for their money.