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Hyundai Palisade multiplies the tech

The flagship SUV’s stand-out technology is not necessarily about what it does, but how much of it that it does, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

What is it?

At the CES 2023 tech expo in Las Vegas in January, Hyundai demonstrated a gorgeously futuristic holographic entertainment console for its Palisade SUV. Of course, such tech takes years to reach the production lines, so we thought it would be useful try out the 2023 Hyundai Palisade to see if it really needs that on-board enhancement.

The Palisade is a full-size SUV that offers a comfortable and luxurious ride for up to eight passengers. Its technology features are geared for family road trips.

The stand-out tech feature is not necessarily what it does, but how much of it that it does: it allows simultaneous Bluetooth connections; and provides no less than seven USB outlets – supplying all three rows of seating with recharge power. Front and second-row seats in the 7-seater derivative are ventilated, while both front and second-row seats are heated in both derivatives. In short, it multiplies the usefulness of on-board technology by distributing it more evenly among the occupants.

The vehicle presents the driver with 7-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and the front passenger with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. Two Bluetooth devices can be connected simultaneously to the infotainment system, for example allowing the driver to be connected for phone calls and a passenger for audio streaming.

A panoramic sunroof, hands-free power liftgate and wireless charging pad round out the obvious tech.

Hyundai’s Smart Sense technology comes standard, with safety features that include Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Adapative Cruise Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Safe Exit Assist, and Rear Occupant Alert (ROA). Add an excellent 360 -degree surround view monitor, and it is hard to see how holograms will enhance the driving and safety experience any further.

For such a large vehicle, with three rows of occupants, one could argue that its most important safety feature is the ROA: it monitors the rear seats using an ultrasonic sensor that helps to detect movements of children or pets. The system also reminds drivers to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle. If it detects movement in the rear seats after the driver leaves the vehicle and locks the doors, it will sound the horn and flash the car’s lights. It also activates if children accidentally lock themselves in the car.

It goes even further: the Safe Exit Assist system, which uses radar to detect cars approaching from the rear, warns passengers who are about to exit the vehicle. If a passenger attempts to open the door when a car is approaching from behind, a visual and audio alarm on the centre cluster alerts the driver. if the driver tries to deactivate the Electronic Child Safety Lock feature, Safe Exit Assist overrides the driver and keeps the rear locked until the other vehicle has passed. 

Of course, it’s a massive vehicle, at almost 5 metres, but the 2,2-litre turbodiesel CRDi engine, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, means it is no slouch, even if it lacks in agility, as one would expect. However, driver-selectable modes include HTRAC Smart, Eco, Comfort and Sport, which makes it adaptable to road and weather conditions. The Sport mode sends more torque to the rear wheels, for a more agile feel when needed.

Hyundai says it made a special effort to reduce noise, vibration and harshness levels, “with generous under-hood insulation, special sound-deadening carpets and powertrain tuning that delivers a smooth, linear response”. The experience on the highway was an unexpectedly quiet ride, allowing the sound system to come into its own. 

The Palisade takes this thinking a step further, with a Rear Seat Quiet Mode system that separates the audio in the driver’s row from the second- and third-row speakers. Ideal for letting the kids carry on sleeping in the back.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of adjustability. The second-row seats are spacious enough for adults to sit comfortably, even with the third row in use. However, the law of diminishing returns kicks in as one sits further from the front, as the third-row seats are a bit tight for adults. You wouldn’t use it for a rugby tour, for example.

The “one-touch” second row seat allows one-touch movement of the seat forward and out of the way for easy access to the third-row seats, making up for discomfort with convenience. 

What could be improved? It could do with a larger infotainment screen, and perhaps an additional screen for the second row. Yes, that would be an expensive luxury, but then this is a luxury SUV. 

For now, however, that holographic display would be just too much.

Why does it matter?

Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director at Hyundai Automotive South Africa, says: “The Hyundai Palisade boasts the design and luxury features worthy of Hyundai’s new flagship SUV, with high levels of all-road, all-weather capability, advanced safety technology, roominess and efficiency. This Hyundai SUV is the ultimate family vehicle for practical, comfortable daily use and memory-making cross-country road trips.”

What does it cost?

The Palisade is available in five exterior colours – White Cream, Shimmering Silver, Graphite Grey, Moonlight Blue and Abyss Black Pearl – and two derivatives with different seating options:

Palisade R2.2 7-seater Elite (auto) R 999 900

Palisade R2.2 8-seater Elite (auto) R 999 900

The package includes a 7-year/20, 000km manufacturer’s warranty; a 7-year/105,000km service plan; and roadside assistance for 7 years or a distance of 150,000km.

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