Hyundai Palisade Highlander 3.8 FWD review

Car Reviews and Advisory

Family-sized SUV impressive with touches of luxury and flair.

2022 Palisade Highlander

Hyundai’s hulking full-size Palisade SUV has been with us less than 18 months but is already the beneficiary of a model-year 2022 refresh, which brings extra features and the introduction of a cheaper entry model.

The Palisade is the largest and most spacious of the Korean car maker’s six-strong SUV range and this flagship Highlander variant boasts more than a hint of luxury.

Introduced as the sun set on 2020, the original Palisade range comprised two grades with a choice of 3.8-litre V6 petrol driving the front wheels, or 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel driving all four.

Both engines hitch to the same eight-speed auto and these powertrain combinations soldier on unchanged in the updated range.

Engineered to appeal to buyers looking for a family-sized SUV with more car-like driving manners than all-terrain rivals such as the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol, the Palisade’s generous three-row interior endows it with the versatility of a people mover, but it’s styling is devoutly SUV.

This MY22 update introduces a new mid-grade Elite model with additional standard equipment over the previous base model, while the range-topping Highlander models score additional premium features without any price alterations.

Prices for V6 front-drive versions start at $60,000 for the Palisade, rising to $62,200 for the Elite and topping out at $71,700 for the Highlander.

Opting for the more fuel-efficient turbo-diesel AWD adds $4,000 to each of those MLPs, with eight seats standard on the base model, and other grades offering the choice of seven or eight.

There’s no shortage of creature comforts, safety features, and driver assistance technology even on the entry level model.

2022 Palisade Highlander.

The Highlander steps things up over the mid-spec Elite with features like a head-up display, blind-spot view monitor (a camera view in the instrument cluster linked to the lane-change/turn indicators), surround-view monitor, suede roof lining, dual sunroof with tilt function, row two sunblinds, driver seat memory system, heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, safe exit assist, Nappa leather trim, plus new 20-inch ‘Calligraphy’ alloy wheels, as well as body-coloured bumpers and cladding.

Like the rest of the range the Highlander features six airbags, with the curtain airbags extending over the full three rows. Its connectivity and infotainment system includes an Infinity premium audio system with 12 speakers and external amplifier, DAB+ radio, wireless phone-charging, 10.25-inch touchscreen, satnav, Smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, a Driver Talk function enabling driver voice communication through the rear speakers, and a Quiet Mode to mute the rear speakers and limit front speaker volume. There’s also a total of seven USB ports spread between the three rows.

Family-friendly practical touches and convenience features abound with plentiful oddments storage options, more cup and bottle holders than any clan should ever need (14 in seven-seaters and 16 in eight seat models), a retractable cargo cover with dedicated underfloor storage, three-zone climate control with roof air vents for both rear rows, Smart hands-free power tailgate, and a full-size matching spare wheel.

The third row of seats fold away when not in use leaving a generously proportioned cargo area of 704 litres (VDA) that can be further expanded by folding the second-row flat at the touch of an electric release in the cargo area.

Gaining access to the rearmost pews is easy thanks to switches conveniently located on the outsides of the second-row cushion that release and slide the seats.

Once back there, children should find the third-row seating fairly accommodating and even adults will find it tolerable for short stints, provided the middle row is slid part-way forward.

The youngest members of the tribe are well catered for, with a total of five child-restraint points in the eight-seat model (four in seven-seat versions) with two ISOFIX points in row two and one in row three. That’s a better child anchor point tally than many rival seven or eight seaters offer.

The Palisade’s bold exterior styling reflects some of the cues from the luxury Genesis GV series SUVs, ensuring they stand out from the herd. It delivers plenty of feel-good factor inside, too, with a premium fit-out that includes soft-touch trims, plush looking suede hood lining, and in our test car, cream Nappa leather and timber-look dash and door inserts.

Out on the road the petrol V6 and Hyundai’s own shift-by-wire eight-speed auto combine to deliver robust performance, the drivetrain as smooth and refined as that interior trim just mentioned. Paddle shifters are standard should manual shifting be desired.

2002 Palisade Highlander.

The Lambda II engine is good for maximum outputs of 217kW/355Nm so it’s no surprise that the front wheels can scrabble for grip when you dig the spurs in.

The diesel by comparison develops 147kW/440Nm and delivers combined cycle consumption of 7.3L/100km, comfortably bettering the petrol’s 10.7L/100km.

Our test average for a mix of city, urban and backroads came in at 14.7L/100km, so it’s just as well the V6 is happy with regular unleaded.

The Palisade’s chassis tuning was completed at Hyundai’s Namyang R&D centre in Korea, with early collaboration from Hyundai Australia’s chassis engineering team, who then signed off on the vehicle after local testing.

That’s a departure from the more targeted localised tuning program we’ve seen with other HMCA models.

The result is a blend of compliant and comfortable ride, with pleasantly weighted steering and handling that feels both reassuringly secure and more responsive than might be expected of a 2-tonne SUV.

It’s a blend that should find wide appeal with the target market.

While there are less-expensive large SUVs and people movers with the requisite seating capacity to move a large family, the updated Palisade Highlander gets the job done with more luxury and flair than most.

Its attractive combination of space, comfort, practicality, and technology, all delivered with a dash of luxe and style make it an enticing family flagship.

Key stats

  • MLP: $71,700
  • ENGINE: 3.8-litre V6 petrol.
  • FUEL CONSUMPTION (combined cycle, litres/100km):  10.7 (251g/km CO₂)
  • FOR: Attractive styling, refined and robust performance, spacious and well-equipped interior, premium fit and finish, good ride and handling balance.
  • AGAINST: Rivals like the Kia Sorento and Carnival are less expensive, lacks a petrol AWD model, V6 is thirsty and can overwhelm front tyre grip.

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The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.