Crossover & Midsize

Toyota Highlander or Hyundai Palisade Which is the Better SUV for Your Family?

These three-row family SUVs both offer similar features. The 2020 Toyota Highlander boasts the typical Toyota reliability and resale value. The 2020 Hyundai Palisade on the other hand comes with the legendary Hyundai warranty. But which is actually the better SUV for your family?

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade SUV is unveiled at AutoMobility LA, the trade show ahead of the LA Auto Show
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade | ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

When the team at Cars.com originally compared the Palisade with 6 other SUVs in its class it gleaned the top spot. The Highlander, however, was not in the comparison. So the team went on to pit them against each other one on one to see which one is the better choice.

Cars.com reviewed them both side by side. In the video below, we get to see these three-row family SUVs go head to head in a competition to see which one comes out on top. Spoiler alert––the Toyota SUV doesn’t take this win. Here’s why.

Toyota Highlander complaints

The Toyota Highlander SUV isn’t necessarily a terrible choice when it comes to the three-row family SUV. However, there are a few compelling reasons why some families may prefer the Hyundai Palisade SUV instead. For Cars.com, the 2020 Toyota Highlander fell behind the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.

The Toyota Highlander SUV has more hard plastics and no feeling of luxury. Even the nicer trim level seen in the Cars.com $51,112 tester Highlander has an interior that the video hosts agree you’re “not going to confuse this Toyota with a Lexus.” The Highlander earns praise for its luxury and it’s said to compare to its luxurious Genesis counterpart.

The 2020 Toyota Highlander, surprisingly a competitor to the Acura MDX, parked near a lake
The 2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

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The Toyota SUV wins a few

In the video, the hosts also discuss cabin noise. The Highlander does beat the Palisade in terms of road noise at speed on the highway. While the Toyota Highlander SUV can be a little loud in the rain, but overall the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a noisier three-row family SUV.

2020 Toyota Highlander Interior
2020 Toyota Highlander Interior | Toyota

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One more place that the Cars.com $47,950 Toyota Highlander tester wins here is in terms of safety features. In fact, the Highlander has available rear emergency braking and curb adaptive headlights. The Hyundai Palisade SUV doesn’t offer these safety features.

The Hyundai Palisade stays on top

Between these three-row family SUVs, the Hyundai Palisade wins in terms of luxurious cabin materials. In addition, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade SUV beats the 2020 Toyota Highlander in terms of space. The second row and the third row are both roomier and more accommodating in the Palisade. In addition, there are USB ports in the third row that the Toyota Highlander doesn’t have.

2020 Hyundai Palisade interior
2020 Hyundai Palisade interior | Hyundai

Team members at Cars.com tested the seats for ease of access and folding down for cargo space. Plus, various types of car seats were installed in each vehicle to test the three-row family SUVs with child safety seats. The Hyundai Palisade wins in all of these categories.

The better three-row family SUV

Overall, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a better and more well-rounded three-row family SUV. The 2020 Toyota Highlander is still a good SUV, but the Palisade may actually have a little more to offer your family. It’s always a good idea not to take anyone’s word for it, however.

2020 Hyundai Palisade on the road.
2020 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

After all, you will be the one driving and living with the one you choose. Still, according to Cars.com, the Hyundai Palisade is the 2020 family SUV to beat. It’s a clear winner in the segment.