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Auto review: 2024 Hyundai Palisade is a worthy family conveyance

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

If you’re a parent, I don’t need to tell you that raising children is demanding. It’s a job that constantly surprises, stresses and — occasionally — delights. It also demands a spacious vehicle, as the hectare of baby gear, grade school friends and their piles of sports gear or, for that matter, high-schoolers with their gaggle of friends. Massive square footage is essential.

Once this was handled by station wagons with names like Kingswood Estate, and indeed, they seemed as big as one. But they got pushed aside by minivans, which became stigmatized as a Keds sled, piercing the fragile ego of put-upon parents. After all, in a society that values youth and idiocy above all else, a minivan stamped you as an intelligent, responsible adult — as if there was something wrong with that. Still, a minivan’s utilitarian nature renders it unexciting, despite their utility, space and comfort.

In contrast, SUVs provide the automotive ego ointment that boosts a parent’s self-image. Built for off-road adventures rather than trips to the Piggly Wiggly, it no longer brands you a breeder, even if the farthest off-road you ventured is running over the shrub at the end of the driveway. But despite their massive size, they aren’t as capacious as a minivan. And their off-road orientation leads to ride and handling that’s better once the sidewalk ends, rather than where it begins.

These days, what most people call an SUV is somewhere between a true SUV and a minivan. They boast the ground clearance and shape of an SUV but typically employ passenger car architecture and construction to increase ride comfort and civility. And if you had any doubt that the 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD is a family bus, it proves to be a fabulous way to safely transport your family with incredible competence.

There are certainly plenty of competitors in this space, among them, the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-90, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Grand Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas. But if there’s one that puts up a convincing fight against the Hyundai Palisade, it’s the Kia Telluride, the Palisade’s mechanically-similar corporate cousin and current cul-de-sac darling.

They share powertrains, in this case, a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter DOHC V-6 that funnels 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels or, should you choose, all four. It can tow 5,000 pounds, has up to 86.4 cubic feet of cargo space and can hold 220 pounds of stuff on its roof. Payload capacity is 1,356 pounds. Our vehicle also came with Smart Park. And given its nearly 78-inch width, the ability to autonomously roll it out of tight parking spaces before climbing in it is a true luxury.

And while the Palisades starts at what passes for affordable these days — $36,650 for the base SE FWD — we opted for the other extreme — the $52,350 Palisade Calligraphy AWD.

Why? Because it does a passably good job of imitating a luxury vehicle at a mainstream price. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you might swear it’s a Genesis.

Credit the Palisade’s 2023 design freshening, which endows it with a more aggressive front end that renders it even more butch, while swathing the far more attractive interior in an HGTV-worthy makeover. There’s quilted Nappa leather with piping, whitewashed wood trim, metal garnishes, ambient lighting, heated and cooled seats, along with rear heated seats, multi-zone automatic climate control, head-up display, dual sunroofs, heated steering wheel, Wi-Fi hotspot, digital key, 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, USB-C ports and power outlets throughout the cabin and on and on and on. It will spoil you rotten.

Meanwhile, its relaxed demeanor plays into this well. With plenty of punch on hand, it provides a tranquil manner and the security of all-wheel drive. Along with incredible amounts of space, it proves to be a perfect mobile family sanctuary. It’s one smooth customer, with precise steering, a comfortable ride and modest body roll while cornering. And it’s fairly quiet around town, with road and tire noise being a bit more noticeable at highway speed. The spell is only broken when you pop the driveline into sport mode, which tightens the steering and lends the driveline a bit more urgency. It’s not convincing.

Nevertheless, it makes for one righteous wagon, a sizable conveyance that will transport your brood in a truly upscale manner. Consider it the fortress of indulgence, a stress-free part of parental life filled with far too little of it.

2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD


Base price: $52,350

Engine: 3.8-liter DOHC V6

Horsepower/Torque: 291/262 pound-feet

EPA rating (combined): 21 mpg

Fuel required: Regular unleaded

Length/Width/Height: 196.7/77.8/68.9 inches

Ground clearance: 7.9 inches

Payload: 1,356 pounds

Cargo capacity: 18-86.4 cubic feet

Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds (with trailer brakes)

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC


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