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BabyDrive Verdict

This is the review so many of you have all been waiting for… The all-new 2021 Hyundai Palisade! It's Hyundai's new large SUV, available as a seven or eight-seater depending on your preferences for your family. Let's get stuck in and see how it stacks up as a BabyDrive…

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander family car review

The Hyundai Palisade is a palatially large SUV, great looking on the exterior and the interior is beautiful with a black suede ceiling in the Highlander model I tested.

The Hyundai Palisade is available in two models. The base model from $60,000, is available as an eight-seater with a bench seat in the second-row and black leather upholstery. Or the top-spec Palisade Highlander from $71,000 is available as an eight-seater with a bench seat in the second-row or as a seven-seater with two individual captains chairs in the second-row, with a choice of beige or red leather interior.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with child seat in third row

Both are available with either a 2wd V6 petrol engine or AWD 4 cylinder diesel engine, which is the version I tested.

The top-spec Highlander is $11k more than the base model and comes with a lot of extras like heated and cooled seats in the front and second row, window blinds, powered tailgate, wireless phone charger, safe exit assist, 360-degree cameras and cameras that show the blind spot when you indicate.

The seven-seat Palisade Highlander tested here has top tether anchorages in the back of both of the captain's chairs in the second-row and ISOFix points in both of the captain's chairs too.

The rear doors open really wide, which meant I could install child seats easily in both the captain's chairs and have the walkthrough to the third-row.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with child seats in second and third rows

In the third row, there are two top tether anchorages in the central and passenger side seat of the car and one set of ISOFix points that are positioned between the two seats.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander child seat top tether anchorages in third row

Having the top tether anchorages in the third-row gives you the option of positioning your child seat in either the side or central position. I found in the central position you could fit a passenger on both sides of the child seat. I found there was only room for one child seat at a time in the third row.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with child seat in third row

We plan to test a Palisade with the bench seat in the second-row to see if it fit three child seats across. We reckon it will, as the Palisade is actually as wide as the new 2021 Kia Carnival.

Legroom is good in the Hyundai Palisade. I found there is ample legroom in the third row it is very spacious for all passengers with plenty of kick room.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with ISOFIX anchorages for child seat in third row

We found we could fit a 182cm passenger in the third row with a forward-facing child seat in the second-row and a 184cm+ driver in front. Or with a rear-facing child seat on the passenger side, a 180cm passenger in the third row and a 182cm passenger can sit in the front.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with three child seats installed

The Palisade Highlander has a double sunroof so the little rear passengers in the back get a great view of the sky as you are driving along too. The blind over the sunroof is also super thick and completely blocks out light, unlike some cars!

Storage is great throughout the Hyundai Palisade. There are a few things that I especially LOVE! Firstly is the second-row cup holders. There are two built into the doors and 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.

Secondly, underneath the central console box is a fantastic shelf which is perfect for putting your handbag. FINALLY! No more handbags in the passenger footwell! Or on the front passenger seat setting off the seatbelt alarm! This would also have been perfect in my pre-kids life when I'd change into my heels when I reached my destination so I would have driven in my flats and kept my heels there!

There are cup holders in the third-row too and passengers in both rear rows of seats are well looked after with USB points…

…and air-conditioning vents in the ceiling to keep the rear passengers comfortable. There are controls in the back of the central console box, as well as being able to control it from the front media system in case you have rear passengers with fiddly fingers. There are also heated and cooled seat controls in the back of the central console box, which you hope little ones can't reach to adjust with their toes.

The rear doors have built-in widow blinds in the Highlander model, which I love for protecting little rear passengers from the sun, without worrying about any aftermarket products falling off while driving along.

Also to protect your rear passengers there are curtain head airbags that extend to all three rows of seats which is fantastic.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with pram and shopping in boot

Boot space in the new 2021 Hyundai Palisade is very good when using only the second row of rear seats. It will hold 21 shopping bags, which is one more than the Nissan Pathfinder, two more than the Toyota Kluger, four more than the Mazda CX-9 but still less than the previous model Kia Carnival that held 24 shopping bags (we are still to fully test the boot capacity of the new 2021 Carnival but Kia says it's even bigger than before).

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander space for shopping in boot

When using all three rows of seats, the new 2021 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 previous model 2019 Kia Carnival will hold ten (we are still to fully test the boot capacity of the new 2021 Ka Carnival.)

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.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander space for side by side twin stroller and shopping in boot with all three rows of seats in use

A very large size dog will fit nicely in the boot of the new 2021 Hyundai Palisade when you're only using the first two rows of seats or a small or medium-sized dog when you are using all three rows of seats.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander space for dogs in boot

The media system in the new 2021 Hyundai Palisade is lovely and simple to use.

It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is great for little passengers listening to some of the apps like ABC Kids Listen etc while driving.

The Hyundai Palisade has ‘Sounds of Nature' within the media system like the new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, new 2021 Kia Carnival and new 2021 Kia Sorento. This selection of prerecorded white noise is fantastic for calming little passengers and it's at your fingertips! 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 got her to sleep every time.

The Palisade's media system also has ‘driver talk' which amplifies your voice through to the third-row passengers so you don't have to shout to be heard. We enjoyed using this function for a bit of in-car family karaoke! We're so on-board with the sea shanties!

The Highlander model I tested also has ‘quiet mode'. This is useful for if the kids are asleep or they are busy on their tablets watching in the back because it moves the sound from the back speakers to the very front with a lower maximum volume so as not to disturb little rear passengers.

The new 2021 Hyundai Palisade also comes with a rearview camera which you can turn on easily with a button in the central console.

Being a large SUV, when the Hyundai Palisade is loaded up with child seats in the back, this camera view is handy for rear visibility while driving. As are the indicator camera images that come up in the driver's screen which allow you great visibility down the side of the car and confidence when turning or changing lanes.

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 new 2021 Hyundai Palisade is an epic seven or eight-seater SUV. It is definitely a contender to the new 2021 Kia Carnival and existing model Mazda CX-9. 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 version has a very practical and usable boot space for families when using all three rows and has great legroom throughout.

The new 2021 Hyundai Palisade comes with six airbags and is yet to be given an ANCAP safety rating.

 

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BabyDrive Indepth

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2 Comments

  1. Although the towing capacity is 2200 the tow all download weight (how much weight the tow ball can take) is only 100kgs which won’t hold even a little jayco camper trailer. We were so close to buying one but this was a deal breaker for us. A tow ball download weight should be a minimum of 10% of what the Vehicle can tow.

    • Yes that’s not ideal! As with the previous Santa Fe it’s likely Hyundai will come out with an upgrade pack to increase the ball weight, at extra cost of course

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