Hyundai Palisade 3.8L V6 GDi 2WD 2021 Review

We drive the Palisade 3.8L V6 on a Road Test Review

Hyundai Palisade adds to the already extensive SUV range offered by Hyundai, but with a difference. It’s BIG. We are driving the entry level Palisade 3.8LV6 GDi 2WD version.

Palisade comes with two engine options, two drivetrains, two seat configurations and two specification levels.

Hyundai Palisade profileWhat does the Palisade look like?

Well as mentioned it’s bigger than anything else from the Hyundai stable. It looks big yet well proportioned. The familial styling is obvious, but looks more integrated than the Santa Fe.

Designed primarily for the Australian market with its big bold grill, compact Halogen headlights and LED DRL’slower fog lights as well as silver highlights. The profile is surprisingly sleek, with sculptured accents along the door sills. The rear is upright, which adds to the load capacity and practicality. Vertical LED tail lights add to the styling along with the LED High Mount Stop Light (HMSL)

Muscular wheel arches house nice 18 inch alloy wheels with 245/60 R18 tyres. There is a full size alloy spare as well which is excellent.

Palisade is available in six mica and metallic paint colours including the standard White Cream Mica, and the premium Timeless Black, Steel Graphite, Sierra Burgundy and Rain Forest. Paint is a $695 option.

Hyundai Palisade dash

So what is the Palisade like inside?

Hyundai have done a great job with the ambience. Even the base model feels luxurious.

You slide into comfortable leather seats, the driver’s seat is multiply electronically adjustable. With additional lumbar support. In front of the driver is a height and reach adjustable thick steering wheel that frames the twin dial and middle MFD instrument binnacle.

Next to the driver is a wide console bin, in front is a slide covered twin cup holder with adjacent tray. Heading up the centre stack is the transmission. A dial for the drive mode select and push buttons for the drivetrain. Once you get the hang of it they are easy to use. Paddle levers on the steering wheel provide tiptronic functionality. Strangely the electronic parking brake is down to the right of the steering wheel.

Front and centre is the 10.25-inch touch-screen that is integrated into the top of Palisade’s dash, to give front occupants a clear overview of navigation, audio and other information, with a choice of panoramic map view, or split-screen navigation/audio display.

There is a wireless smart phone charger in the tray in front of the transmission and Smartphone connectivity via Apple Carplay™ or Android Auto™. Surround sound, which is pretty good, comes from a 12 speaker Infinity premium audio system.

Hyundai Palisade seats

The model we had is the 8 seat version with plenty of room for three in the middle row of seats, enough room for my bear like 190cm frame to sit comfortably. The knee room is provided because the front seat travel is slightly restricted. Like most cars its better suited for two outer passengers and a smaller middle person.

Hyundai Palisade third row seats

The third row is definitely in the part time category with two wider outer seats and a tiny middle seat. I obviously didn’t attempt to sit in them but up to teenagers will probably be comfortable. Knee room is ok and foot room is assisted by a stadium style lowered foot well. Large windows provide a feeling of openness for the third row.  All seats have adjustable headrests.

Hyundai Paliisade

The rear seats fold flat for a voluminous cargo area of between 311L and 1297L of space, with the middle row folded as well. There is a push button for the middle seats folding. One thing to note is that the rear door is manual but lifts high enough for me to stand comfortably under.

Hyundai Palisade features

Palisade Features

Even though it’s the base model it is still well equipped with:

  • Head Up Display
  • seven USB ports and 16 cup-holders
  • 7-inch full LCD Supervision instrument cluster,
  • intuitive 10.25-inch satellite navigation unit,
  • leather upholstery as well as a power-adjustable driver’s seat,
  • Driver Talk Function
  • Quiet Mode Function
  • three-zone air-conditioning,
  • Shift-by-Wire gear selector buttons,
  • keyless entry with push-button start,
  • Electric park brake.
  • Wireless (Qi standard) smartphone charging
  • Five top tether child seat anchor points in eight-seat variants (four tether points in seven-seat variants).
  • Additionally, two ISOFIX anchors in the second row, and one in the third row, make the installation of child seats quick, easy and secure.
  • Trailer Stability Assist (TSA)
  • Trailer connecting guidelines
  • Electro-chromatic Mirror

Hyundai Paliisade

Palisade Engine and Drivetrain

Palisade is powered by a 3.8-litre petrol that develops 217kW @ 6,000rpm and 355Nm @ 5,200 rpm and is paired with Hyundai’s in-house developed eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The transmission is a shift by wire style with manual paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

Fuel use is an official 10.7L/100K with a 71L fuel tank.

