Base Camp: 2020 Hyundai Palisade
Welcome to our series of posts in which we take a look at the entry-level models of popular vehicles on sale in Canada today. If we feel they represent good value, we'll tell you. If they don't, we'll build one that does.
Hyundai carved a niche for itself in this country by selling sensibly-priced vehicles laden with features generally found on competing cars costing hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Even though the brand has been forging paths into higher priced territory lately, this approach remains one of their cornerstones.
Enter the 2020 Hyundai Palisade. An 8-passenger crossover, it’s one of the largest rigs ever built by the Korean-based company. Its entry-level trim is called the Essential, priced at $38,699 and showing up with standard equipment like a free-breathing 291hp V6 engine and front-wheel drive. Sending power to all four wheels is a $2000 option on this trim.
Keeping your drive on the straight and narrow is a raft of active safety equipment, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and a forward collision avoidance system. Tech is also onboard to mitigate trailer sway, a bonus in a vehicle capable of hauling 5000 pounds.
Tires are 18-inches in diameter, keeping some semblance of affordability when replacement time rolls around. Projector headlamps with LED accents appear up front, along with colour-keyed side mirrors caps and door handles. No obvious visual references to your thrifty buying decisions here, then.
Palisade is marketed directly at families, with even this base model peppered with 7 USB ports and a quartet of 12V outlets. This should quell bleatings from backseat urchins about not having any place to ‘plug in’. Infotainment is handled by way of an 8-inch display which plays well with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. An innovative Quite Mode permits rear seat passengers to enjoy silence (or headphones) while the parental units in the front row keep abreast of grim news from CBC.
Second-row controls for heating and air conditioning? Check. A heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters? Check. Heated front seats and side mirrors? Yewbetcha. Economies of scale are in full force with the Palisade, granting the base trim a bundle of features typically reserved for snazzier models.
What We’d Pick
The entry-level Essential is an attractive package if one is willing to do without the likes of leather seating surfaces and a sunroof. Its colour palette is muted, with Hyper White being the sole $0 option, but that’s true for the entire Palisade lineup. As for the optional all-wheel drive, we’d save the two grand and buy a top-tier set of winter tires.