2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander 2.2D review (video)

If you’ve been looking at your options in the world of seven- or eight-seat SUVs for a while now, you might have noticed a recent addition to the roster, the Hyundai Palisade.

Designed as Hyundai’s flagship SUV family-mover, the Palisade is here to serve buyers that might want to stick with the SUV body shape over Hyundai’s futuristic Staria van, and in typical Hyundai fashion, it represents an impressive value for money proposition on paper.

While Hyundai might have the North American market in mind with the Palisade’s large layout and bold styling, the SUV has enjoyed a warm reception with Australian buyers since it first launched here in 2020.

Our review car, the Palisade Highlander, sits atop the lineup as the flagship, which raises the question of whether or not this is the ultimate form of the Palisade, or if your money is better spent on the entry-level or mid-spec variant. Let’s take a look.

2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander 2.2D – THE SPECS

Engine: 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Output: 147kW@1000rpm / 440Nm@1750-2750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F: 20×7.5, 245/50
ANCAP: Not tested
Tare weight: 1942kg
Power-to-weight: 13.21:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 7.3L/100km
Economy during test: 8.4L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 71L/Diesel

Power efficiency: 20.13kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.14 seconds*
0-100km/h: 9.40 seconds*
60-110km/h: 7.18 seconds*
1/4 mile: 16.89 seconds at 132.0km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.727g
100-0km/h braking: 3.19 seconds at 41.74 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.267g
Decibel at idle: 45*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 76*
Priced from: $75,700

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander – THE PACKAGE

We, like many reviewers, could take a cheap shot at the bold styling package, but the truth is that beauty is a subjective term, and anyway, there’s a whole heap of substance underneath that controversial styling to get excited about.

Inside the cabin, there’s a huge amount of headroom up front, with the driver treated to a leather-wrapped wheel and a quilted leather seat. The door surrounds offer large door bins and smaller smartphone storage area, lined with deep red leather upholstery and a faux wood veneer that wraps its way across the dashboard, which is topped by Hyundai’s 10.25-inch infotainment system.

The system itself is rock solid, and while there is a conventional set of physical dials for the driver, the head-up multi-function displays offer up more than enough information with just one glance.

The large central console houses the climate control, gear buttons, and controls for the heated and ventilated seats, while there’s a decent amount of storage inside the cubby hole, with two cupholders and a wireless charging pad. Better still, there’s a neat and surprisingly large storage area underneath the console which is perfect for a handbag or a bulky water bottle.

There’s a compact sunroof for the front row, while the second row gets a more substantial panoramic sunroof that definitely adds to the sense of space and premium aesthetic in the back, and some sunshades for long-distance trips. The second row features some clever packaging designs, with a sliding and reclining bench seat and a simple electronically-assisted fold-down mechanism to help get passengers in the third row.

Space in the second row is outstanding, with the Palisade eating up full-grown adults without a second thought, while receiving a pair of ISOFIX anchors and five top tether points for child seats that add to the family-friendly package.

On that note, the Palisade is a genuine seven and even eight-seater, rather than a ‘5+2’ configuration masquerading as a seven-seater. In the seven-seat layout, the bench seat is replaced with a pair of captain’s chairs, while the eight-seat configuration maintains a bench seat for the second and third row.

Head and legroom is exceptional back in the third row, meaning you won’t hear any complaints from young ones. It’s also fine for average-height adults. The third row also presents a pair of cupholders, air vents in the ceiling and USB chargers to make long journeys comfortable more sustainable.

The tailgate is power-operated and there’s a flat load lip, making it easy to slide bulky objects straight in. You can also fold the second row of seats remotely from the boot, which is a nice touch. All up, the cabin is a wonderful place for you and the family to spend lots of time.

As per usual with Hyundai, there’s a huge amount of safety equipment packaged into the Palisade. Some of the highlights include autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind-spot monitoring, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control and a whole heap more that make highway cruising and urban commuting a simple task and help remedy any concerns over its size in tight situations.

2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander – THE DRIVE

The most important boxes that family cruise ships like the Palisade must tick are fairly simple; they’ve got to reconcile the size of the package and be easy to drive, and remain comfortable on long-distance road trips. It takes only a minute behind the wheel to realise just how comprehensively both of these boxes have been ticked.

In terms of ride quality, the Palisade is very comfortable. Around town and even on rough country B-roads, the Palisade is confident and smooth as butter. Despite its ability to soak up big bumps, body movements are kept to a minimum. This is not a rolly-polly barge. It’ll actually surprise you with how well it turns and how eager it is in doing it, especially when your commands are firm.

Our review car is powered by Hyundai’s 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel four-cylinder that kicks up 147kW and 440Nm. Buyers are also offered a V6 petrol producing a beefy 217kW of power, but only 335Nm. We’ve had our hands on both engine options and believe the turbo-diesel is the sweet spot.

The diesel works quietly in the background and offers decent acceleration for a vehicle of this size. We clocked 0-100km/h in a respectable 9.40 seconds using a Vbox. Power delivery is silky-smooth alongside the eight-speed automatic. And adding to the refinement and stability is an all-wheel drive system, which is not available with the V6 in Australia.

For those interested, the V6 petrol has a surprising amount of grunt, but its lazy nature means it needs to be pushed pretty high in the rev range before unloading its power. Chewing up a whole heap of fuel in the process. Our time behind the wheel of the CRDi returned fuel economy figures of 8.4L/100km in a mix of town and country driving – including some performance testing – which is adequate for a vehicle of this size.

One gripe we do have with the Palisade’s drive is the lack of feedback through the steering. This does, however, translate to some user-friendliness due to its lightweight feel. It makes the large package easy to pilot around town, so while we might complain, overall it’s a more useable package.

You’ll have to keep in mind that the Palisade is large and be careful while navigating tight carparks or even drive-through lanes to avoid scraping those rims. It’s best to adapt a driving style to something the size of a small truck. However, like anything, you soon get used to it.

2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander – THE VIDEO

2022 Hyundai Palisade Highlander – THE VERDICT

For all the bold statements that Hyundai’s design language makes with the Palisade, the proof is very much in the pudding when you step behind the wheel and start cruising around. The Palisade is a near-perfect creation for those in need of a large, practical family-friendly package.

In many ways, the Palisade takes a lot of the strain out of driving, and for those looking for a genuine eight-seater without breaking the bank, it’s a no-brainer.

In terms of the Highlander variant specifically, we can confirm there’s a heap of features on offer for your money, but you’ll need to be the judge of whether quilted leather upholstery is the best option for your family. In our option, we’d go with the Elite CRDi variant, which retains an impressive features list and all the important hardware that makes it a spacious and comfortable package, while saving you $9500 over the Highlander.

PROS:
– Extremely spacious second and third row
– Family-friendly practicality with a heap of boot space
– Smooth and economical CRDi powertrain
– Comprehensive entertainment and safety equipment list
– Surprisingly fit and eager in the corners

CONS:
– Polarising styling package
– Size can be intimidating for drivers new to this class
– Elite is our pick; saves you $9.5k yet still well equipped

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