Don’t sleep on the new Hyundai Palisade. It gained a mid-cycle refresh that takes luxury comfort and off-roading capabilities to the next level. We jumped at the opportunity to take the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy off-roading and learned why the competition should be nervous.
What comes with the 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT?
The 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT isn’t just playing dress-up. It provides significant mechanical and software upgrades to get your further on the trails. We spent time off-roading around the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, to see what it can really do.
The XRT trim increases the base price from $34,950 to $40,250 and adds 20-inch black alloy wheels, roof rails, unique front and rear bumpers, skid plates, and black badging. The tow hitch has a hidden bumper cover too.
Reinforcements were made to the floor and B-pillar to improve its safety, a new frequency sensor valve reduces rough impacts and enhances stability at high speeds, and the new tow mode optimizes acceleration for towing.
Plus, the cabin is peaceful thanks to more sound absorption materials, acoustic laminated glass, and revised bearing spec on MDPS.
What’s driving the Palisade like?
Driving the 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy is comfortable and fun. It has a 7.9-inch ground clearance, so clearing obstacles was a concern. However, the skid plates protect the undercarriage, and we managed not to scrape anything in the woods.
The Palisade has a 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.6 seconds. It had plenty of power to climb over steep inclines covered in slippery mud.
But if we needed extra traction, we could activate the locking differential. It proved more stability and control over muddy inclines, down steep sections of the trail, and even while splashing through the puddles. It was stable and didn’t slip, even while accelerating over obstacles.
The 360-degree camera system displays what obstacles are in front and around you, making it easy to navigate through tight areas. The Palisade is equipped with hill descent control if needed. Also, the brakes are strong, confident, and predictable.
You can also use the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and turn off traction control to make drives a little more engaging.
The Palisade has an incredibly smooth suspension and a peacefully quiet interior. We didn’t even hear the shots from the gun range nearby unless the windows and sunroof were open.
Plus, it’s comfortable. The Ergo Motion massage seat automatically turns on after 30 minutes to cushion the pelvic area and back. Air cells placed in the cushion provide support to reduce fatigue. It felt invigorating after experiencing some fatigue while navigating through the woods.
There are ventilated seats in the first and second rows. Plus, the Hyundai Palisade has class-exclusive heated seats in the third row.
What’s new for the 2023 Palisade?
Aside from adding the 2023 Hyundai Palisade XRT trim, this SUV got an updated look. There are vertical LED lights in the front, it has a wider stance, and a prominent cascade grill with a parametric shield.
Longer front and shorter rear overhangs give the side profile more shape, there are 18-inch and 20-inch wheel designs, and a longer hood with full volume fenders. The rear end also has vertical lights.
The new 12.3-inch infotainment system has attractive graphics and works quickly. Plus, the digital gauge cluster has been improved, and the Wi-fi hotspot can connect up to five devices at once.
There is a full-view digital rearview mirror, blind spot view monitor, remote smart parking assist, forward collision avoidance assist, highway driving assist, rear cross-traffic avoidance, and more.
We can’t wait to spend more time behind the wheel of the new Hyundai Palisade. It made a great first impression in the wild!