Published On: 10 May 2023Categories: Auto & Vehicles

Big SUVs. They’re very nice things to be in generally because they’re big. But they also generally come with a big price tag and that’s often a stumbling point between the realisations of aspiration vs actualisation.

The new look Palisade is a massive thing. At a kerb weight of 1952kg, 5m long, 2m wide and 1.75m tall (all rounded off up a few mm) the big SUV from Hyundai is comfortably up there in terms of size with it’s 7 seater luxury rivals. And when one hears these numbers of size, the number of seats and so forth and you’re expecting a bit of a price and let’s face it, north of R1M these days is now sadly already a given with the only question being one of how much further past R1m we are going.

But Hyundai have been price competitive since as long as we’ve been aware of the brand and despite the maturation of the company into a seriously proper global contender, the value for money factor has always maintained pace with the business’ development. Enter this new face lifted Palisade as an example. We are talking of an 8 seater 4WD behemoth here and to get to the equivalent in size for the same money is going to be a tough ask.

Or it might be a 7 seater. Yup – you have the option of two captain’s chairs in the second row as opposed to a 3 seater bench and this is where my money would go. 7 seats is more than enough and those captain’s chairs are the business!


Make no mistake. R1.1M is not chump change and it puts the Palisade beyond the reach of most mere mortals, but in context of new vehicle prices generally the Palisade starts asking questions of its more well heeled competition that might become distinctly uncomfortable. Hyundai drive home the point most forcefully that their model is one that includes all the toys in the asking price and that the competition often has to add these in to their offerings to get you on a ‘like for like’ price comparison.

There is always more to buying a car than the straight basket of offerings of course. I for one quite like the fact that I don’t have to think about what to include and what I might need that I didn’t include that I end up kicking myself for not including. Which is an inclusive way of saying that I’m that guy that just ticks all the boxes on the options list and then falls over stone dead from a heart attack when the final bill is presented, as an easy way to exit the sticky bill situation without losing too much face in the process.

I don’t like nasty surprises in other words and the Palisade takes away all the nasty surprises.

Lookswise the Palisade is pretty distinctive. The 220 badge gives away the 142kW 440Nm 2.2 turbo diesel that serves duty in this model coupled to an 8 speed auto box. This motor is not new to Hyundai but it has to be right up there as one of their all time best. It gets the Palisade under way most satisfactorily and notably as a cruiser and not a bruiser. The upside is that fuel consumption is quoted as a real world 8.2l/100 which sounds ambitious – if we get one to test we’ll let you know how it does. On the launch drive I got the feeling that it might be achievable and that Hyundai might not be smoking their socks entirely.

But it’s impossible to refute the upgrades and the refresh to the interior and options that the Palisade offers the discerning motorist of 2023. Infinity makes a welcome appearance on the sound front and sadly my driving partners weren’t all that into having their ear drums imploded even if the choice of tunes by yours truly was, as always, impeccable in taste, class and sophistication. It is 12 speakers however which is a hint.

The balance of reviewed features spans upgrades to the instrument panel, infotainment system, more power to the wireless charging, dual bluetooth connectivity and in essence the Palisade is the poster child for modern day car upgrades in that obvious tech upgrades are the ones that are dealt with speedily. Whatever the latest standard is for whatever widget or gadget you’re looking at, the Palisade is currently ‘It’.

The latest HTRAC AWD system is used but power is sent to either axle as needed with Sand, Mud or Snow Terrain modes available via selection when you’re dealing with off road conditions. Sport mode sends most of the power to the rear for a claimed sensation of “a sporty dynamic feel when desired.”

Sigh. It’s 7/8 seater SUV. Using the words ‘sporty’ and ‘dynamic’ I suppose have to be taken in context with all SUVs being pretty much as dreadful as each other and the degree of dreadfulness between them reduced to slim margins. I don’t look at SUVs as being either of these things, nor do I care all that much about such matters when climbing into one to drive for the simple reason that I have my Mini to climb into when I need to satiate my need for ‘Sporty’ and ‘Dynamic’ from the rear of the field when racing on track. I also console myself with the thought that if you can afford one of these and have a need for ‘sporty dynamism’ you can buy yourself a car actually capable of delivering these in the true sense.

It won’t be as comfortable as the Palisade however, nor as imposing, nor as much fun to drive in traffic where a big SUV is king. Or when on holiday or when away for the long weekend at some destination on the other end of a dreadful road. In Sport mode the Palisade does offer better gear ratio selection at the expense of fuel consumption I suspect and there are occasions when I do use these modes on SUVs with great results. And this is a long winded way of arriving at the conclusion that the mode has it’s purpose.

On the safety side the Palisade isn’t shy. You get Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and this includes braking, and steering under specific circumstances. Part of me really wants to feel the real world application from a curiosity point of view to see what it REALLY does but objectively one has to take it on faith. Then you also get Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Following Assist, Safe Exit Assist, Driver Fatigue Detection and Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Highway Driving Assist (which I read as adaptive cruise control) and Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist. This is all as close to as top of the range in terms of a safety features list as any I’ve seen.

And to complete the offering you get

  • Hyundai’s 7-year/200 000 km warranty (consisting of the 5-year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty, with a 2-year/50 000 km powertrain warranty extension);
  • Roadside assistance for 7 years or 150 000 km; and
  • A 7-year or 105 000 km service plan (service interval is 15 000 km)

as standard, included free, gratis and for nuffink in the price. It makes the Palisade one hell of an offering.


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