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2024 3-Row SUV Challenge: Repeat Champ Hyundai Palisade Proves Hard to Beat

hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 04 exterior front angle scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 08 exterior profile scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 10 exterior rear angle scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 06 exterior front scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 05 exterior front scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 02 exterior dynamic front angle scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 01 exterior dynamic profile scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 03 exterior dynamic rear angle scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 09 exterior profile detail scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 07 exterior headlight scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night edition awd 2024 12 exterior rear badge scaled jpg hyundai palisade calligraphy night 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It’s been more than four years since we last gathered a big collection of three-row family SUVs and pitted them against each other in a battle to see which brood hauler is the one we recommend for carting your clan around. Back then, the then-new Hyundai Palisade won the day, with reviewers lauding its sumptuous cabin, top-notch multimedia system and extraordinary value that brought a bunch of content for a reasonable price. Well, in our latest big-SUV comparison test with a new cast of challengers, the 2024 Palisade earned a repeat win in a similar fashion by excelling in luxury, value and tech. It wasn’t as easy for the Palisade this time around (the top six finishers were more closely bunched together), which is a testament to how much other automakers are upping their game in this class.

2024 3-Row SUV Challenge
Results | Winner | Real-World MPG | Cargo Space

So which SUVs did the 2024 Palisade go up against? We conducted a seven-vehicle comparison test featuring the recently redesigned Honda Pilot, the closely related and recently freshened Kia Telluride, a top-trim Nissan Pathfinder, the all-new Toyota Grand Highlander, the not-all-that-changed Subaru Ascent and the updated Volkswagen Atlas. Despite the new competition, the Palisade eked out another win, albeit a squeaker: With a total of 788 points, it came in ahead of the second-place Atlas by just 13 points and the third-place Grand Highlander by just 18 points. Still, a win is a win, and the 2024 Palisade’s new look, luxurious interior, shockingly long list of equipment and reasonable price brought home the victory. Here’s what we really liked about it.

It’s Very Nice Inside

It’s hard to accurately convey just how nice the Palisade is inside. Admittedly, our test model was a tippy-top-trim Calligraphy Night Edition, which comes with some decidedly unusual fabric upholstery and trim that brought out more than one comparison to the top Maybach trim from Mercedes-Benz. It’s not quite that nice, but it’s a clear punching-above-its-weight situation compared with most of the rest of the field, many of which still feature thinner plastic panels and dour, gray cabins. The Palisade’s seats are also extremely comfortable, especially up front, leading to two outright category wins: front-seat comfort and interior quality.

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That luxury element also translates to interior features, as the Palisade has a massive 12.3-inch touchscreen running the latest Hyundai multimedia system that still maintains its spot as one of the best in the business, which helped the SUV score well in the vehicle user interface category. Reconfigurable digital gauges make for easy information viewing, while excellent-feeling trim and redundant hard buttons are plentiful. We weren’t huge fans of the Palisade’s push-button transmission, but we never have been, and it’s not yet stopped us from giving the Palisade accolades. Driving the Palisade was also mostly a treat, with it scoring highly in our quietness category — another testament to its luxury chops. Strong, quiet and eminently comfortable in all three rows, the Palisade still presents as a highly desirable family hauler.

The Undeniable Value Proposition

What helped put the Palisade over the top is the sheer level of equipment you get with the top Calligraphy Night Edition trim, and this helped it snag an outright win in our value category, which takes into account both features and as-tested price. Yes, the Palisade was the most expensive vehicle in this test, ringing in at $55,600 (all prices include destination fees), but it also came with the most equipment and was not that much more expensive than the next-most-expensive Atlas ($55,405) and Telluride ($54,540). Palisade features include power-folding second- and third-row seats, heated seats in all three rows (and variable heat, at that), seat ventilation for the first two rows and a massage function for the driver’s seat. A ton of safety equipment, including things like blind spot cameras for both driver and passenger sides, parking sensors with a rear automatic braking feature and a 360-degree top-down camera system, secured the Palisade a shared win with the Telluride in our safety features category. For the most part, if something is available on one of the Palisade’s competitors, the Hyundai has it, too — and more.

Shop the 2024 Hyundai Palisade near you

New
2024 Hyundai Palisade SEL
$43,675 $500 price drop
New
2024 Hyundai Palisade Limited
$47,227 MSRP $51,740

$1,850 price drop

It Ain’t Perfect

Of course, no vehicle is flawless, and there were some aspects of the Palisade that disappointed us. While the bits you see have been nicely updated, the bits you don’t see under the hood are starting to feel a little tired. The only available powertrain is a big, thirsty naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V-6, and it wasn’t the smoothest or most responsive engine in our test. While competitors are moving to torque-y turbocharged four-cylinder mills or adding hybrid systems to their lineup, Hyundai is still sticking with a proven, if increasingly outdated, engine.

The big Hyundai’s third row is also decent, if not exceptional; you can fit a couple full-size adults back there reasonably well, but the Atlas had the advantage in comfort and passenger space here. The Palisade’s child-safety seat fitment score was also on the lower side. And finally, there’s still no wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto — you have to use a USB cable for these interfaces.

All in all, the Palisade hasn’t radically changed from when we declared it our winner more than four years ago. Its strengths are still its strengths, but the competition is dangerously close to catching up, and there are more new models on the way that should also challenge the big Hyundai’s dominance. However, until something takes its crown, the Palisade remains our pick for best three-row SUV.

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Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

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