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2021 Hyundai Palisade Review by Larry Nutson

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2021 Hyundai Palisade
New Calligraphy trim level

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Palisade is Hyundai’s flagship. First introduced in mid-2019 for the 2020 model year, this UV will seat up to eight, has a powerful V6, can tow a bunch, and is surprisingly luxurious for the price.

For 2021 Hyundai has tweaked the Palisade lineup. This is very typical in the auto industry for a new model after a year of hearing dealer and buyer feedback on likes and dislikes. 2021 Palisade has undergone significant content repackaging to give buyers of all trim levels added comfort & convenience while streamlining shopper trim selections.

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Additionally, a new upscale Calligraphy trim has been added with numerous premium features, including 20-inch alloy wheels, exclusive front and rear LED lighting signature and micro-suede headliner.

I recently spent a few days driving the new Palisade Calligraphy which comes standard with all-wheel drive, hill decent control and a snow mode. Appearance wise it has a unique grille and front fascia, a rear-accent lighting signature plus a unique, wide center high mounted stoplight, unique 20-inch wheels, premium door garnish and puddle lamps.

Inside you’ll find quilted leather door panels, microfiber-suede headliner, perforated-leather steering wheel and a premium cargo sill protection plate.

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Like all Palisade trims the Calligraphy is powered by a 291-horsepower 3.8-L V6 coupled to an eight-speed automatic. The V6 delivers plenty of performance and the automatic is crisp shifting. The HTRAC AWD system has different selectable drive modes that optimize performance based on driving conditions.

EPA ratings are 19 city mpg and 24 highway mpg. The 18.8 gal. fuel tank should make for 450 miles of driving. My experience in previous Palisade long highway trips is that the EPA highway rating is easily achieved and you probably can coax out more with a moderate driving speed.

The premium Napa leather seating is for seven with two center row captain’s chairs. The second-row seats have a power-fold feature and slide with the touch of one button for easy third row access. Power-folding and unfolding third-row seats are standard. A driver talk in-car intercom broadcasts the driver’s voice through the rear speakers making for easier talking to the children.

Rear cargo space is plentiful at 18 cu.ft. to near 86 cu.ft. with all seats folded. Plus, you can tow up to 5,000 lbs. with a tow package being standard equipped and now featuring a new 7-pin connector.

Calligraphy is priced at $47,750 plus the $1,175 destination charge.

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In addition to the top-of the-line Calligraphy, the Palisade is available in SE, SEL and Limited trims each with either front- or all-wheel drive. Prices start at $32,525 with AWD adding $1,700 on each trim.

Now for 2021, the former Drive Guidance package, including high-demand features such as a 10.25-inch navigation system, Highway Drive Assist, SiriusXM Radio, Blue Link, and Driver Talk (in-car intercom system), was added to the Premium package and above.

Multiple Device Connection capability, HD radio and Wireless Smartphone Connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been added to the SE trim and above for vehicles without navigation. LED headlamps are now standard, while sunroof and LED map-interior lights have been added to the SEL trim and above. A premium melange headliner has been added to the Premium package.

More information and details on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade can be found at The Palisade is covered by Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, and 3-years/36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The mid-size utility vehicle (UV) segment offers models from a multitude of brands with a wide range of prices, carrying capacities, performance capabilities and infotainment technology. There’s something for everyone’s taste, needs and bank account.

Safety technology has advanced significantly in the last decade and a full array of advanced driver assistance safety (ADAS) features are available. Uni-body design car-like crossover UVs are comfortable and offer low fuel consumption.

The Palisade is ranked near the top of what’s on the market by many auto pundits. Personally, from an appearance perspective I need to like the exterior look of a vehicle but give more weight to the overall interior design and functionality. After all, that’s where I’ll be spending my time when using a vehicle.

The Palisade ranks high on my list for its interior fit and finish, the use of quality materials, quiet ride, comfortable interior and ease of operation of the driving controls and features.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy