The Hyundai Palisade debuted for the 2020 model year with more anticipation than most new vehicles. It's an exceptional three-row SUV - and Hyundai's largest vehicle - with an outstanding list of standard features plus the personality and good looks to stand out in a crowded segment. After winning some noteworthy awards in its debut year, the Hyundai Palisade returns for the 2021 model year with a few upgrades and other changes, including a sophisticated new trim called the Calligraphy. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and LED headlights are all now standard across the board. Depending on the way it's configured, the 2021 Palisade can seat seven or eight. All versions are pre-wired for towing, with a maximum capacity of 5,000 pounds.


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Trims and Powertrains


The power behind the 2021 Palisade is a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 291 hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque and is set up with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This seven-or-eight passenger SUV comes in four trim levels: the SE, SEL, Limited, and the aforementioned Calligraphy. The first three get front-wheel drive as the default, with all-wheel drive offered as an upgrade, but the Calligraphy gets AWD as standard. The EPA has rated the '21 Palisade as getting 19 mpg in the city with either drivetrain; on the highway, FWD versions get 26 mpg and AWD versions get 24 mpg.



Standard and Optional Features


The SE has a second-row bench seat, meaning that it fits eight passengers. It also gets LED headlights and daytime running lights, heated exterior mirrors in body color, paddle shifters, 18-inch wheels, acoustic windshield glass and rear-seat quiet mode for peaceful travel, and an underfloor storage compartment. The SEL adds push-button start, roof rails, a sunroof, keyless entry, second-row automatic heating/AC controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver's seat, and integrated turn signals for the side mirrors. Although second-row captain's chairs are standard on this trim, buyers can opt for the bench seat if they want to fit eight passengers. Two well-stocked optional bundles, the Convenience Package and the Premium Package, are offered as well.


The Limited trim gets leather seats, LED taillights, 20-inch wheels, an auto-leveling rear suspension, a hands-free liftgate, rear side-window sunshades, and a wireless device charger, a heated steering wheel, driver's seat memory, a power front passenger's seat, heated second-row captain's chairs, a power-folding third-row bench seat, and an in-car PA system. All of those are features found in the options that are offered for the SEL. Other standard features on the Limited include rain-sensing wipers, ambient interior lighting with 64 colors, an upgraded sunroof with two panels, leg cushion extension for the driver's seat, ventilated first- and second-row seats, and Nappa leather seats. The exquisite new Calligraphy trim is distinct and loaded, getting trim-specific elements (wheels, front and rear fascias, and grille), plus a microfiber headliner and quilted-leather interior door panels.


Safety and Technology Features


Hyundai packs all of its vehicles with active safety technology, and, as such, all four Palisade trims get a full suite of these important and potentially life-saving driver aids: forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping and following assist, rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control, plus a driver attention monitor to detect when the operator isn't paying full attention, and rear occupant alert to ensure that no child (or pet) is forgotten in the back rows. The SEL adds a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and safe exit assist, a technology that prevents the traffic-side doors from opening when the vehicle is parallel-parked and a vehicle is passing from behind. The optional Convenience Package adds, among other amenities, front parking sensors, and the Premium Package includes highway drive assist. Those features are standard on the Limited and Calligraphy, both of which receive the front parking sensors and highway drive assist, a surround-view camera system, and a blind-spot camera, as well as a head-up display, which shows speed and other information on the windshield so that the driver can monitor those stats without looking away from the road.


The base infotainment system has a relatively large (8-inch) touchscreen, Bluetooth technology for hands-free phone and audio, five USB ports, and the sought-after smartphone integration for both Android and Apple. There's even a quiet mode that cuts sound to the second- and third-row speakers. The Convenience Package that the SEL trim is eligible for will add a 115V power outlet and USB ports for the third row, and the Premium Package contains an upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen along with navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and high-def radio. Those features all come standard on the two higher trims, which also get a deluxe Harman Kardon audio system with a dozen speakers.


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