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What’s That Smell? New Hyundai Palisade Suffering From B.O., According to Reports

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Is there a more pleasant smell on this earth than a new vehicle? Well yes, but we can agree that it’s pleasant enough - especially when you've just bought a model you've been wanting for a long time with your hard-earned money.

Some owners of new Hyundai Palisades have been raising a stink, however, because rather than enjoying a beautifully scented new SUV, they’re finding that within weeks of purchase they’re assailed with an unpleasant smell in the interior.

Online comments have circulated regarding the problem on a forum dedicated to the Korean manufacturer's latest SUV. There, people sharing their experiences with Palisade have been decrying the malodorous cabin experience.

And there's nothing flattering about the terms used to describe the smell. These range from bad breath, garlic and garbage to dirty socks – the latter, courtesy a Hyundai technician.

The source of the stink has not been definitively identified, but some common denominators have been:  the smelly models are for the most part Limited variants with light-coloured Nappa leather seats. Some Internet users are pointing the finger at the headrests, while others believe the entire seat is to blame.

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2020 Hyundai Palisade, interior
Photo: Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Palisade, interior

For now, no miracle solution is emerging, even if the problem seems to have been noted by dealers.

The Cars.com site was the first to call attention to the situation, after it got its hands on a 2020 Palisade last December for a long-term test. The site recently reported that the interior was starting to smell bad. They described the smell as "garlic or rotten products" and said the dealer they turned to for a solution had an idea to fix the problem: replace the headrests. This theory has yet to be tested, as the headrests are currently out of stock.

On the above-mentioned forum, one owner mentioned that he had isolated the head restraints overnight, and according to him, the odour is not coming from them. Rather, it is said to come from the holes where the headrest rods are placed in the seat. The problem, he believes, is inside the seats.

Some owners have been struggling with this smell issue for a year now, and we can only imagine how unpleasant it can become. The smell usually appears within a few weeks of purchasing the SUV, according to complaints that can be found on the Palisade forum.

A Hyundai spokesperson told Car and Driver website that "Hyundai Motor America is aware of this concern and is currently investigating the situation," suggesting that there is currently no solution.

We will be monitoring the situation closely. Or from a distance.

2020 Hyundai Palisade, leather seats
Photo: Hyundai
2020 Hyundai Palisade, leather seats