Hyundai Palisade 3.5 V6 2021 First Drive Review : Go Big or Go Home
Singapore - With a car like the palatial eight-seat Hyundai Palisade SUV, the needs of the driver become secondary to the needs of the better half and, where applicable, the accompanying brood and its supporting crew and equipment!
Why? Well, there are Hyundais and then there is the mega-Hyundai Palisade, which channels the spirit of American supersized SUVs and is currently the largest of its kind in the brand’s range.
The White Cream body-colour barely disguises its proportions, so between this and the royally blinged-out grille, the Palisade exudes an imposing road presence to rival full-sized Range Rovers and the like.
In fact, it isn’t uncommon to have the other traffic clear a path for the Palisade as it makes its way through the congested Singapore roads.
It isn’t just about the large 4980 x 1975 x 1750 (L x B x H mm) dimensions and 2900mm wheelbase either, because it’s more about the plush, pliant and commodious comfort offered to the car’s occupants. Furthermore, the test-car’s tasteful light grey interior and multiple glass-roofs contribute to the impression of an airy and expansive ambience.
From the quality of materials to the fit and finish, the cabin proceedings are refined rather than opulent, with a satisfying reassurance to the touch-points and switchgear that allows the Palisade to proudly stand toe-to-toe against its European contemporaries.
We like that the common areas of heavy contact and friction in the Palisade seemed rugged and hard-wearing to resist premature ageing. The cars that aren't properly designed for utility but are used as such tend to look tired before their time.
If anything, the Palisade’s waft-worthy V6, prodigious proportions (by Singapore standards that is), softly-sprung ride and intuitive ergonomics bring to mind the trappings of the archetypal American giant SUV, save the daunting size of the actual Yank heavy metal offerings it draws inspiration from.
In particular, the soft, supple leather seats are plumply padded to offer languorous armchair comfort for all onboard, while the oversized and eminently legible physical buttons and knobs help with easy and intuitive operation.
Despite the ease-of-use, the Palisade isn’t low-tech, because it boasts a raft of intelligent Hyundai SmartSense active safety features… some of which you never knew you needed until you used it in the Palisade, and then wondered how you managed without them before.
We’re big fans of how seamlessly the digital and analogue elements work together in the cabin.
The physical switchgear shares cabin space with a lush 10.25-inch touchscreen and 7-inch TFT instrument cluster – a nice change from the brands that ‘go digital’ with everything, including essential controls that are better served by physical switchgear.
Most importantly, the buttery-smooth nat-asp 3.5-litre V6 at the heart of the Palisade mated to a slick-shifting 8spd auto helps cement its status as a comfortable cruiser for all on-board, even if the kids are raising a ruckus in the rear.
Despite its plush accoutrements, the Palisade proves every bit as versatile as your garden variety MPV. More importantly, all the occupants of the Palisade’s three-rows can avail themselves of the mod-con amenities.
Multi-zone direct/diffused climate control, seven USB ports, one-touch operation to fold the second row-seats for easy third-row ingress/egress, as well as multiple seat configurations mean the seats can be flipped/folded/toggled to carry everything and the kitchen sink!
On the move, the Palisade makes a strong statement, but driving/owning one makes an even stronger one, because at over S$200k, the Palisade isn’t in regular Hyundai price territory.
Needless to say, it takes an even stronger personality to be able to look beyond the badge on its grille and to appreciate the plush refinement and commodious cabin of the Palisade for the value it represents during school/grocery/soccer runs.
After all, the same amount of money will get you a smaller contender from one of the Teutonic Triumvirate, although we can’t say those will necessarily offer the same level of refinement as the Palisade.
Ultimately, we won’t even be surprised to discover that a good number of the Palisades sold here end up sharing garage space with more exotic machines, because these are the buyers who are never afraid to go big.
PHOTOS David Khoo / Hyundai
HYUNDAI PALISADE 3.5 V6
Engine 3470cc, V6
Gearbox 8spd auto
Top Speed 210km/h
Fuel Consumption est. 10l/100km
CO2 est. 230g/km