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The hulking squared-off body of the Hyundai Palisade looks like a vehicle fit for US Secret Service staff. Instead, the big SUV is a family-friendly, and versatile people mover.
In the early days, people movers were stodgy, van-derived boxes. They could carry eight people, but those occupants would look out the windows in fear of being seen in one. School drop-offs were typically a case of “park around the corner, please mum or dad”.
The Kia Carnival and Honda Odyssey modernised the transport mode with low-slung decently designed vehicles.
The latest crop of seven and eight-seaters has evolved the concept into SUV-based utility.
Hyundai’s heavily revised Palisade is among the best examples in the segment.
The refresh has seen the entry version dropped after just 6 per cent of buyers, or around 360 people, invested in the cheapest Palisade.
The two-version line-up now starts with the Elite and tops out with the Highlander.
Beyond two versions, the Hyundai Palisade can be had in two flavours.
Two-wheel-drive variants start at $65,900 for the Elite, and $75,900 for the Highlander.
Those who prefer the reassurance or off-road capacity of all-wheel drive will pay a $4,000 premium and premium paint adds $695 across the range.
Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000 kilometres. A flat $399 annual fee means the petrol-powered 2WD vehicles will cost $1,995 across the duration of the five-year warranty, while $489 yearly visits for diesel-propelled AWD versions will total $2,445.
Standard fare in the Hyundai Palisade Elite runs to six USB ports, with all but the multimedia interface being type C versions, along with a new “Bluelink” connected mobility interface that gives owners an SOS emergency call function, connected routing navigation and the ability to find their car in a large carpark and remotely lock or start the vehicle.
The eight-seat layout is the default, featuring three seats in each of the second and third rows. Choosing seven seats by fitting a pair of “captain’s chairs” with armrests in the second row is a no-cost option.
Digital displays extend to 12.3 inches for the infotainment and driver’s display and there’s a head-up display with improved resolution.
Hyundai Palisade Highlander buyers pick up a raft of refinements, including more premium leather interior, suede headlining (not sure how that will work with sticky-fingered children in the third row), ventilated second-row outboard seats and a digital rear-view mirror then provides an unrestricted view even with tall occupants in the second and third rows.
The easiest way to differentiate the two versions is to look at the grille: Elite versions are greyed out while Highlanders have a “satin chrome” style finish.
SUV-styled contenders include the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9 and Nissan Pathfinder,
The latest versions of the Hyundai Palisade have just been awarded an ANCAP five-star rating, across petrol and diesel versions. That’s significant because the diesel vehicles that arrived with the previous generation in late 2020 were deemed to be four-star cars.
Adult occupant protection was rated at 84 per cent, with child occupant protection set at 88 per cent. Vulnerable road user protection was judged to be 62 per cent and safety assist systems powered to an 83 per cent score.
Hyundai has fitted seven airbags to the Palisade, including a front-centre bag to avoid head clashes.
Other notable additions include junction assist, multi anti-collision braking (which applies the brakes after a crash to avoid the car inadvertently rolling into another vehicle) and an intelligent speed-limit assist feature than can automatically adjust the Palisade’s speed to match the posted speed limits (based on camera speed sign recognition).