2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD

The Hyundai Palisade became an instant hit when it was introduced for the 2020 model year and was lauded, along with its cousin the Kia Telluride, as being an excellent three-row crossover. Now for 2021, Hyundai offers a new top trim, Calligraphy, which has a lot of luxury features at a non-luxury price.

Base Price: $47,750
As Tested: $49,500
Horsepower: 291
Mileage: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined

The 2021 Palisade comes in four trims: SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy. Starting prices range from $32,675 to $47,900. Even the base SE trim comes well equipped with lots of standard features. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available on the three lower trims and standard on the Calligraphy trim.

The Palisade has three rows of seating with room for seven or eight passengers depending on whether you get a bench seat or captain’s chairs in the second row.

All trims get the same engine: a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. There’s plenty of power for everyday driving situations. There’s enough zip to quickly accelerate the Palisade from a stop, and there’s enough oomph for merging and passing at freeway speeds. The transmission shifts promptly and smoothly. Steering is responsive and the Palisade has little body lean when cornering. The ride is smooth and comfortable even over bumps and on rough roads. Visibility is good all the way around. All in all, this large crossover is a very easy rig to handle with pleasant driving dynamics.

When properly equipped, the Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Fuel efficiency is average for a midsize crossover. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.

The cabin is upscale and quiet and rivals what you’d find in many luxury vehicles. The design is simple and elegant, soft-touch materials abound, and everything looks and feels good. Passengers in the first two rows enjoy comfortable and supportive seats with ample leg- and headroom. The third row has plenty of room for kids and even a couple average-size adults will be comfortable there on short trips.

Standard features include remote keyless entry, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, eight-inch touch screen, HD Radio, Bluetooth, five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto,  and LED headlights with automatic high beams,

Available features include proximity keyless entry, remote start, push-button start, surround-view camera, head-up display, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, premium Nappa leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, integrated memory system for driver’s seat, 10.2-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, a 630-watt, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, two additional USB ports, wireless device charging, intercom, rear sunshades, power-folding third row, ambient interior lighting, sunroof, and panoramic sunroof.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, rear-seat alert and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Available driver assistance technologies include front parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

The infotainment system is user-friendly and easy to see and reach. An eight-inch touchscreen is standard and a 10.2-inch touchscreen is available. Either way, graphics looks good and the system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. Physical buttons make it easy to adjust audio and climate.

The Palisade has a bit more cargo space than many rivals. There are 18 cubic feet behind the third row, 45.8 cubes with the third row folded and 86.4 cubes with the second and third rows folded. The 60/40 split fold-flat seats provide flexibility for hauling passengers and cargo. A hands-free power liftgate is available.

The good:

Pleasant driving dynamics

Smooth, comfortable ride

Luxurious, spacious interior

Lots of standard and available features and tech

User-friendly infotainment system

Good value for the price

The not-so-good:

Fuel economy is only average for the class

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $47,750. The Hyper White paint is $350. Carpeted floor mats are $215. Destination fee is $1,185 bringing the grand total to $49,500.

Bottom line:

Anyone shopping for a three-row crossover should check out the 2021 Hyundai Palisade. It’s the whole package with good driving dynamics, an upscale and roomy interior, user-friendly infotainment system, and lots of standard and available features and tech.

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