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Despite its rookie status in the mid-size three-row SUV game, the Hyundai Palisade has quickly risen to the top ranks of this competitive market segment. Starting at around $32,000, even the entry-level SE is highly rated and well-equipped with safety features. For most buyers, however, the mid-level SEL trim is worth serious consideration, with a base price around $35,000 and standard conveniences like the wireless proximity key for hands-free starting, heated seats, and power seat adjustment in various forms, depending on options.

From there, it’s a massive jump to $46,000 for the Limited version or nearly $50,000 to snag the range-topping Calligraphy trim. However, you can spend thousands less by carefully choosing options on the SEL trim, and still end up with a luxurious thoroughly enjoyable Hyundai Palisade.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Driving On The Highway
2020 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

What makes the Hyundai Palisade SEL a smart choice?

In short, the SEL is the most customizable trim in the Palisade lineup, with multiple upholstery and second-row seat configurations. In general, the age-old question of cloth versus leather is a deeply personal lifestyle choice, with valid reasons to justify either side. That said, given the price point and market segment of this SUV, many buyers will prefer, or even expect, leather seating surfaces.

Thankfully, there are solutions within the SEL trim to provide this classic upscale touch, some more expensive than others. One is the Premium Package option from Hyundai for an extra $3,100, which adds leather upholstery along with heating for the second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and GPS navigation. If it were a standalone option, that would be an amazing deal for the extra luxury items included. Unfortunately, Hyundai requires that you also purchase a $2,400 Convenience Package in order to select the Premium option.

While Convenience Package does bring stylish 20” alloy wheels, self-leveling rear suspension, and a hands-free liftgate to the table, it also spikes the total cost to over $41,000. If you want factory leather with a three-passenger bench seat in the second row for maximum occupant capacity, this is the only way to achieve it. The bench seat is a $0 option, but surprisingly it’s not available on the Limited or Calligraphy trim levels.

Can you get leather seats in a new Palisade for under $40,000?

2020 Hyundai Palisade Second Row Captain's Chairs
Hyundai Palisade second-row captain’s chairs with leather | Hyundai

Yes, it is possible to have a new leather-equipped Hyundai Palisade SEL without crossing the $40,000 mark, with a bit of research and creative thinking. Many car dealers offer seat upgrades from aftermarket vendors like Roadwire. Sometimes the leather upholstery upgrade has been pre-installed, so the vehicle can be purchased off the lot and driven home the same day.

If not, you can typically add a custom leather option to the deal and it will be installed before you pick up the vehicle. Because this route doesn’t necessarily require the extra $2,400 Convenience Package, it’s a smart way to obtain a leather-equipped Hyundai Palisade SEL for under $40k. That is, assuming you manage to decline some of the profit-enhancing extras offered by the dealer’s finance manager while signing the paperwork.

In any form, the Hyundai Palisade is a compelling mid-size SUV and consistently appears on lists of the best available family cars. By choosing the SEL trim, buyers can choose from an array of traditional luxury features, without being forced to pay for extravagances they don’t necessarily want or need in the vehicle.


Riding in Comfort and Tranquility Is Standard on the 2021 Hyundai Palisade