2023 Hyundai Palisade SUV First Look: Small Changes to a Big Hit

Evan Williams
by Evan Williams

The Hyundai Palisade sees a new cabin and some useful tech changes, but doesn’t shake up a solid formula.

Three years after it changed the game in the full-size crossover segment, the Hyundai Palisade is getting a refresh for 2023. More than just new looks, this popular three-row model gets new tech inside and a new ergonomic driver’s seat. Plus some extra airbags and a new dark-finish trim.

In a segment where ruggedness is the styling rule, Hyundai has instead gone for a more technical look for the 2023 Palisade. Not exactly soft, but a wider cascading grille showcases a version of the brand’s parametric styling. It’s not quite the same as the new EVs like the Ioniq 5, but there is clearly a family resemblance.

New LED composite lights add to the intricate appearance of the Palisade’s new nose, but despite (or because of?) Hyundai’s best efforts there are still some nods to SUV segment ruggedness. Like new strakes on the faux skid plate element under the front bumper. Palisade wears the same skid plate details in the rear along with new LED taillamps.

More Comfort and Technology Inside

Keeping butts happy, Palisade’s driver’s seat is a new ergonomic design that Hyundai says will increase comfort and, important for a family vehicle, reduce fatigue on long drives. The second-row seats get wing-out headrests, making sure that the passengers share in the comfort, and like last year, even that second row can have ventilated thrones. US models will get heated seats in the third row, a feature that appears to be missing in Canada.

A new instrument panel wears slimline vents Hyundai says increase the spacious feel of this big ute. The dash will also get new ambient lighting and a more premium ambiance.

Other new cabin features include 15-watt wireless charging in place of the 5-watts of last year. More USB-C plugs around the cabin let all passengers charge up more quickly, and there is a conversation mirror Hyundai says is for talking to passengers but is really for letting parents check up on a suspiciously silent cabin. The vehicle’s voice recognition system has also been tweaked to enhance the vehicle’s voice control functions.

Familiar Drivetrains, Added Safety

The engine is carried over, a 3.8L V6 making 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It has the same eight-speed automatic as last year, but the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system adds a new Tow Mode that can alter gear selection when handling large amounts of cargo.

Rear side-impact airbags that help protect third-row passengers are now standard. The feature joins the existing suite of driver assists that work to help prevent a crash including Forward Collision Avoidance, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, Reverse Parking Collision Avoidance Assist, and others.

Hyundai’s Bluelink connected car services are enhanced for 2023. The latest version comes with automatic collision notification, a signal that will automatically contact help after a crash. New remote profile management allows remote updates and set-up of personalised driver settings. Hyundai will also help give you last-mile directions, letting the navigation system direct you from your parking space to the place you’re actually trying to go.

The Rugged Look

The 2023 Palisade XRT (called Urban in Canada) trim joins the lineup. We’ve already seen the look on Santa Fe and Tucson. Here it includes front and rear fascias meant to make it look tougher, new lower door garnish, dark-finish 20-inch wheels, and a sunroof.

Hyundai says that the 2023 Palisade will start sales in July. We expect pricing closer to the SUV’s arrival at dealers.

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Evan Williams
Evan Williams

Evan moved from engineering to automotive journalism 10 years ago (it turns out cars are more interesting than fibreglass pipes), but has been following the auto industry for his entire life. Evan is an award-winning automotive writer and photographer and is the current President of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You'll find him behind his keyboard, behind the wheel, or complaining that tiny sports cars are too small for his XXXL frame.

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