Need a people-mover but don’t like them? This may be the answer - SUV VEHICLE

Need a people-mover but don’t like them? This may be the answer


The 2024 Hyundai Palisade Black Ink looks like it should be driven by the Secret Service. But as Ben Zachariah discovers, there’s a level of luxury to this SUV that makes it more attractive than most people-movers.

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What we love
  • Strong exterior design
  • Subtle Art Deco influence
  • Build quality and materials
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What we don’t
  • No wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Fuel economy didn’t reach claims
  • Limited towing capability

2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink

There’s no getting away from it. If you don’t drive a ute, then there’s a very good chance you spend your days enjoying the view from the driver’s seat of your SUV.

We are a nation of utes and SUVs, but despite the fact that a minority of families never take their vehicles beyond a chopped-out gravel road, we love the idea of a capable off-roader – something that won’t leave us stranded if we do decide to venture into the Never Never.

So, in a sea of large SUVs, how do you differentiate yourself with your vehicle? Well, for Hyundai, it doesn’t pretend the Palisade is some go-anywhere apocalypse machine. No, this is a cool and sleek SUV for the family that needs a vehicle with space – up to seven seats – and chooses to do it in style.

It is, arguably, a cooler people-mover – but it’s more akin to a Chevrolet Suburban than a Kia Carnival – while still offering a small degree of off-road ability for those that do eventually find themselves beyond the limits of the gravel road.

This model is the coolest of the cool – the 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink. You can have it in any colour, as long as it’s black or white. To add to the Secret Service styling, the Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink gets a black chrome front grille, black 20-inch wheels, black badging and exterior highlights, and a black suede interior.

The Palisade was already a good-looking thing, but it received a facelift in late 2022 which took it to a whole new level. Style is subjective, of course, but there’s something about the new Palisade that walks the balance between sleek, understated, and futuristic. An argument could certainly be made for it being one of the best vehicle designs on the market today, especially when compared to some of the awkward designs coming out of Germany.

How much is a Hyundai Palisade?

The 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink sits at the very peak, with the Palisade being at the top of the SUV line-up within the Hyundai range. Or, to put it another way, it’s the best of the best (while also being the coolest of the cool).

While the two-wheel-drive Palisade Elite starts at $66,800 before on-road costs, the Calligraphy – which replaced the Highlander in the range – is priced from $75,900 before on-road costs.

Compare that to the Kia Sorento, which is priced between $59,680 and $68,590 before on-road costs, and the Mazda CX-90, which is priced from $73,800 to $92,540 before on-road costs. The Palisade sits somewhere in between the two.

This one, the Calligraphy Black Ink seven-seater, is priced from $79,988 plus on-road costs. For that money, you’re getting a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 147kW and 440Nm, with power sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Abyss Black is a premium paint, at $695, and is the only option available on the vehicle, bringing the estimated drive-away price to just under $89,300 (based on Melbourne metropolitan area – the drive-away price may differ based on your location).

However, you can also have the option of an eight-seater version of the Caligraphy Black Ink at no extra cost.

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Both the seven- and eight-seater Black Ink models can also be specified with a 3.8-litre non-turbo V6 engine, sending 217kW and 355m to the front wheels through the same eight-speed automatic transmission. While you lose the all-wheel traction of the diesel model, it’s also cheaper, at just over $85,000 drive-away (Melbourne metro).

Key details 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
Price $79,988 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Abyss Black
Options Premium paint – $695
Price as tested $80,683 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $89,293 (Melbourne)
Rivals Kia Sorento | Mazda CX-90 | Toyota Kluger

How big is a Hyundai Palisade?

Our Palisade, being the seven-seater, is arranged with 2+2+3 seats, meaning the second-row occupants get similar seats to the driver and front passenger – making it a good choice for transporting four adults in comfort. Or, up to six if necessary, with plenty of access to charging ports and cup holders throughout the cabin.

While the bench seat in the back can technically accommodate three passengers, the rear row is better suited to either three children or two adults.

