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2020 Hyundai Palisade: Are You Ready to Fall in Love, America?

 Image: Hyundai

It's been a rough couple of years for Hyundai of America, but the automaker's crossover stacked product strategy is now bearing fruit. It's not alone in this. The addition of new utility models like the subcompact Kona helped the brand shrug off slag car sales, posting crucial monthly sales gains in 2018, just as the large Ascent crossover helped keep rival Subaru on a good sales footing.

While there's change afoot Among Hyundai's car offerings, it's big vehicles that fill both coffers and imaginations, and the Korean brand needs a big (but not too large) three-row utility to boost sales and profit in the North American region. Hyundai feels the Palisade is just the ticket. In fact, you're already forgetting the Santa Fe XL nameplate as you read this.

The Palisade was hardly a secret when Hyundai sprung the name on us earlier this month. Nor was the midsize crossover's design – previewed not just by the awesomely named HDC-2 Grandmaster concept released earlier this year in South Korea, but by the all-new 2019 Santa Fe, which replaced the long-in-the-tooth Santa Fe Sport .

 Image: Hyundai

With the Palisade, Hyundai carries over much of the smaller looking design language onto a larger canvas. Its square-rigged, unabashedly two-box proportions makes its predecessor look like a marshmallow, but falls short of turning the new vehicle into a Korean Tahoe. There are curves to be had here, most notable in the outline of the thickly framed grille.

One can not help but notice that the word "bold" shows up more than once in the automaker's write-up. That's no accident.

Few three-row crossovers deserve to be called groundbreaking, and the Palisade does not count itself among those rare selections. Still, the model is striking enough to warrant attention that would not be afforded to its predecessor. Up front, the crossover dispenses with a traditional lighting array, preferring a Kona-esque slit setup with driving lights on the bottom, turn signals up top, and highly visible LED running lights running the height of the face. A strong, high-character line connects headlamps to backlights, adding a sense of imposing strength to the crossover's flanks, while the cut-out fender bulges add increased muscularity. Meanwhile, chrome trim flows along the top of the frames and cascades down the C-pillar.

Does it slim down the vehicle?

 Image: Hyundai

As for actual muscle, the Palisade's specs certainly seem adequate. Beneath the hood, a lone power plant – Hyundai's direct injection, Atkinson-cycle 3.8-liter V6 – generates 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft or torque. These figures stack well against rival six-cylinders, including GM's 3.6-liter V6. Power travels to the front or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic.

Compared to other top-selling three-row crossovers, the Palisade sits mid-pack pack in terms of length (196.1 inches) and near the top of its class in terms of wheelbase (114.2 inches, tied with the Nissan Pathfinder and behind the Ford Explorer). Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 18 cubic feet, or 45.8 cubes with the third row folded. Hyundai definitely wants you to know that the Palisade is bigger in every external dimension than the Toyota Highlander, as well as the Santa Fe XL.

Yessir … this is definitely a crossover marketed to Americans. [19659003]  Image: Hyundai

While no one expects Palisade buyers to venture too far off-road, the model's HTRAC all-wheel drive system adds a Snow mode to the pre-existing list of Normal, Sport, and Smart modes . The automaker claims that the system has a wider range of front-rear torque distribution than other AWD systems, although without details, this should not be treated as gospel.

In terms of convenience, each of the seven (not eight, keep in mind) passengers receive a USB plug-in. Sixteen cupholders populate the Palisade's parched interior. Up front, driver and front seat passenger will find a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, while the driver is looking at a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. A head-up display projects pertinent information on the windshield for those who wish for more to look at.

Because the name Palisade conjures up images of easy, coastal living, the vehicle's Driver Talk in-car intercom system tries to make speaking a breeze. There are two modes to this system: rear seat conversation and sleep mode. The former function allows the driver to communicate two second or third-row passengers via the audio system, while sleep mode ensures backseat passengers do not have to hear the front-seat duo's tunes.

[19659003] Safety? There is a bevy of it, standard. Den list omfatter Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist med Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Følgende Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist (som høres an alarm hvis det er et kjøretøy som nærmer seg en som er om å være opened), High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go.

As for cost, that will have to remain a mystery until closer to the Palisade's on-sale date. The crossover, which carries much of Hyundai's U.S. hopes on its burly shoulders, arrives at dealers next summer.

[Images: Hyundai Motor America]

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