What’s the Difference Between a Palisade SE And SEL?

The Hyundai Palisade is among the trendiest ways to haul up to eight people. As you’re shopping around, you’ll see that the 2021 Palisade is available in four different trims and has many customization options. We’ve noticed that buyers often ask: what’s the difference between a Palisade SE and SEL?

What you get with the Palisade SE trim

a white sideview of a 2021 Hyundai Palisade
2021 Hyundai Palisade | Hyunda

Since the Palisade is a luxury-focused SUV, you get a lot, even on the base model. The entry-level SE trim offers plenty of conveniences. And with a starting price of $32,525, it presents good value too.

The Palisade comes with eight seats and cloth upholstery. When it first debuted for 2020, many critics praised this Hyundai for its impressive list of in-car tech that can make driving easier and more fun, too. Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Reviewers appreciate that this SUV comes with five easy-to-access USB ports.

Snap view of the Palisade's driver's seat and infotainment display.
Driver’s seat of the Palisade | Hyundai

You’ll also like that the SE model comes with a suite of active safety features. These include driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, and smart cruise control. Some of the most popular accessories buyers add-on are mudguards ($120) and a tow hitch ($395). 

What does the SEL trim offer?

2020 Hyundai Palisade is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

You’ll want to step up to the Palisade’s SEL trim for a few more amenities and frills. The SEL trim adds heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink universal transceiver. Furthermore, more safety features are standard, including safe exit assist and blind-spot monitoring. The SEL model begins at $35,175.

Palisade with a beige interior.
A Palisade with the captain’s chair configuration | Hyundai

You may also gravitate toward the SEL trim for the available packages. Opt for the Convenience Package ($2400) to add items such as 20-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, wireless charging, and a rear occupant alert feature. There’s the Premium Package ($3100) for a more upscale feel, which includes a heated steering wheel, leather seat surfaces, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation. The SEL also offers a captain’s chair configuration at no additional charge.  

Driving the 2021 Hyundai Palisade 

An image of a 2021 Hyundai Palisade on the road.
2021 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

The Hyundai Palisade Is a Safe Alternative to a Minivan

All Palisade models feature the same 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic. This SUV has earned acclaim for its being a smooth, amiable performer. Its V6 is pretty quick to accelerate, and reviewers appreciate its silky transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is available. 

Many reviewers like the Palisade for its smoothness and, of course, for its style. The main downside to its performance is that handling could be sharper, as Consumer Reports highlighted. Plus, the Palisade’s fuel economy ratings are only average for the midsize SUV class. 

There are some other things to consider before you buy a Palisade. The model did receive above-average ratings for predicted reliability, but there have been some quirks. For instance, Hyundai recently uncovered why some Palisades stink and recently issued a service bulletin to eliminate the odor-releasing agents. However, Some have been skeptical of how Hyundai plans to fix this smelly issue.