What do Rainbow Families want in a vehicle?
Space for kids, pets, and everything they’ll take on a vacation, for starters. They also want to be comfortable driving a vehicle that is not too big and not too small. And they want to stand out, especially when parking lots are becoming full of the same vehicle in just a few different colors.
The good folks at Hyundai have heard our pleas. And, they delivered in the form of the 2020 Palisade mid-sized, three-row SUV.
Before we talk about the new Palisade, there is some news to parse out. As we know, the number of automotive entities that support us continue to grow. A few years ago, Hyundai Motor America joined in that group with campaigns inside and outside the company to engage with GLBT employees, customers, and stakeholders.
From their corporate GLBT employee resource group to outreach efforts near their Southern California headquarters and beyond, Hyundai has made it clear that they will support our community on equal footing as most of the automotive industry. The result has been the perfect score of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for both 2018 and 2019.
Hyundai’s story goes beyond what transpires at their Fountain Valley, California headquarters. It ultimately comes down to their vehicle lineup—a wide range of vehicles that continues to grow with a small urban SUV coming this fall to a striking new version of Hyundai’s mid-sized sedan, the Sonata. The 2020 Palisade represents a new approach to a segment that welcomes families of all kinds with high style, comfort, and drivability.
To find out more about the 2020 Palisade, we went to the suburbs west of Chicago where Hyundai invited us to drive this new SUV out to Starved Rock State Park near Ottawa, Illinois.
Along the way, we had a chance to talk to Derek Joyce, Hyundai Motor America’s Senior Manager, Product and Advanced Powertrain PR. We asked him for some insight into the new 2020 Palisade. It all starts with the concept of the vehicle. “We found that in our customer research that they wanted more room and more generous comfort in the rear seats,” explained Joyce. There are “seven USBs for children or adults traveling in the second and third rows. A lot of features that really make it comfortable for extended duration, family trips, family adventures and a feeling of spaciousness in the second and third row, which includes not only actual space and really generous area behind the third row for storage, but also the feeling of spaciousness, which is created by a dual-paned sunroof, two separate sunroofs and a very wide glass area in the rear and minimal design tumblehome (the top of the roof coming in on the vehicle).”
The 2020 Palisade comes in three trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. We sampled the latter two on our drive out to our spot along the Illinois River. The SEL offered more than enough amenities, as explained by Joyce, that Rainbow families and other consumers will enjoy. The real showcase of the Palisade is the Limited model, where you have the dual-paned sunroof, a fully digital and customizable 12-1/2-inch instrument binnacle, and a level of luxury befitting of a more premium brand.
There were other differences between our SEL and Limited models that we found. The one thing that drew us to the Limited was the fact that it was quieter than the lower-priced SEL. It was a combination of improved sound-proofing materials, along with a higher level of quality throughout the cabin. The SEL offers great value and shares a lot of features, such as second-row power folding seats, and a one-touch second-row slide feature for access to the third row. While the wide 10.25-inch infotainment screen is available on the SEL, it is standard on the Limited.
As we talked about the second- and third-row seats, Joyce explained further that “whether you have the captain’s chair set up or whether you have the three positions set up in the second row, it’s going to accommodate that full range of children comfortably. Adults can jump in the back. If you’re on a double date, no problem. The adults are going to be comfortable in the second row… There’s adjustability of the second-row seat position. You can lengthen out the leg room.” The rearmost two rows are where consumers usually make their decision on which mid-sized SUV they will buy or lease.
Powering the 2020 Palisade is a 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6. It offered great performance on the highway, as well as in the city and out in the countryside. This engine is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission with a new push-button selector on the console. You can change gears through a pair of paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Both of our testers had the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system and a drive-mode selector that enhances the shifts and drive systems to specific conditions and types of driving. It does have a snow mode that is ready for our winters. With all-wheel-drive, you can get up to 24 MPG on the highway in the Palisade.
But, we can’t ignore one fact: The Palisade is an absolute stunner to look at. The front end features a large grille, flanked by turn signals up top, and LED headlamps off to the side. There is a belt line that starts from the lower front-end skin, that is framed by a set of LED running lights and ends up with a chrome strip framing the rear taillight units. The roof is upright with a unique glasshouse profile that offers superb vision all around. This is truly one of the most compelling SUVs ever designed, inside and out.
Pricing for the 2020 Palisade starts at $31,550 for the SE model. Our SEL tester came out to around $41,795. Our Limited tester topped out all pricing at $47,495. With some of its competitors creeping up and beyond the $50,000, it is refreshing to see that Hyundai can sell a premium-feeling vehicle for less than that.
The 2020 Palisade should be available at your nearest Hyundai dealer right now.
As for Hyundai’s support of the GLBT community and its employees, Joyce said that Hyundai “definitely reach[es] out strongly to the [GLBT] community. We’ve had many initiatives in the marketing area as well. In fact, our Vice President had, that’s a special focus of a lot of our marketing efforts. So definitely, a priority for Hyundai and something that we definitely make a consistent part of our marketing program.”
What we have here is a GLBT-friendly mid-sized three-row SUV with high style, stand-out looks, great space, advanced technology, and wonderful driving manners. In our book, that ticks off all of the boxes.