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The Hyundai Palisade is one of the newest SUVs on the block, but critics love it already. It’s fun to drive with a peppy powertrain and comes with generous interior space, making it a favorite for families. If it can keep this momentum, it could even outrank the best-selling Kia Telluride.

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade also recently won a coveted safety designation from the IIHS. It’s a Top Safety Pick+ winner, making it one of the safest cars on the market. How does a vehicle qualify for this award, and what else makes the Palisade so good?

What makes a Top Safety Pick+

To qualify to be designated a Top Safety Pick+, a minimum of a ‘Good’ score is required for all three overlap crash tests, plus the side collision test. Winners of this award should also have ‘Good’ scores on the head restraint and roof strength tests. For front crash prevention, the vehicle needs to have an ‘Advanced’ or ‘Superior’ score. 

This applies to both vehicle-on-vehicle crashes and vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents. ‘Good’ or ‘Acceptable’ headlights are also required on all trims of the car. Regular Top Safety Pick winners have to include ‘Acceptable’ headlights on at least one model.

The Hyundai Palisade fits the bill

According to the IIHS, the Hyundai Palisade gets good ratings across the entire slate of crashworthiness tests. It also got superior scores for both categories of crash prevention, plus a good rating for its headlights. While not official criteria for a Top Safety Pick+ award, the Palisade’s LATCH child seat anchors were only deemed acceptable.

The Hyundai Palisade is also equipped with plenty of standard advanced driver’s aids. It mitigates severe crashes with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, driver drowsiness warning, and forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection. Rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and LED headlights are also included on the base trim.

The higher trims offer front parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system. The safest Hyundai Palisade Limited retails for $45,275, over $12,000 more than the SE. Still, the standard safety features are more than enough for most drivers.

Other reasons to buy a Hyundai Palisade

Every Hyundai Palisade comes with a 291-hp V6, paired with standard front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s one of the speedier midsize SUVs out there, reaching 60 mph in 7.1 seconds during its Consumer Reports test. CR also praised the timeliness of the transmission and the smooth power delivery.

The Palisade handles well without much body lean, but CR didn’t find it to be particularly athletic. Besides unusually hard bumps, the suspension does a great job smoothing out road imperfections. CR was also impressed with Palisade’s avoidance maneuver abilities and braking performance on wet roads.

In addition to being quiet, the cabin is also aesthetically pleasing. CR notes that the padded door panels and perforated leather on all the seats are both a rarity for this class. The elevated driving position gives drivers an excellent view of the road, as well as plenty of headspace.

Even the standard cloth seats were supportive enough for CR testers, especially in the back row. These seats are also manually adjustable and the cushions are wide enough to accommodate riders of all sizes. The third row should ideally be reserved for smaller children because of the limited space and flat seat cushion. The third row is also the hardest area to access inside the Hyundai Palisade.

The Palisade has a decent selection of convenience technology on the base trim, plus a user-friendly infotainment interface. That includes smartphone integration, five USB ports, and HD radio. Springing for a Palisade Limited gets you a premium audio system, a bigger infotainment screen, and heated/ventilated seats.


The 2021 Hyundai Palisade Only Fails to Beat 1 SUV on This U.S. News List