2020 Hyundai Palisade vs. Toyota Highlander: It’s a Close Contest

The Toyota Highlander has been a longtime best-seller in the midsize SUV class. This Toyota now faces more competition than ever, thanks to newcomers like the Hyundai Palisade. If you’re in the market for a new midsize SUV, you might be wondering: how does the 2020 Palisade compare to the 2020 Highlander?

Driving the 2020 Palisade vs. the Toyota Highlander 

2020 Hyundai Palisade on the road.
2020 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

Neither the Palisade nor the Highlander is the sportiest options in the class. These two models appeal to drivers who prioritize a gentle, comfortable ride. Honestly, there aren’t many distinctions between how these models perform. To put this in perspective,  Consumer Reports gave Palisade an 88 in its 2020 road test for the vehicle; the organization gave the Highlander an 86. CR’s two-point difference has more to do with these SUV’s interiors.

The all-new  2020 Palisade features a single powertrain option. All models have a 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic. Furthermore, critics favor the Palisade for its potent engine and smooth handling. This Hyundai returned 21 mpg overall in CR’s road test, which is average for the class. 

2020 Toyota Highlander in a park
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

With the 2020 Highlander, you get a tad more power. Toyota completely redesigned the Highlander for 2020, and the SUV has a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and an eight-speed automatic. Like, the Palisade, the Highlander isn’t the quickest in the class.

The Highlander is also on par for fuel economy; it returned a combined 22 mpg in CR’s road test. However, the Highlander offers another variant to those who prioritize fuel economy. The hybridized Highlander gets up to 36 mpg overall. At this point, there isn’t much talk of the Palisade being available as a hybrid. 

Cabin comforts 

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Depending on the configuration, both the Highlander and the Palisade can seat up to eight people. These three-row SUVs are nice and roomy, but the Palisade is more generous on interior space. Each row in the Palisade is spacious, and it’s also above average regarding cargo space. Meanwhile, the Highlander’s third-row is on the cramped size, and its trunk is average.

The Highlander and Palisade are also good choices if you want a luxury-focused model at a bargain price. Both come standard with cloth upholstery with leather available as an upgrade. And if you identify as a tech-lover, you will be able to find happiness in either the Highlander or the Palisade. 

Both models come standard with easy-to-use infotainment systems that include an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Highlander comes with a few more freebies in this department, such as a wifi hotspot, Amazon Alexa, and a Toyota’s intercom system, Driver Easy Speak. Regarding advanced safety, the Highlander and the Palisade offer similar gadgets, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assistance functions.

The final verdict

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Toyota’s Highlander and Hyundai’s Palisade offer similar driving experiences and features. The Highlander will appeal to those who value Toyota’s excellent track record of reliability and comfort. Drivers who want a vehicle that’s newer and flashier will gravitate toward the Palisade. Pricing also plays a role here. A 2020 Highlander begins at $34,600, while the 2020 Palisade starts at $31,975.