Hyundai Canada entrusted Auto123 with a 2023 Palisade Ultimate Calligraphy so that we could inspect it from every angle and report back to you. This is the sixth chapter our long-term review.
This time, we examine the configuration and use of the 2023 Palisade’s interior for seven or eight occupants.
So far, several qualities (and a few shortcomings) of the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Ultimate Calligraphy 2023 have emerged from our log-term review. The strengths are considerable and certainly provide good reasons to consider this vehicle if you're shopping for a mid-size SUV. Here are a few of them:
How big is the Palisade?
Big enough to command respect and induce that sense of security many buyers seek when moving away from smaller vehicles, but not so big as to be a headache when it comes to parking in tight spots.
Does the Palisade look good?
Not quite spectacular, its looks fall more into the category of “harmonious”. Its full silhouette plays with gentle angles. Details of the bodywork are proof of the care taken. But the trophy for innovation goes to the new grille, which combines elegance, strength and modernity.
How powerful is the Palisade?
Its 291-hp V6 is always there when you need it, and it's not that thirsty. It makes do with regular gasoline and can often pleasantly surprise you with fuel consumption under 10.0L/100 km (in Eco mode). As a bonus, its intelligent all-wheel drive system will reassure everyone on board. The vehicle is equipped to take on the chilliest and snowiest of conditions.
Is the Palisade a pleasure to drive?
You don’t want to buy this SUV for the pleasure it gives you behind the wheel. The Palisade's ride is thoughtful, efficient, but bland. You can feel the muscular steering in perfect control of all the weight it has to move, but it doesn't do so with a knife between its teeth. It gets the job done without delivering any adrenaline rush. The suspension, meanwhile, is just firm enough and well-balanced; this is no limp, spineless vehicle.
The Palisade takes charge as soon as you press the "Power" button, but discretely, like a stylish butler.
What's the Palisade's greatest quality?
Its usefulness to families. To wit, it can carry up to eight adults. This quality of the most spacious Hyundai vehicle on the market today is at least as important as its power, looks and handling, if not more so.
That said, it's all well and good to offer so many seats, but they still have to be comfortable and easily accessible. And the Palisade gets flying marks in each of these categories. You can enter the middle seats with your eyes closed. The door openings are generous, and the roof sits high enough that you don't have to bother with a helmet just in case...
But the real test comes when some brave soul decides to go sit all the way in the back. Often, that might be fun for kids but a whole less so for adults. Who wants to ride with their knees knocking at their teeth?
Well in the Palisade, you don’t!
The model’s designers worked to make the back seat a pleasant place to sit. First of all, when you're standing outside the vehicle, all you have to do is press the pretty button set into the top of the centre backrest closest to you. Immediately, the chair slides on its rails and the backrest folds. Voilà, the passageway is open. Almost as easy as saying Open Sesame!
The floor at the rear is slightly raised, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the ceiling when sliding into the opening. You can also rest one hand on the seat. These are prudent precautions to take, but the sheer amount of space makes them almost unnecessary.
Once I'd settled in, cap on head, it didn't touch the ceiling. Lower down, my rear was grateful for the tender padding (the Ultimate Calligraphy's soft Nappa leather adds to the feeling of well-being) and the backrest in front of me didn't even touch my knees. In short, space and comfort to spare. For a third row, it's simply rare, and it’s worth its weight in gold.
To get out of the cocoon, there are two options: press that button we mentioned to have the middle seat move out of the way, or grab the red strap hanging near the floor. Same result.
A final note: if you choose to transport babies instead of fully bloomed humans, the Ultimate Calligraphy version spoils you with switches positioned on the sides of the back cargo area.
For the second row, these switches fold down the backrests in the blink of an eye. For the third row, it's even more sophisticated, as the buttons lower or raise the backrests in an automated ballet that will have you whispering "Isn’t progress beautiful?” to yourself.
Once all the backrests are horizontal, you're left with a flat floor and a cavernous load volume. In short, whether you’re People, Plant or Thing, the Hyundai Palisade is bent on treating you with the utmost care.