2018 Los Angeles - Hyundai Palisade debuts as the brand's new flagship

The 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show that's currently on at the popular California city might be the last big automotive event of the year but it appears to be packing quite a punch with several high-profile global premieres. One such potential big-hitter is the Hyundai Palisade, the marque's newest flagship. With three rows of seats that could accommodate eight people and measuring close to five meters in length, this all-new mid-size SUV is Hyundai's biggest and most spacious model till date.

Yes, the Palisade is late to the party that has quite a few popular models like the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. But, has it got what it takes to do the role of a flagship, attract footfalls and bring in profits? Hyundai certainly thinks so!

For starters, the Palisade looks bold and fresh. Featuring the brand's latest design language first seen on the Kona and later adopted by the Santa Fe, the Palisade features split light clusters up front on either side of the now-familiar 'Cascading Grille'. If distinct styling is what Hyundai's designers were after, that goal has been achieved, albeit in a bit "in-your-face" manner. Move over to the silhouette and the car's size makes its presence felt. While the long hood, the generous wheelbase and flared fenders look intimidating, the profile itself is generic save for the tasteful application of chrome over the window-line and the wraparound effect given by the D-pillars. The rear, in Hyundai's own words, recalls Cadillac's design language with vertical taillight elements accompanied by metallic garnishes.

Being the flagship of a brand comes with it's own set of benefits and the Palisade gets them in abundance too. The interiors, with quilted Nappa leather and smooth wood-grain finishes, are tastefully done with the Palisade aiming to impress the occupants with a sense of space and plushness unseen in a Hyundai thus far. The second row gets two captain's chairs or a bench for three depending on the seating configuration chosen. The dashboard, like in most cars these days, gets two screens - a 12.3-inch digital TFT cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10.25-inch widescreen display in the center console for audio and navigation display. 

Standard safety features include a class-exclusive Blind Spot Monitor that provides the driver with an easy-to-see body-side views whenever the turn signals are activated in addition to Forward Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Following Assist, High Beam Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist that uses radar to detect cars approaching from the rear and warn occupants accordingly and seven Airbags. 

Creature comforts are in abundance too, keeping in mind the Palisade's target group of large families. Yes, the Palisade gets seven USB outlets, sixteen cup holders, option to connect two BlueTooth devices at once, a "Rear Sleep Mode" that adjusts the audio output to the front speakers alone to enable easier sleeping for those seated at the back and an intercom system that allows the front occupants to communicate independently to the second and third row or to both rows together. The parents seated at the front as well as the kids at the back are going to have fun in the Palisade, it seems!   

Under the long hood of the Palisade is a 3.8-liter V6 engine that works on the Atkinson Cycle for better fuel efficiency. Generating 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 355 Nm of torque, the Palisade's power and torque figures are amongst the best in the segment. Mated to this engine is a 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to the two front wheels or all four wheels depending on the configuration chosen. The HTRAC all-wheel drive system comes with selectable driving modes that changes the torque distribution to the wheels at the touch of a button.

The Palisade goes on sale late 2019 as a 2020 model. Yes, that's a rather delayed entry given SUV sales are booming worldwide 'right now' and Hyundai needs something bigger than the Santa Fe 'right now'. But as they always say, it's better late than never.


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