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A green 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline is shown from the front at an angle while driving off-road.

2022 SUV Knock Out: Explorer vs Palisade

This has been a year of advancement and change for many vehicle manufacturers. While some of us have been trying to take it easy, automotive makers have been hard at work adjusting their vehicles to be exactly what their customers need. In the world of three-row SUVs, we have a couple of heavyweight champions competing against each other to see who is really the best. As we watch this 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Hyundai Palisade prize fight, who will be victorious, and who will get knocked out?

Start Your Engines

Starting the round off with its engines blazing is the 2022 Ford Explorer. It has a three-motor team with some of Ford’s best engineering behind them. In one corner is the standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo I-4 engine packing a punch with 300 hp. Standing in their next corner is Ford’s hardest-hitting engine, the 3.0-liter EcoBoost Turbo V6, with 400 hp! The last team member is for all the environmentally-conscious supporters of the team, the 3.3-liter V6 Hybrid! The Hybrid rounds out the team with 318 hp. With all three of these engines in Ford’s corner, Hyundai is really going to need to bring an all-star unit to the ring in order to win.

However, the Hyundai Palisade team must not have gotten the memo because it sent its fighter in solo. The standard 3.8-liter V6 is the only engine that made it to the mat, and unfortunately for Hyundai, 291 hp isn’t enough to overpower even Ford’s smallest engine. The Palisade gave its best, but this round goes to Ford.

A grey 2022 Hyundai Palisade is shown from the front at an angle while towing a boat during a 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Hyundai Palisade comparison.

Fuel to the Fire

This next round is all about fuel efficiency, so Ford sends in the 2022 Explorer with the 3.3-liter V6 hybrid engine. This engine, paired with Ford’s standard 10-speed automatic transmission, sees the Ford team pulling 27 MPG combined. With this incredible fuel efficiency, the hybrid Ford engine has no problem keeping itself topped off and ready to go, even on the most strenuous of fight days.

Hyundai only has its one engine to send into the ring again, so here comes the 2022 Palisade. The Palisade is only able to get 22 MPG combined. Maybe this is because Hyundai only gave the Palisade an eight-speed transmission or because it used an older high-displacement engine instead of a modern turbocharged motor. Regardless of why the Palisade is less efficient, it is way less efficient. The Palisade is tired and running out of fuel long before its Ford competitor wears down.

Space for Days

All three of our Ford fighters easily fit into the 2022 Explorer, and they don’t have to worry about being cramped. With 18.2 cu.ft. of trunk space, the Explorer can carry a good number of suitcases without folding down any seats. If Ford had decided to bring only one team member and a lot more gear, the 2022 model could accommodate up to 87.8 cu.ft. of cargo behind the front row of seats. That’s basically enough space to put all of the Ford fighter’s training equipment! Just like in the previous rounds, the Ford is packing some serious heat!

It’s just about all the Hyundai can do to even get close to the Ford’s cargo capacity. The good news for Hyundai is that while its standard 18 cu.ft. of storage wouldn’t be enough for a whole team, it just brought the one fighter along. With just that single team member, the Palisade is freed up to accommodate up to 86.4 cu.ft. with the rear seats folded. This is just about the same as the Ford Explorer is packing, but it is still not quite there. Yet again, the Hyundai falls short. Literally.

Are You Not Entertained?

Hyundai had a brief pep talk and is back in the ring. It has brought the very best infotainment to the board and is sure it will take this round. The Hyundai’s standard eight-inch infotainment system comes stock with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This system is easily upgraded to an optional screen that measures 10.25 inches. The Palisade’s system is both incredibly responsive and doesn’t cost a lot to upgrade. It’s looking like this may just be one round where the Ford can’t keep up!

Surprise! The 2022 Explorer is able to block the Palisade’s first punch because it also has a standard eight-inch infotainment screen. This is a solid block, especially when you consider that the Explorer’s infotainment system is also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the Ford team invested its funds into creating a strong and powerful team, not necessarily a technological one. This means that the available upgrade to the 10.1-inch infotainment screen is a bit costly, and it’s not quite as responsive and user-friendly as the Hyundai’s. It’s a tough fight, but Hyundai finally wins a round!

A white 2022 Ford Explorer King Ranch is shown from the front while off-road.

Just a Trim…

The Hyundai Palisade is feeling confident for this last and final round after winning the previous one. It brought all the best gear to the table with four different trim levels, each of which offers drivers different safety and convenience features. The standard trim comes with a cloth interior and manual seats, while the highest trim level, labeled the Calligraphy, boasts all sorts of different upgrades. These include heated and ventilated seats, a unique grille, and turn-by-turn navigation. Each of these trims has a little something different to offer drivers, and Hyundai really feels like it can pull off the win this time.

Ford is coming in fast and, like its engines, with a lot of options. With eight different trims available at different price points, the Explorer really is bringing its best game to the mat. The base level trim for the 2022 Explorer is pretty standard and comparable with the Palisade. It has remote entry, comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, and offers all the standard features you would expect. The Ford’s King Ranch trim is the most recognized and comes with all sorts of goodies. With heated and ventilated seats, specialty exterior features, and some of the best audio equipment available on the market, the Explorer King Ranch is fit for, well, a king!

Ford even has two performance trims for those who want a jolt of adrenaline with their three-row SUV, and Hyundai has nothing to compare to off-road-ready Timberline or the thrilling ST. There is even a sporty new ST-Line trim for 2022! The Hyundai was packing some heat and confidence this round but was quickly deflated after Ford landed its blows. Eight trims are hard to beat, especially when it’s Ford you’re competing against, and the trims cover a wide price range. Like most of the previous rounds, this exchange goes to the Explorer.

Hyundai Just Can’t Hold Its Own

Unfortunately, the Hyundai Palisade really couldn’t hold its own against the Ford Explorer, and the Korean SUV got knocked out. We’ll be completely honest over here, we were sort of hoping Hyundai would take the medal just so we could make a fun pun on “HYAH!” with the name Hyundai in it, but for three-row SUVs, the Hyundai got Hi-Yahed right out of the ring. Turns out Ford does what it does best, and that’s to make a really great vehicle that most of the competition can’t stand a chance against. When it comes to the 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Hyundai Palisade, the Explorer wins the fight.