Hyundai Palisade transmission

Palisade’s highly rigid monocoque structure and local chassis tuning allows for surprisingly good ride and handling and laminated glass and extensive insulation contributes greatly to the quietness.

Palisade’s Drive Mode system allows users to select a powertrain configuration that best suits their driving style (modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart).

Hyundai Paliisade

Palisade Driving Experience

This where the Palisade provides a pleasant surprise. Its combination of on road dynamics, quietness and steering responsiveness belies its size.

The steering is well weighted with good feedback in a non SUV manner. It sits comfortably on the road and is compliant on our back roads. It cruises beautifully on the freeways and a tight turning circle means that it navigates inner city roads with ease.

All in all it’s a pleasant driving experience.

Hyundai Palisade safety

 Palisade Safety Features

At this stage there is no ANCAP safety rating but it is well equipped with:

  • Six airbags, including side curtain airbag protection for all three rows,
  • a range-standard suite of SmartSenseTMtechnologies that include:
    • multi-function Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), (FCA-Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist)
    • Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and
    • Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist (BCA) systems.
  • Lane Following Assist (LFA),
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA) systems, and
  • Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go.
  • Surround View Monitor (SVM) with Parking Guidance and rear view camera
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC),
  • High Beam Assist (HBA)
  • Leading Vehicle Departure Alert
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) System
  • Safe Exit Assist (SEA)
  • Rear Occupant Alert (ROA)
  • Parking Distance Warning (F&R)
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring (TPMS)

Hyundai iCare

Hyundai iCare, customer care program offers a comprehensive suite of owner benefits including; Lifetime Service Plan, 5 Year Unlimited Km Warranty, complimentary Roadside Assist for 12 months on new vehicles, 1,500km complimentary first service, a dedicated Customer Care Centre, and myHyundai – an exclusive owner website. When servicing with Hyundai, customers will also receive a Roadside Support Plan for up to 10 years, a 10 Year Sat Nav Update Plan, and more.

Hyundai Palisade

Final thoughts on the Palisade

Overall I really like the new Palisade. It drives like a smaller SUV with a level of dynamics and quietness that would sit comfortably on many a European SUV.

The 3.8L V6 provides reasonable performance, but I would opt for the 2.2L diesel every time.

It is spacious with the third row covered by A/C vents and curtain air bags.

It sits comfortably alongside the likes of the Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder and Mazda CX-9 as a family based SUV.

However it has always been my belief that if you don’t want the safety benefits of AWD you would be much better off buying a people mover such as the KIA Carnival for greater practicality. The AWD versions are a different story.

 What is good?

  • Standard features
  • On road dynamics
  • Interior space

What is not so good?

  • No privacy glass
  • Missing some safety features
  • No Hybrid version

Also Look At


Hyundai 3.8L Palisade FWD

Model Price $60,000 MLP*
Engine 3.8L V6 Petrol
Drivetrain 8 Sp AT FWD
Power 217kW @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 355Nm @ 5,200 rpm
Safety TBC
CO2 Emissions 251 g/km
Economy ADR 10.7 L/100km
Tow Capacity/Tow Ball 2200 Kg / TBCkg
Servicing 12 Months / 15000 km  Service Plan 5 Year Service cost $1995
Warranty 5yr/ Unlimited km with 1 Yr. Conditional roadside assist

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

Overall Rating    


Behind the Wheel 8
Comfort 9
Equipment 8
Performance 8
Ride and Handling 9
Practicality 8
Fit for Purpose 8
Towing Capability 7
Technology/Connectivity 8
Value for Money 8

Hyundai Palisade rear


Overall Length 49805mm
Wheelbase 2900mm
Width / Height 1975mm / 1750mm
Unladen ground clearance / wading depth Up to 203mm / TBA mm
Approach / Rampover / Departure angles 18.5 degrees / 17.9 degrees / 20.3 degrees
Fuel Tank  / Turning Circle 71 Litres / 11.8mts KTK
Kerb Weight / Payload / GVM / GCM 1897kg / 773kg / 2670kg / 4870KG
Towing Capacity / Tow Ball rating 2200kg / TBCkg
Hyundai 3.8L Palisade FWD Overall Rating
  • 8/10
    Behind the wheel - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Comfort - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Equipment - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Ride and Handling - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Fit for Purpose - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Towing Capability - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Technology/Connectivity - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Value for Money - 9/10


Overall I really like the new Palisade. It drives like a smaller SUV with a level of dynamics and quietness that would sit comfortably on many a European SUV.

It sits comfortably alongside the likes of the Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder and Mazda CX-9 as a family based SUV.

However it has always been my belief that if you don’t want the safety benefits of AWD you would be much better off buying a people mover such as the KIA Carnival for greater practicality. The AWD versions are a different story.

About Rob Fraser 1980 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.