The Palisade is the largest SUV in Hyundai’s lineup, and it is easy to see why it exists. Many people in the United States love big SUVs. Some even consider an SUV better if it could have the same practicality as a family MPV. Hence, the jack of all trades Palisade was born in 2020 alongside the American market exclusive Kia Telluride, its doppelganger.
In its first year of sales, it was a huge success. At 81,905 units sold last year, the Palisade was the 12th best-selling mid-size SUV and the 7th best-selling three-row mid-size SUV in the U.S. It is one of the poshest, well-equipped, and luxurious in its class as well.
This year, the 2021 Palisade has gone through significant changes. As a starter, Hyundai has added the Calligraphy trim as the new top-of-the-range spec, featuring more luxurious traits. Meanwhile, a Premium Package is available exclusively for the SEL trim, featuring some premium features from its upper trim. And finally, all models now come with LED headlights, HD radio, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Just like last year, there is only one engine available, and it is quite a powerful one. Under the hood lies a 3.8-liter V6 naturally-aspirated unit, producing 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Paired to it is an 8-speed automatic transmission, channeling its power to the front wheels (FWD) or all four wheels (AWD).
The 0-60 mph sprint takes just around 7 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph. Thanks to no turbo-lag, the engine will also feel more responsive.
However, the large engine and a heavy curb weight of 4,387 lbs. take a toll on the economy. The Palisade is on the thirstier side at 19/26 MPG city/highway for the FWD model and 19/24 MPG city/highway for the AWD model.
Sadly, despite being larger, the fuel capacity is the same as its little brother Santa Fe at 18.8-gallon. Still, it is enough for a range of 400 miles.
The 2021 Palisade’s exterior design creates one of those scenarios where one will absolutely love it or just plain hate it. However, the dimensions don’t lie as it is unmistakably a large SUV, measuring 196.1 inches in length, 77.8 inches in width, and 68.9 inches in height.
For us, the design adoption is bold, dashing, and posh all at once. We may even prefer it to its Korean sibling Kia Telluride. Notably, a large grille with a sophisticated pattern greets you on the front. Also, the vertical LED Daytime Running Lights and LED headlights add an even more assertive presence.
The sides are boxy but very proportionate with the vehicle’s height, especially with the available 20-inch alloys on the upper trims. The rear-end still looks dashing and has a fraction of sporty element to it, thanks to the large roof spoiler, silver lips on the rear bumper, and unique-looking dual exhaust tips.
Overall, Hyundai has made the large 2021 Palisade appear dignified on the road, with its bold and classy presence.
The interior design is as posh as the outside. The dashboard element is nicely laid out and easy to find thanks to physical buttons for most operations, including the gear selector. The seats are also made out of nice and expensive feeling material. It does feel like it’s entering Genesis’ interior quality territory.
There is plenty of space inside the 2021 Palisade. It comes with an 8-seating configuration on the lower trims and a 7-seating with the second row’s captain chairs on the upper trims. With 160 cubic feet of passenger space, there is no lack of space at all as passengers from kids to adults would have plenty of headroom and knee room wherever they sit in.
The cargo space is adequate as well. With all seats upright, there are 18 cubic feet of cargo volume. Folding down the third-row seats will get you 45 cubic feet while expanding the flat floor further to the second-row seats will create a massive 86 cubic feet of cargo volume. Nonetheless, you would find an even larger volume on the Chevrolet Traverse.
The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is offered in four trims: SE, SEL, Limited, and the new top-of-the-range Calligraphy. All models are available as standard in FWD, with AWD configurable at an extra $1,700.
2021 Hyundai Palisade SE
Starting price: FWD – $32,675, AWD – $34,375
Like every other Hyundai SUV, the SE is the entry-level trim but is always surprisingly packed with many standard features.
As standard, you are greeted with a silver-finished front grille, single-tone 18-inch alloy wheels, LED automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, and acoustic glass for the windshield.
Inside, you get cloth seating surfaces in black or gray color, manually-adjustable front seats, and power-folding second-row seats. The steering wheel has haptic feedback, and it has a manually adjustable column. Also, there is an independent air conditioning fan speed and temperature setting at each row.
Furthermore, the infotainment touchscreen measures 8.0-inches and supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Rear Seat Quiet Mode is also there to silence the speakers on the second and third rows.
Safety and Driver Assistant Features
Hyundai is famous for providing a healthy list of safety bits and driver assistant features even from the lowest trim. As standard, the Palisade gets 9 airbags, electronic stability control with traction control, and anti-lock brakes.
The SUV also comes with a few high-end safety traits as standard. These include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist that gives you visual and audible warning of an impending collision and applies the brakes when needed and Lane Keeping Assist that will automatically steer the vehicle to stay in its lane if it begins to drift over the lane marker.
Moreover, there is adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, hill start assist, and rear parking sensors.
2021 Hyundai Palisade SEL
Starting price: FWD – $35,325, AWD – $37,025
The SEL is a step up from the SE with additional exterior, interior, and safety features. It also adds the privilege of some extra packages.
With features carried from the SE, the SEL adds new two-tone 18-inch alloys, conventional sunroof, and roof rails to the mix. The side mirrors now feature a turn-signal indicator, and there are welcoming lights on the door handle.
Inside, SE upgrades include heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, and the ability to opt for second row’s captain chairs at no extra cost.
It also features dual-zone automatic climate control, pushes start/stop engine button, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror as standard.
