The 2020 Hyundai Palisade: The Hardest Thing You’ll Have to Get Used To

The Palisade is Hyundai’s biggest and best third-row SUV. Debuting for the 2020 model year, the Palisade seats up to eight passengers and offers the same modern features we’ve come to expect from Hyundai. But there is one thing about the 2020 Hyundai Palisade that new owners may just have to get used to.

The worst part about the 2020 Hyundai Palisade

The most disappointing thing about the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is not its mechanics or how it drives. In fact, experts agree that the newest Palisade is nice to drive; it’s just not so easy to use. According to Consumer Reports, its test drive of the 2020 Palisade proved challenging, mostly due to a lack of usability. The experts at Consumer Reports found the newest Palisade’s interior more difficult to work than others in the segment as well as other top-notch Hyundai models.

What makes the 2020 Hyundai Palisade’s usability flawed is “the difficulty to see and use common controls.” Buttons for media and infotainment are in the center stack, with “gray on gray” coloring, which makes them blend in with their surroundings and difficult to read. Even with the backlight provided after turning on headlights, buttons are still difficult to make out clearly. Door locks and driver-side door controls are also difficult to see and use without too much effort.

While people and experts seem to enjoy the large buttons and location of the push-button shifter, using it requires “extra attention by the driver.” Though Hyundai made an effort to design the interior with aesthetics in mind, “shifting can’t easily be done by feel, requiring the driver to look down to ensure the proper button is pushed and engaged.” Even experts say that drivers of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade “must visually confirm that they’ve hit the right button when shifting, which can be frustrating.”

Where else does the 2020 Palisade fall behind?

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade received the worst ratings by Consumer Reports in the areas of third-row seat comfort, third-row access, routine handling, and emergency handling. Though it does a “decent job of absorbing bumps,” Consumer Reports experts also found that handling “doesn’t feel agile due to lackluster steering and some body roll during routine driving.”

According to Car and Driver, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade’s transmission is sufficient, but it “gets flustered when driving up hills.” Experts also believe that wind noise from the SUV’s doors could be much improved, as well as its acceleration for its size.

What Hyundai got right in its latest Palisade

Attendees get a closer look at the 2020 Hyundai Palisade SUV after it was unveiled at AutoMobility LA
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Though Consumer Reports was quick to judge the Palisade’s usability, the 2020 model year still seems to impress. It is ranked second out of all-new midsize SUVs, falling only behind the Kia Telluride (not by far). Regardless of where it falls against the competition, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade received an ultra-impressive overall score by Consumer Reports of 87 (out of 100).

Considering the highest score given by Consumer Reports for any 2020 model is 92, the Palisade is ranked as one of the best vehicles on the market. Though the experts were disappointed in some usability aspects of the Palisade, it still receives a Consumer Reports’ road test score of 88 (out of 100). The newest Palisade also comes with a predicted owner satisfaction rate of five (out of five).

On the road test, Consumer Reports experts were overall impressed with the Hyundai Palisade, giving it a five (out of five) in transmission, noise, rear-seat comfort, front/rear access, and climate system categories. It receives a decent score of four in acceleration, braking, headlights, ride comfort, driving position, usability, and interior finish categories.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is also rated as one of the safest 2020 model year SUVs. It received the award of Top Safety Pick by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), receiving top safety scores in every category (when equipped with the proper headlights).