This week I have the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander eight-seater as I know a lot of you liked the seven-seater model and were also interested in the eight-seater for your families, so let's find out all about it and see how it stacks up as a BabyDrive.
Let's dive straight in to the seat section; because this is the eight-seater Palisade Highlander model, it has a bench seat across the second-row instead of the seven-seater's captain chairs…
…and three seats in the third-row too.
Both rows of seats are split 60:40 with the 40% section on the driver's side, which means you are potentially getting kids in and out of the car on the road side.
In the second row, there are three top tether anchorages and two sets of ISOFix, which allowed me to install three child seats across. The bench seat in the eight-seater Palisade is generous in space so three Infasecure child seats fit really nicely forward or rear-facing.
I found that if I use the ISOFix for the two outer seats rather than the seat belts, then I could bring one of the secondary seats forward, giving passengers access to the third row. The step-through to the third row is a good amount of space.
In the third row there is one set of ISOFix points in the seat on the passenger side and two sets of top tether anchorages for that seat and the central seat, plus a bag hook on the back of the third seatback.
I could not fit two child seats in third row using the top tether anchorages as there is not room for them to fit beside each other but I did install the Infasecure Achieve More child seat and then used the Infasecure Versatile Folding Booster in the other side seat as this does not require a top tether anchorage. To find out more about the child seats I have used for testing click here.
Legroom is good in the eight-seater Hyundai Palisade Highlander. I found there is ample legroom and kick room in the third row.
We found that with a forward-facing child seat in each of the rear rows, that a 184cm+ passenger can sit in the front and on the driver's side.
With a forward-facing child seat in the third row and a rear-facing child seat in the second row, at 184cm driver could sit in the front too. To learn more about the Infasecure child seats used in my testing click on the link here.
The eight-seat option is available on all three Palisade variants, starting at about $60,000 drive-away for the base model with a bench seat in the second row and black leather upholstery. The mid-spec Elite ($6500 more) and top-spec Highlander ($16K more than the base model) can come with either the captain chairs or a bench for the second row. This is the updated top-spec Palisade Highlander eight-seat model that now has the option of a practical black leather interior (previous choices were beige or red leather).
For your extra money, the Highlander also comes with a lot of extras like heated and cooled seats in the front and second-row, built-in rear window blinds, powered tailgate, wireless phone charger, safe exit assist, 360-degree parking cameras and cameras that show the blind spot when you indicate.
There are built-in window blinds in the rear doors of this Palisade Highlander, which are perfect for keeping little rear passengers shaded from the sun while driving along.
The Palisade Highlander has a double sunroof too, so your rear passengers get a great view of the sky as you are driving along. The blind over the sunroof is nice and thick and completely blocks out light, unlike some cars!
All models of the Hyundai Palisade have aircon vents in all three rows of seats so everyone is comfortable.
You can also control the rear climate from the front, which is great for families.
The Hyundai Palisade also has airbags in all three rear rows of seats, which is great if you are intending to use the third-row seats often.
Storage is great throughout the Hyundai Palisade and there are a few stand-out features that I especially LOVE! The first are the double cup holders in the second-row doors. These are great for kids to easily reach them while driving along, so you are not having to pass things back ad forth while driving.
The second is the storage shelf underneath the central console box! It is perfect for putting your handbag instead of the passenger footwell! AMAZING!
There are cup holders in the third-row too.
More cup holders are in the front, with a wireless phone charging pad and a generous central console box for storage.
You have 12V and USB sockets throughout all three rows of seats for all passengers. In the second-row the USBs are on the side of the front seats.
Boot space in the eight-seater model Hyundai Palisade is the same as in the seven-seater model I previously tested. Let's have a look…
When using only the second-row of rear seats, the Hyundai Palisade will hold 21 shopping bags, which is one more than the Nissan Pathfinder, two more than the Toyota Kluger and four more than the Mazda CX-9 but three less than a Hyundai Staria and five less than the Kia Carnival that holds 26 shopping bags!
When using all three rows of seats, the eight-seater Hyundai Palisade will hold eight shopping bags, which is comparable to the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota Kluger that both hold eight shopping bags too. The Mazda CX-9 will hold six shopping bags and the Kia Carnival will hold ten shopping bags. The Staria will hold double the bags of the Palisade with all three rows of seats in use!
A double, twin, tandem and single pram would each fit in the Palisade's boot even when using all three rows of seats with a few bags of shopping, which is so practical for families. For more detailed boot storage information, see the expandable section ‘storage' below.
The boot of the Palisade when using all three rows of seats is really practical for large families.
A very large size dog will fit nicely in the boot of the Hyundai Palisade when using the first two rows of seats or a small or medium-sized dog when you are using all three rows of seats.
The media system in the new Hyundai Palisade is lovely and simple to use and easy to navigate.
It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is great for accessing your phone and apps while driving.
The Hyundai Palisade has ‘Sounds of Nature' within the media system like in the new Hyundai Staria, 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, new 2021 Kia Carnival and new 2021 Kia Sorento. This pre-recorded white noise is fantastic for calming little passengers and making them sleepy! It includes the sounds of calm ocean waves, rainy days, in the forest, open-air cafe etc. My youngest loves the calm ocean waves and gets her to sleep every time.
The Palisade's media system also has ‘passenger talk' which amplifies your voice through to the third-row passengers so you don't have to shout to be heard.
The Highlander model I tested also has ‘quiet mode'. I used this when the kids were asleep or busy on their tablets watching in the back because it moves the sound from the back speakers to the front with a lower maximum volume so as not to disturb little rear passengers.
The Hyundai Palisade also comes with a rearview camera…
…which you can turn on easily with a button in the central console while driving along to help you see past all the child seats!
There is a rear seat reminder when you get out of the car…
…as well as an easily visible set belt removal visual beside the media screen.
Overall the eight-seater 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a fantastic family SUV. It is definitely a contender to the new 2021 Kia Carnival and existing model Mazda CX-9 with its third-row access. legroom and boot space being up there with the best for large families. It is a great car to drive and feels luxurious in its cocooned and quiet cabin, but its turning circle does not compete with the new Kia Carnival so it is a little more cumbersome in school and supermarket car parks. The Palisade Highlander, in particular, is packed FULL of family-friendly features and either the seven-seater model or this eight-seater has a very practical and usable interior space for families.
The new 2021 Hyundai Palisade comes with six airbags and is yet to be given an ANCAP safety rating.