The years have been tough for Hyundai of America, but the cross-selling strategy of automakers is now bearing fruit. This is not the only one in this area. The addition of new utility models such as the Kona sub-compact allowed the brand to reduce car sales to slag, recording sharp monthly sales gains in 2018, just as the large Ascent crossover allowed its Subaru competitor to keep good sales.
Although Hyundai's car offer is changing, it offers important vehicles that fill both the chests and the imagination. The Korean brand needs a big three-tier (but not too big) public service to boost sales and profits in the North American region. Hyundai thinks the palisade is the best. In fact, you already forget the Santa Fe XL nameplate when you read this.
Palisade was no secret to us when Hyundai announced the name earlier this month. The design of the intermediate crossover was also not introduced – not only by the brilliant HDC-2 Grandmaster concept, announced earlier this year in South Korea, but by the all-new Santa Fe 2019, which replaced the Santa Fe Sport.
With the palisade, Hyundai reports most of the design languages of smaller users to a larger canvas. Its square format and proportions of two shameless boxes make its predecessor look like a marshmallow, but fails to turn the new vehicle into a Korean Tahoe. There are curves to have here, especially in the outline of the thick frame grille.
One can not help noticing that the word "bold" appears more than once in the description of the constructor. This is not an accident.
Few three-row crosses deserve to be considered innovative, and the Palissade is not one of those rare selections. Nevertheless, the model strikes enough to warrant attention that would not be given to its bland predecessor. At the front, the passive filter relinquishes a traditional lighting matrix, preferring a Kona-esque slot configuration with downward-facing traffic lights, upward-pointing turn signals, and highly visible LED position lights operating at the height of the face. A strong, high line of characters connects the headlamps to the taillights, adding an impressive sense of strength to the sides of the passive filter, while wing swellings strengthen the musculature. Meanwhile, a chrome trim flushes the top of the door frames and cascades along the C-pillar.
Does this fine-tune the vehicle? Maybe, maybe not, but it helps break the wall.
As for the actual muscles, the specifications of the palisade certainly seem adequate. Under the hood, a single powerplant – the Hyundai Atkinson 3.8-liter V6 with direct injection – generates 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. These numbers work well against the competing six-cylinder, including GM's 3.6-liter V6. Power is transmitted to the front or all four wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Compared to other top-selling three-row crossover vehicles, the Palisade is quite compact in terms of length (196.1 inches) and close to the top of its class in terms of wheelbase (114.2 inches), tied with the Nissan Pathfinder and behind the Ford Explorer). The cargo volume behind the rear seat is 18 cubic feet, or 45.8 cubic feet with the third row folded. Hyundai absolutely wants you to know that the palisade is larger in all exterior dimensions than the Toyota Highlander, as well as the Santa Fe XL.
Yessir … it's definitely a crossover marketed to Americans.
While no one expects Palisade buyers to venture too far from the roads, the model's HTRAC AWD system adds a Snow Mode to the pre-existing list of Normal, Sport and Smart modes. The manufacturer claims that the system offers a wider range of front-rear torque distribution than other AWD systems, but without precision, this should not be treated as a gospel.
In terms of convenience, each of the seven passengers (not eight, remember) receives a USB plug-in. Sixteen cupholders populate the arid interior of the Palisade. On the front, the driver and front passenger will find a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, while the driver will contemplate a group of 12.3-inch digital indicators. A head-up display projects relevant information on the windshield for those who want to know more.
Because the name Palisade evokes images of an easy life on the coast, the vehicle's "Driver Talk" intercom system tries to make conversation a breeze. This system has two modes: talkback and standby. The first function allows the driver to communicate via the audio system with passengers in the second or third row, while the standby mode allows the rear passengers not to hear the music of the duo at the front.
Security? There are many, standard. The list includes front collision avoidance assistance with pedestrian detection, blind spot avoidance assistance, track assist assistance, rear crossover avoidance assistance, High Beam safe exit assistance Assist, Driver Alert and Intelligent Cruise Control with Stop and Go.
As for the costs, they will have to remain mysterious until the date of sale of the palisade is approaching. The crossover, which carries much of the hope of the United States on the heavy shoulders of Hyundai, arrives at dealerships next summer.[Images: Hyundai Motor America]