Safety and Driver Assistant Features
The added safety features include Blind-Spot Collision Warning that alerts you if a vehicle is in your blind spot, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning that warns you when there is a crossing vehicle as you are about to do a reversing maneuver, and a Safe Exit Assist that prevents the rear passenger from opening the door during upcoming traffic approaching from behind.
2021 Hyundai Palisade Limited
Starting price: FWD – $45,275, AWD – $46,975
Adding almost an extra $10,000 from the previous trim, the Limited is where the luxurious traits start to show.
It has the SEL’s features with some added posh attributes, such as stylish 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-panel sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and LED taillights.
It also features acoustic-laminated front side glass for better cabin soundproofing and a hands-free power liftgate that opens up after standing for a few seconds behind the vehicle while carrying the key fob.
The cabin is more luxurious than the previous trim, starring premium Nappa leather seats in black or beige color. Furthermore, the front seats are power-adjustable and ventilated, with leg cushion extension and memory function for the driver’s seat. The rear seats also get heating and ventilation, while the third-row has a power-folding function. The second row’s captain chairs are also fixed, with no recourse to opt for regular seats.
The Palisade Limited even receives a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, colorful head-up display, a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster instead of analog dials. There is also an upgrade in the infotainment system, featuring a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, connected to a 12-speaker Harman Kardon® premium sound system.
Moreover, a Driver Talk in-car intercom feature lets the driver speak through the microphone to the passengers in the back via the rear speakers. The Limited also includes a wireless charging pad, rear side-window sunshades, 115-volt power outlet, and 64-colors ambient interior lighting.
Ultimately, the Palisade Limited comes with Hyundai’s Blue Link connected services, featuring smart features such as remote start with climate control, remote door lock and unlock, on-demand vehicle diagnostics and alerts, destination search, and remote car finder.
Safety and Driver Assistant Features
In the driver assistant department, there is the addition of front parking sensors, Blind-Spot View Monitor that displays life camera feed of the blind spot into the digital instrument cluster in the event of changing lanes, and Surround-View Camera system that displays a top-down view of the vehicle and its surrounding in the infotainment display to ease parking process in tight spaces.
2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy
Starting price: FWD – $46,200, AWD – $47,900
The Calligraphy is the top-of-the-range model with modest refinement from the Limited, without additional safety features.
There is a new signature Calligraphy front grille design, a new 20-inch wheel design, and a new body kit with chrome accents.
Inside, the additions are quilted leather on the door panels, microfiber headliner, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and premium cargo sill plate.
A few packages and some single add-ons are available to opt for the 2021 Palisade.
Available exclusively on the SEL, the Convenience Package adds some benefits from the Limited trim, such as front parking sensors, two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels, self-leveling rear suspension, LED taillights, and a hands-free power liftgate.
Inside, there is the addition of rear side-window sunshades, a wireless charging pad, and a 115-volt power outlet. In our opinion, this package is worthy of its price.
Available exclusively on the SEL, the Premium Package is worthy of getting as well, as it also lets some luxurious interior features from the Limited trim appear, such as leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with memory setting for the driver’s seat, heated rear seats and steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Hyundai’s Blue Link connected services, and Driver Talk in-car intercom feature.
Single Optional Extras
|Auto-dimming rearview mirror (only for SE trim)||$295|
|Rear bumper applique protector||$75|
|Carpeted floor mats||$215|
|First aid kit||$30|
The 2021 Hyundai Palisade has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs., pretty common in its class. For trailering activities, a heavy-duty transmission oil cooler and trailer sway control (to control the vehicle’s brakes, preserving trailer movement as it begins to sway) is equipped as standard across all trims. However, the 4-pin pre-wiring tow hitch is an optional extra costing $475.
Hyundai is among the very best in providing warranty compared to other manufacturers in the U.S. The warranty included on top of your 2021 Palisade purchase covers:
- Limited warranty of up to 5 years/60,000 miles
- Drivetrain warranty of up to 10 years/100,000 miles (for the first owner)
- Rust warranty of up to 7 years with unlimited mileage
- Roadside assistance program of up to 5 years with unlimited mileage
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance of up to 3 years/36,000 miles
Overall, the 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a practical premium family SUV with great value for the money. It is packed with a punchy engine, adequate luxurious features, and an almost class-leading interior space.
We would recommend getting the SEL trim together with the extra Convenience and Premium packages for maximum value. The long powertrain warranty also gives you more peace of mind about long-term maintenance if you decided to go for the AWD model.
If you are seeking a sharper and more exciting driving experience, consider peeking on the Mazda CX-9. On the other hand, if you like everything about the Palisade but don’t fancy the look, the Kia Telluride is still the same vehicle underneath, with a different skin.
2021 Hyundai Palisade SE
|Body Style(s)||Sport Utility Vehicle|
|Displacement (L/cu. in.)||3.8 L/231|
|Horsepower @ RPM||291 @ 6000|
|Torque @ RPM||262 @ 5200|
|Fuel Injection||Direct Injection|
Fuel Economy – City19 MPGFuel Economy – Hwy32 MPG24 MPG26 MPG24 MPG26 MPG24 MPG26 MPG24 MPGFuel Economy – Combined27 MPG21 MPG22 MPG21 MPG22 MPG21 MPG22 MPG21 MPG
|Passenger volume (cu.ft.)||155.3|
|Cargo volume (cu.ft.)||45.8|
|Curb weight (lbs)||4127||4284||4127||4284||4231||4387||4231||4387|
Wheels & Tires
|Wheel size||18 X 7.5||20 X 7.5|