Hyundai’s most imposing SUV, the seven- or eight-seater Palisade, has become due for a minor facelift and specification upgrade to further cement its positioning as the Korean brand’s premium sports utility. 

In 2021, Hyundai introduced the Palisade, which, at R1 million, was its most expensive vehicle at the time. By all accounts, the market accepted the pricey premium people mover by purchasing 256 units since then, paving the way for introducing the car’s mid-life update in the South African market. 


The facelifted Palisade features minor cosmetic changes, giving it a lower stance and a more hunkered-down look. The front grille has changed from chrome to black, and the teardrop LED running light clusters are now on the bumper’s outsides, with the “ice block” lamps inside them. The attractive 20” alloy wheels, revised side profile, and integrated lower taillamps on the width of the rear bumper distinguish the facelifted Palisade. Additionally, it is 15 mm longer than its predecessor.


The facelifted Palisade features a larger (12”) and updated touchscreen infotainment system, a speaker system enabling communication with rear passengers, and quiet mode for the rear speakers. Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity is no longer available wirelessly, although the Palisade’s wireless phone charger has been upgraded to a 15W unit. Safety features include forward-collision avoidance, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and safe exiting, which alerts drivers if they attempt to open doors while traffic is approaching.

The Palisade’s seat layout options remain the same as before, with the Captain’s seating option (on the seven-seater car) providing a truly upmarket interior layout configuration with its individual second-row seats and easy access to the third row. To enhance practicality and adaptability, all seats can be folded flat individually.

Hyundai’s reputation for excellent build quality continues in the facelifted Palisade, and this is most evident in the interior, where fit-and-finish is of the highest standards. With the larger infotainment screen, the overall interior feel is significantly upgraded, while cabin ergonomics and improved noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels have also received attention.


The Palisade retains the same 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine as its predecessor, which delivers 142 kW and 440 Nm of torque. Hyundai uses the same engine and gearbox setup in the Palisade as in the Staria bus, and our assessment of it in this application remains the same as in the original Palisade: it’s adequate but not extraordinary. Customers buying the Palisade for everyday driving will be satisfied with its performance, although towing and overtaking at full load will require some forward planning on the open road. While fully aware of the effects such a move would have on import pricing, adding the mighty 3.8-litre petrol V6 available in other markets would elevate the Palisade to its true status as a premium cruiser.

Despite its leisurely power application, the Palisade’s driving experience is impressive. It has a comfortable ride, particularly for a vehicle with 20” wheels and a quiet interior. The sound insulation from outside elements is excellent. The Palisade is notably silent inside, and its suspension readily soaks up the many surface imperfections we encountered on our 200 km-long launch drive in Gauteng and the North West Province.


Overall, the facelifted Hyundai Palisade offers enhancements that significantly upgrade an already impressive SUV. Only about R35,000 dearer than its predecessor, but with added luxury and safety spec, the Palisade has its sights set firmly on the likes of the new Ford Everest, and with its spacious interior, practical cabin layout, and excellent safety features, it is a worthy competitor in the premium SUV market.


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