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Report: Hyundai Admits Palisade Interiors Stink Like You-Know-What

That “new car smell” isn’t supposed to smell like this. Owners say it is a combo of dirty socks and bad produce. Actually, they say it smells like something else but we won’t go there. After a few thousand miles of blissful driving, this “smell” starts wafting through the cabin of new Hyundai Palisade SUVs. Ugh! Who cut the cheese? Now Hyundai admits that their Palisade interiors smell like ****.

Great! Admitting something bad you’ve done puts you on the road to recovery. But the other part is to do something about it. That is Hyundai’s dilemma now. Yes, it knows it has a problem but the origins of the problem and exactly what it is remains a mystery right now. 

“We are aware of the concern”

My Palisade smells like dirty socks and garlic!

“We are aware of the concern and are currently in the midst of the investigation, which includes identifying and validating a fix,” Hyundai said in a statement to The Drive. “Once a repair method is confirmed effective a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) will be released to provide direction to our dealer body on how to resolve the concern.”

Hmmm. Hyundai seems awfully casual about the awful smell. Is it a bad batch of vinyl? Maybe something rancid got mixed into the foam seats? Or that padded dash got padded with someone’s pastrami sandwich? Did something die in it? But it is not an isolated incident. There are lots of complaints on the Palisade forums

It looks like it cannot be pinned down to one color of interior. Black interiors seem to be what you mostly see on the forums but then there is the lady with a “light interior” that gets sick to her stomach if she is in the Palisade for a long period. Yikes!

Some owners think it comes from the seat belts

White Palisade: Pure as the driven snow

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What we see is that leather interiors are releasing the most odors as cloth interiors seem to be free of stink. A Cars post says some owners think it comes from the seat belts. Some owners were resigned to living with it until they checked the forums. 

Some owners have an “interior treatment/protectant” cleaning from the dealer. The smell comes back almost immediately. Many owners say they must drive their Palisade with the windows down it is so bad. A few owners have actually turned their SUVs back to the dealer for a new one with the same result after a few hundred miles.

A few have suggested mildew from air conditioning systems

2020 Hyundai Palisade interior
2020 Hyundai Palisade interior | Hyundai

It’s one of those mysteries of the universe we may never know what it is. A few have suggested mildew from air conditioning systems. But some had the smell appear in the winter without having ever used the air. Still, others are pointing a finger at the “interior treatment/protectant” they paid extra to have applied. We wonder why a new car would need this. And if they do, why isn’t it done to every car from the factory? 

This is a mystery for the ages and once Hyundai finally comes up with an answer we’ll pass it along. Until then bring along that lavender-scented potty spray you have next to your toilet. You’re going to need it.