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There are a lot of SUVs on the market these days, especially from bigger brands like Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai. Drivers like many choices, which is why there are so many segments to choose from within the sport utility vehicle category. However, one of the most popular SUVs in 2023 only has one engine choice. Is the 2023 Hyundai Palisade missing out on extra sales due to its streamlined engine approach?

Using sales data from GoodCarBadCar, the list of popular SUVs in 2023 is quite long. So far, in 2023, the Ford Explorer is the best-selling SUV, followed by the Toyota Highlander. However, the Hyundai Palisade is also on the list.

When Edmunds reviewed the 2023 Palisade, the popular SUV earned a high score in all of the categories. It is relatively new but has earned praise from experts across the board. For 2023, the Hyundai Palisade comes in five trim levels. These are SE, SEL, XRT, Limited, and Calligraphy.

SE$37,2353.8L V6
SEL$40,2353.8L V6
XRT$41,5853.8L V6
Limited$48,7853.8L V6
Calligraphy$51,1853.8L V6
2023 Hyundai Palisade trims

While there are major differences between the trim levels, all of the options come with the same 3.8L V6. This gets 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, along with 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Would the Palisade be even more popular if it had more engine types to choose from? For instance, the Ford Explorer has three engine choices and sells about three times as many vehicles.

Ford’s popular Explorer SUV offers many engine types and trim levels. These engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and come with a rear-wheel drive standard. All-wheel drive is available on all trim levels except for the Timberline, which comes with AWD standard.

Base$38,3552.3L four-cylinder
XLT$40,1652.3L four-cylinder
ST-Line$47,6002.3L four-cylinder
Timberline$48,6652.3L four-cylinder
Limited$50,5752.3L four-cylinder
ST$51,6003.0L turbo V6
Limited Hybrid$54,6003.3L V6 hybrid
Platinum Hybrid$55,4153.3L V6 hybrid
King Ranch$55,6703.0L turbo V6
Platinum$55,8153.0L turbo V6

Horsepower ranges from 300 and 310 lb-ft of torque on the 2.3L four-cylinder up to 400 hp, 415 lb-ft of torque on the 3.0L V6. Ford’s hybrid 3.3L V6 has 318 hp, which is still enough to power the Explorer around town.

According to those GoodCarBadCar numbers, the Ford Explorer sold 58,061 in Q1 2023, compared to the Hyundai Palisades’ 19,602 sales. While the sales aren’t equally split among the engine choices, it certainly helps cast a wider net of shoppers.

These SUVs from Ford and Hyundai are best-sellers for a reason

Even if the Hyundai Palisade isn’t the most popular SUV on the market in 2023, drivers seem happy with it overall. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2023 Hyundai Palisade its Top Safety Pick Plus award. It earned high marks in all main crashworthiness tests except for the moderate overlap front updated test.

The IIHS gave the 2023 Ford Explorer its Top Safety Pick award, with high scores on all of the crashworthiness tests. One area where the Explorer lacks is the headlights segment, only earning an acceptable rating on the Platinum trim. This trim uses LED projector headlights that provide better visibility. The other trim levels with LED reflector headlights earned a lower score.

The Ford Explorer and Hyundai Palisade are big sellers because of the many standard features, high safety scores, and history of reliability. Would Hyundai sell more of the Palisade if it offered more engine choices? Possibly. Would the brand sell as many SUVs as Ford? Probably not. These days, most automakers are switching to electric or at least hybrid vehicles, and Ford has a head start on that. The Explorer has a long history on the market that the Palisade can’t surpass yet, but there is no telling what the future holds for this popular SUV.


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