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  • REVIEW: 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT

    REVIEW: 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT

    This week I bring you Hyundai's flagship SUV, the three-row Palisade, enhanced for the 2023 model year.  It also becomes the third Hyundai to wear the XRT badge, joining the Santa Fe and Tucson XRT models,  delivering and adventurous vibe both on and off-road.  I experienced it in both elements last month,  taking it off-road at the Texas Auto Writers Association's 2023 Texas Truck Rodeo and then later as my weekly review vehicle. 


    Exterior

    The 2023 Palisade is a stylish attention-getting SUV for all the right reasons and, in my opinion, has been since its debut. Tweaks to its design for 2023 include giving it a new front and rear bumper fascia, a new forward lighting signature and new wheels. And yes, you're going to have to like a large grille because Hyundai's taken a cue from Lexus and made it wider.  Just compare it the 2022 Calligraphy model I reviewed here.  

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    The wider grille is certainly a commanding presence, even more so perhaps in my test model's Steel Graphite hue with the all the XRT-exclusive design elements that include the grille's Black Chrome finish, along with dark-finish 20-inch alloy wheels which really look great, black skid plates  and other front and rear fascia rugged elements.   

    The Palisade lineup is equipped with power and heated side mirrors, and the XRT features LED headlights, tail lights and daytime running lights along with High Beam Assist.  You'll get twin-tip exhaust in the back and black roof rails on top. 

    Powertrain

    The Palisade lineup shares a single engine, a 3.8-liter V6 that delivers a respectable 291-horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.  It's mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.    It's also outfitted with available All-Wheel Drive, which certainly came in handy while off-roading in North Texas last month.  (The system also adds Tow Mode for 2023.) 

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     I spent some time with this very model on an off-road course at the Texas Auto Writers Association's (TAWA )Texas Truck Rodeo in October. ( I'm a current TAWA board member. ) The Palisade is admittedly not the first SUV I think of when it comes to off-roading - and not going to be as capable, say, as a new Toyota Sequoia or a Jeep Wrangler -  but it can handle light off-roading.  

    Interior

    The exterior's dark-theme follows through to the spacious cabin which features an appropriate mix of both soft-touch and plastic. The well-designed interior is equipped with black H-Tex leatherette seats with contrasting piping and stitching.  The driver's seat is 8-way power- the passenger's is 6-way power and both are heated.  

    Tweaked elements include a redesigned gauge cluster and leather-wrapped steering wheel.  I like the new look and more premium-looking switchgear on the steering wheel.  The redesigned digital driver display is so easy to read with large numbers and graphics, great if you find yourself needing larger print.

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    A wide center console houses a push-button transmission and a dial to select drive modes. Climate controls are pretty traditional as are buttons for the rearview camera and to turn off the start/stop system. The middle of the console hides cup holders.

    I continue to be a fan of Hyundai's 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation. It displays great graphics and the map looks greatThe system is responsive and Dynamic Voice Recognition is on point. The system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth, SiriusXM and HD Radio.  Upgraded cabin tech includes faster wireless charging and new USB-C ports.

    6471F2BE-496A-4C95-89D3-E1CD8614A683The XRT model seats 7 passengers in comfort with plenty of leg-and head-room.  Second-row passengers will enjoy comfortable captain's chairs. The third row fits adults. Trims above the XRT get heated and ventilated 2nd row seats. 

    Utility is great as well. It starts with the Palisade's power 2nd-row power seats that are easy to operate and easily slide out of the way for 3rd row access.  There are also electric cargo area releases if you need to operate them from the back.  You won't get Hyundai's awesome power third-row on this trim. That feature is standard only on the Limited and Calligraphy trims.

    Cargo space is aplenty in the back, even with all the seats up. you'll also get an underfloor storage compartment back there. 

     Features

    Standard features include a hands-free smart liftgate, wireless phone charger, USB charging ports in the front and second rows along with Rear Seat Quiet Mode,

    While the XRT has a nice list of features,  there are some things unavailable on this trim.  Features you won't get include rain-sensing wipers, dual panel sunroof,  Driver Talk intercom, surround view monitor, head up display or third-row USB C ports. And what's this?  A 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system isn't available in the XRT either.

    Ride and Drive

    For me the Palisade gets everything right except when it comes to steering feel. For me, it's too light and the steering wheel just doesn't have enough weight to it.  Steering is also on the looser side as opposed to be an engaged ride.  But it delivers great ride quality with a smooth suspension and the cabin is quiet.   Hyundai's gone to great lengths to make it so adding under-hood insulation and special sound-deadening carpets along with powertrain tuning.  You can select from Normal, Sport and Smart drive modes.  

    Safety

    Hyundai's advanced safety technology remains a favorite of mine as usual. The Palisade is equipped with Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance, Lane Following Assist and Driver Attention Warning.  It is also equipped with Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert.

    312734501_10160501340844540_1340561043951272492_nYou'll also get standard Highway Driving Assist - the automaker's well executed semi-autonomous system.  Hyundai's come even further in that department with Highway Driving Assist II, available on other Hyundai models I've driven, and I find the newer more advanced technology even more impressive.  

    New for 2023, Hyundai's added standard rear side-impact airbags. 

    What You'll Pay

    The only option on this model are $215 carpeted floor mats, bringing the total MSRP to $43,690, which is a pretty amazing value for a three-row SUV of this caliber. Though you'll want to run through a detailed list of all its features to make sure it has ones most important to you in case it misses out on any of your personal must-haves.

    Verdict

    The 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT adds a rugged style to the Palisade lineup that's sure to appeal to those looking for an edgy, yet still sophisticated SUV that gets everyone around in comfy style.

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    1. What I liked most:  Love its exterior looks and XRT elements along with its cabin design and comfort. 
    2. What I would change:  Improve steering feel.
    3. MSRP: Base price:  $42,450; As equipped $43,960.
    4. Fuel Economy: 19 city/25 highway/ 21 combined. 
    5. Odometer reading when tested:   miles.
    6. Weight:  4,389 lbs. curb/GVWR: 5,871 lbs.
    7. Spare Tire:   Temporary compact.
    8. Length-Width-Height:  196.7” long/77.8” wide/68.9" high.
    9. Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.8 gallons with the filler on the driver side. 
    10. Official Color:  Steel Graphite.
    11. Towing Capacity:  5,000 pounds with trailer brakes.
    12. Ground Clearance:  7.9".
    13. 2023 Palisade XRT in a few words:  The Palisade that provides you can be both stylishly rugged and sophisticated at the same time.
    14. Warranty: 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, 7-year anti-perforation warranty. 
    15. Final Assembly Location:  Ulsan, Korea.
    16. Manufacturer's website: Hyundai