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Hyundai Palisade 3.8 GDI AWD: High-rise flagship adopts a more statuesque styles

By Ghaith Madadha - Oct 02,2023 - Last updated at Oct 02,2023

Launched in late 2019 as Hyundai’s big flagship SUV, the Palisade struck an assertive aesthetic tone combined with a capable engine, confident driving dynamics and plenty of class, comfort, convenience and tech features. With near Genesis brand-like luxury and refinement for seven or eight occupants depending on seating configuration, it was — in Hyundai’s marketing jargon — pitched as a vehicle for “maverick families”, which one suspects was a reference to its overtly aggressive, and not uncontroversial, cascading grille design, with its scale-like elements and vertically tapered lower end.

Distinct from edgier and more low-slung saloon sister models like the Sonata, the Palisade’s unconventionally complicated octagonal cascading grille design was supposed to serve as a different take on the brand’s design cues, but stemming from a common springboard. Since then, the Palisade’s “classical temple”-like design was updated last year, with a more conventional grille with bigger internal elements, straighter vertical lines and thicker outline, being adopted. Better integrated with a redesigned lower intake, side lights and headlight elements, the Palisade now strikes a more assertively statuesque and more modern style. 

Smooth and swift

Incorporating a more rectangular theme for the rear bumper and exhaust ports, the Palisade goes little changed otherwise, but the restyled front bumper lends itself to a bulkier and more grounded silhouette that emphasises its prominently ridged side creases, character lines and wheel-arches. Riding on appropriately vast standard 18 or optional 20-inch alloy wheels as before, the top spec Palisade 3.8 GDI AWD also retains the outgoing variant’s transversely-mounted, naturally-aspirated direct injection 3.8-litre V6 engine, smooth, slick and quick 8-speed automatic gearbox, and front-biased four-wheel-drive system.

Nestled under a bulging bonnet, the Palisade’s engine is responsive from low-end and builds progressively to a maximum 262lb/ft torque at a revvy 5,200rpm and 291BHP at 6,000rpm. Seamlessly smooth and willing throughout, it delivers good mid-range versatility to confidently carry the Palisade’s 1.9-tonne mass when overtaking or on inclines. It is meanwhile rewarding and eager through to rev limit. Squatting at the rear but digging into tarmac with conviction when launching from standstill, the Palisade dashes through 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, and will pull to a maximum 210km/h


Refined and reassuring

Employing a high proportion of Advanced High Strength Steel for improved torsional rigidity and enhanced collision safety, the Palisade also uses lighter aluminium suspension components to reduce unsprung mass. Evident in its driving experience, the Palisade’s construction material lends itself to good suspension and steering precision. Its MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension meanwhile provide a smooth, settled and comfortably forgiving ride quality, even with stiff low profile tyres. The Palisade also benefits from good steering directness and maneuverability for its substantial size, height and weight.

Reassuringly stable and confidently flexible on motorways, the Palisade’s road-biased four-wheel drives seamlessly redistributes torque between front and rear for confident stability and road-holding, and often with front bias to help achieve reasonable 10.8l/100km combined fuel efficiency. Turning in tidily with light and quick steering, the Palisade provides good grip and little understeer, and feels maneuverable and well-controlled for its class. Tall and comfortable, its cornering body lean is expected, but is well-managed, while more power is directed to the rear wheels through corners, for enhanced agility and balance. 


Updated and up-market

Settled in vertical movement over dips and crests, the Palisade is a refined drive that well absorbs most lumps and potholes, while underbody covers help achieve comparatively low aerodynamic drag co-efficiency, to reduce noise intrusion and improve efficiency. Its cabin is meanwhile comfortable, with well-adjustable, large front seats and driving position, and good configurability for its generous middle, and useable third row seats. Wide swing door angles allow excellent cabin access, while cavernous luggage volume expands from a minimum of 509-litres to 2,446-litres when rear rows are folded.

Sensible, functional and palatial, the Palisade’s up-market interior has an airy ambiance and good in-class visibility. Its distinctly premium feel utilises quality materials and soft textures, and has been updated for a more expansive horizontal emphasis and uncluttered layout that includes new vents, updated screens and steering wheel. Well-equipped with numerous infotainment, convenience and safety features, the Palisade incorporates several advanced driver assistance and warning systems. Able to lock four-wheel-drive at lower speeds, it also features a Multi-Terrain Control System that adjusts various systems for different off-road conditions.


  • Engine: 3.8-litre, aluminium block / head, inline V6-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 96 x 87mm
  • Valve-train: Direct injection, DOHC, 24-valve, continuously variable valve timing
  • Gearbox: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 291 (295) [217] @6,000rpm
  • Specific power: 77BHP/litre
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 262 (355) @5,200rpm
  • Specific torque: 94Nm/litre
  • 0-100km/h: 7.7-seconds
  • Top speed: 210km/h
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 10.8-litres/100km (estimate) 
  • Length: 4,995mm
  • Width: 1,975mm
  • Height: 1,750mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,900mm
  • Tread, F/R: 1,708/1,716mm
  • Overhang, F/R: 945/1,135mm
  • Headroom, F/M/R: 1,035/1,019/944mm
  • Leg room, F/M/R: 1,120/1,077/798mm
  • Shoulder room, F/M/R: 1,555/1,545/1,402mm
  • Seats: 7/8
  • Luggage volume, behind 3rd/2nd/1st row: 509-/1,297-/2,446-litres
  • Kerb weight: 1,845-1,969kg
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts / multi-link
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Braking distance, 100-0km/h: 43.1-metres
  • Tyres, standard/optional: 245/60R18/245/50R20
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