Believe it or not, there are some people who wish to maximise vehicle seating capacity without being held hostage to the LCV-like people mover or rugged off-roader. These folk need look no farther than the Hyundai Palisade, a sports utility vehicle capable of carrying up to seven or eight people.

Now, with a name in the origins of a paling fence or line of lofty cliffs, the Palisade, for 2022, is taking up more ground by the addition of a third variant – the Elite – dividing the entry-level Palisade from the range-topping Palisade Highlander. All siblings come with petrol, or diesel power in two- or all-wheel drive.

Available as a seven- or eight-seater, the Elite features a 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia unit with satellite navigation and 12-speaker Infinity Premium sound, heated front seats a single panel glass sunroof, rear privacy glass, a power tailgate and wireless smart phone charging. LED lights are positioned front and rear and 20-inch alloy wheels complete the look.

The entry-level Palisade 3.8 GDi petrol 2WD is priced at $55,000, plus on-road costs, the similar Elite chipping in at $61,500, while the range-topping Highlander 2.2 CRDi diesel AWD sells for $75,000.

On test was the Palisade Highlander 3.8-litre GDi, four-cylinder petrol, eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive, eight-seater SUV.

Despite old-style design, side on, the Palisade carries its almost five-metre length well, with wagon-like proportions doing nothing to trouble, or excite, the discerning eye.

New to the big SUV are body-coloured bumpers, with 20-inch so-called Calligraphy alloy wheels fitting in nicely. Oh, and there is a full-size spare under the rear.

In eight-seat configuration, the Palisade has plenty of room up front. While the third row, which is sold as a three-seater, falls short of adult dimensions, it is relatively easy to gain access, the second row sliding forward up to 220 mm.

However, seat backs in the second and third row need quite a tug to raise or lower manually. And both back rows in eight-seat versions have a 60:40 split, so it’s not as easy to carry long items when the outer seats are in use.

Boot volume is 311 litres with all three rows in position, which increases to 704 litres with two rows in use. Towing capacity of 2200 kg is nothing to write home about.

Seven USB ports, four 12V sockets and up to 16 cup holders, including four in the each of the second and third rows, are conveniently at hand.

In addition to the previous beige and burgundy surroundings, the Highlander now offers optional black Nappa leather without a price increase.

Palisade has an Infinity premium audio system, access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus wireless smartphone charging, and seven USB points scattered around the cabin.

The Palisade upgrade continues with the choice of a 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine, with two-wheel drive, or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, with all-wheel drive. Both are mated with an eight-speed automatic.

Advanced safety technology includes radar cruise control with stop-start, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind zone warning with intervention.

There are stress minimising cooling air vents for all three rows and head protection comes from curtain airbags covering all three rows of seats. There are three IsoFix child seat positions, meaning five seats nominally could be fitted, but it would be a squeeze.

With such a big vehicle, fuel consumption becomes increasingly linked to the loads being carried. Hyundai says 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres is the average for the Palisade in the combined urban / highway cycle.

With all eight seating positions taken, the test vehicle tipped petrol consumption over 12 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of town and country conditions.

While other eight-seat SUVs are based on a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive ‘ladder frame’ chassis, the Hyundai Palisade is built like a car.

That means its centre of gravity is lower and steering and suspension should be more like the average passenger vehicle. Travelling in stop-start city low-speed conditions, this is the case.

Sharp cornering at speed is a different matter. The big unit needs a deal of due care and attention to keep it on the not-so straight and narrow. A lesson soon learnt.

Turning circle, at 11.8 metres, for a vehicle of this length, is surprisingly taut and the width (a tad under two metres) means the car can handle the average shopping centre parking spot with room to spare. The backside, however, does tend to stick out into the aisle.

Drive modes – Comfort, day-to-day driving, eco fuel saver, sport spices up things, and smart switches on to algorithms turned to the driver’s most recent behaviour patterns.

All Palisades are covered by Hyundai iCare, the company’s leading customer care program, offering owners a lifetime service plan, five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, complimentary roadside assist for 12 months on new vehicles, 1500 km complimentary first service, a dedicated Customer Care Centre and myHyundai, an exclusive website.

Customers using Hyundai servicing also receive roadside assistance for up to 10 years, 10 years of sat nav updates and more.


Palisade 3.8 GDi 2WD $55,000
Palisade 2.2 CRDi AWD $59,000
Palisade Elite 3.8 GDi 2WD $61,500
Palisade Elite 2.2 CRDi AWD $65,500
Palisade Highlander 3.8 GDi 2WD $71,000
Palisade Highlander 2.2 CRDi AWD $75,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Hyundai Palisade Highlander 3.8L GDi, V6 petrol, 8sp automatic, FWD SUV)

Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 217 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 355 Nm @ 5200 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.7 L/100km
CO2 emissions: Euro 5

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4980 mm
Wheelbase: 2900 mm
Width: 1975 mm
Height: 1750 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1950 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 71 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

Looks: 5/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 8/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 6/10
Value: 5/10
Overall: 6.3/10

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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