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A dark grey 2020 Hyundai Palisade is towing a boat around a corner.

The All-New 2020 Hyundai Palisade: Knocking on Luxury’s Door

Among the most trending of current auto news comes the story of the all-new, three-row SUV, the Hyundai Palisade. Picked to be the replacement of the late (retired, not dead) Hyundai Santa Fe XL, the Palisade may well fit that role, but it’s not that simple. If anything, it’s quite an upgrade. Whereas the Santa Fe XL seemed to be stretching for that 7-seater capacity, the Palisade looks to be made for it.

Arriving in three different trim levels, this midsize SUV isn’t necessarily shaking up the crossover world, but it’s definitely keeping Hyundai competitive. As more and more customers place importance on the “do it all” factor that comes with sport utility vehicles, companies like Hyundai have had to react and adapt. Hence, the arrival of the Hyundai Palisade, a vehicle which, with all the bells and whistles attached, looks more like a luxury vehicle than a Hyundai.

Bigger is Better

One of the biggest issues with cramming seven, or even eight, seats into an SUV is making sure there’s still enough room for a comfortable and enjoyable ride. Sure, the fact that it’s an SUV and not a minivan is a definite win in itself for many people, but that doesn’t mean the whole family will enjoy cramming into a tight space just to look a little “cooler.” Compared to the 2019 Santa Fe XL, the 2020 Palisade has more space just about everywhere. That includes the headroom, legroom, shoulder room, and hip room.

Basically, there’s more space to spread out and relax.

  • A quick look shows that the 2019 Santa Fe XL has these dimensions:
  • Vehicle length (in.) of 193.1
  • Vehicle width (in.) without mirrors of 74.2
  • Total interior volume (cu.ft.) of 160.1
  • Passenger volume (cu.ft.) of 146.6

The 2020 Palisade has these dimensions:

  • Vehicle length (in.) of 196.1
  • Vehicle width (in.) without mirrors of 77.8
  • Total interior volume (cu.ft.) of 173.3
  • Passenger volume (cu.ft.) of 155.3

Clearly, increasing the actual size of the vehicle has made for a roomier and far more welcoming interior space. A new Palisade can come as either a 7-passenger or 8-passenger SUV, depending on the trim level.

A woman is sitting with her dog in the interior of a 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

The Trims

An offering of three different trim levels isn’t really a full-size option buffet compared to some vehicles (looking at you and your seven trims, 2019 Tucson), but it’s still one choice more than the 2019 Santa Fe XL. Besides, three options work just fine for classifying most things (i.e. good, better, and best), and that seems to be the case here, too.

All three trims come with a 6-cylinder 3.8L engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. The EPA mileage estimate for each trim level is 19/26/22 (city/highway/combined) with Front Wheel Drive and 19/24/21 (city/highway/combined) with All Wheel Drive. All Wheel Drive is available at each trim level. Also, the total fuel capacity is 18.8 gallons.


Your basic trim, the SE, has a starting MSRP of $31,550 for the Front Wheel Drive option. All Wheel Drive starts at $33,250.

This trim is your bare-bones model. There are no choices when it comes to packages or options (other than All Wheel Drive). What you see is what you get. However, what you get is still a decent amount.

Some of the best standard features of the SE are the safety features, which include a Parking Distance Warning – Reverse, Rear Occupant Alert (ROA), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Driver Attention Warning (DAW).

Needless to say, for over $30,000, you can expect a good base model. Many of these safety features are becoming standard in many makes and models, but it still doesn’t seem like everyone is keeping up. Luckily, Hyundai is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and believes basic safety features shouldn’t have a premium attached to them. After all, these are people’s lives.


The intermediate level SEL has a starting MSRP of $33,500 for Front Wheel Drive and $35,200 for All Wheel Drive.

The price isn’t actually that far off from the SE, but it can quickly rise if you opt for any of the two available packages and/or other available options. Probably the biggest difference between the SEL and SE is this level comes standard as a 7-passenger. For many people, there’s no need to go all the way to 8-passenger, plus having a bench seat instead of captain’s chairs makes it more difficult to get to and from that third row.

Along with the 7-passenger seating, other standard features (different from the SE) include these safety features:
Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA) – Brakes will be applied automatically if your turning signal is on and radar has detected a vehicle in your blind spot (next to you).

Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) – Similar to BCA, but when you’re going reverse and there is cross-traffic behind you.

Safe Exit Assist (SEA) – Radar detects vehicles approaching from behind and will not permit passengers from exiting until it is safe to do so.

You also have the option to add these:

  • Convenience Package (+$2,200)
  • Premium Package (+$2,400)
  • Drive Guidance (+$1,250)
  • Power Sunroof (+$900)

The Convenience Package has highlighted features of 20-inch alloy wheels, hands-free smart liftgate with auto open, 3rd-row USB outlets, and 115V AC power outlet.

The Premium Package has highlighted features of leather seating surfaces, heated 2nd-row seat, heating steering wheel, and 3rd-row seating: power-folding/unfolding/reclining. Overall, the SEL gives a lot more options than the SE.


A dark grey 2020 Hyundai Palisade, popular in current auto news, is parked on a city street at night.

The top-level Limited has a starting MSRP of $44,700 for Front Wheel Drive and $46,400 for All Wheel Drive. That is an incredible increase of over $13,000 from the SE with Front Wheel Drive to the Limited with Front Wheel Drive. But, of course, there are many reasons for this dramatic jump in price.

The Limited comes standard with just about everything that’s available on all three trim levels, except for All Wheel Drive. Also, you can only have a 7-passenger versus an 8-passenger (which is usually the preferred option).

The Convenience Package is standard. The Premium Package is standard. All of the included add-ons with Drive Guidance and Power Sunroof are standard. You also have additional standard items that aren’t even options on the SEL. They include rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual panel sunroof, premium audio (Harmon Kardon audio with 12 speakers), and a Blind View Monitor (BVM). If that wasn’t enough, you could also change the ambient lighting inside with 64 different color options.

Find the Perfect Fit

With three trim levels and multiple options and packages available, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a customization on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade that suits you. If you want a comfortable seven or 8-passenger vehicle at an affordable price, then the SE looks like a great choice. If you’re looking for something that can compete with more luxurious brands, then the Limited would be the best option. It has enough space to function perfectly as a family commuter and enough versatility to go adventuring on the weekend. Also, there are plenty of pieces of technology and gadgets (not too mention safety features) to keep even the most tech-savvy person appeased.