It may surprise some, but out in the real world, the chauffeur vehicle of choice for celebrities and the elite isn’t a BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, or some other German sedan, but rather a Mercedes-Benz V-Class people-mover. Essentially a converted commercial van. But there’s a strong argument for the Hyundai Palisade being a suitable alternative, especially with the exclusive black suede interior, which feels like another level of class.

In fact, the quality of materials used throughout the interior is very, very good, with traditional buttons and knobs for the climate control. All the touchpoints make the occupants feel as if they’re in a superbly built cabin – without some arguably over-the-top finishes you might find with some models that try too hard. Then there’s the hint of Art Deco influence throughout. This is understated luxury, and I began to really soak it in.

The Hyundai Palisade comes in at 4995mm long, 1975mm wide, and 1750mm tall – making it just 20mm shorter than a LandCruiser 300 Series. A word of advice: measure your garage before you place your order.

Even with all three rows of seats in use, the Palisade still offers 311 litres of boot space – or more space you’d get when you pop the boot of a Mazda 3 hatchback. Drop the third row of seats and you’ve got 704 litres of space, which is over 60L more than the cargo area of a five-seater Toyota Prado (outgoing model).

Dropping the second and third row of seats, and you’ll have 1297 litres of space to play with – or more than a LandCruiser 300 Series, with 1131 litres.

2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
Seats Five
Boot volume 311L to third row
704L to second row
1297L to first row
Length 4995mm
Width 1975mm
Height 1750mm
Wheelbase 2900mm

Does the Hyundai Palisade have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The Palisade uses a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, satellite navigation, and digital DAB+ radio.

Other helpful features include a memo voice recorder, a microphone/amplifier to help speak to occupants in the back of the car without having to shout, and ‘Bluelink’ – which can link up to a smartphone app from Hyundai allowing you to remotely lock or unlock the car, check the fuel level and distance to empty, send an address to the car for the satellite navigation, as well as turning on the climate control.

For my time with the car I mostly ignored Apple CarPlay, opting to instead use Bluetooth music streaming and DAB+ radio, and letting the native Hyundai sat nav take me to where I needed to go. It all worked as described on the box, though the lack of wireless CarPlay seems like an oversight.

Sound is piped through an impressive 12-speaker Infinity premium audio system, while my phone was tucked away, charging on a wireless pad.

There’s also a Surround View Monitor with 3D view, which provides 360-degree cameras for easy parking and improved safety in driveways and car parks.

Ahead of the driver is another 12.3-inch screen, this time working as the digital instrument cluster. The beauty of this is that you can choose between a couple of analogue-style gauge designs, or a futuristic cube design. Hit the indicator and the Blind View Monitor replaces one of the gauges with a view out to the side of the car, just in case there’s a motorbike or cyclist or a small car hiding alongside you.

Is the Hyundai Palisade a safe car?

The Hyundai Palisade was awarded a five-star safety rating in 2022 by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

While the Mazda CX-90 has yet to be tested by ANCAP, another rival, the Kia Sorento, received a five-star safety rating in 2020, beating the Palisade by small margin of points for both Vulnerable Road User Protection and Safety Assist categories – scoring 63 and 89 per cent respectively for the Kia, compared to the Hyundai’s 62 and 83 per cent scores.

However, the Palisade beats the Sorento for Adult and Child Occupant Protection, being marked 84 and 88 per cent respectively, while the Kia got 82 and 85 per cent. The Palisade also gets ticks for all major safety assist technologies.

2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
ANCAP rating Five stars (tested 2022)
Safety report Link to ANCAP report

What safety technology does the Hyundai Palisade have?

The Hyundai Palisade boasts seven airbags, including two at the front, a centre-side airbag between the two front seats, front-side airbags, and side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats.

The SUV also comes standard with a strong list of active safety assist features, including ABS, brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill-start assist, anti-collision braking, trailer stability assist, and vehicle stability management.

As part of Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite, the Palisade also gets blindspot warning and collision-avoidance, driver attention warning, leading vehicle departure alert, intelligent speed assist, lane-keep assist, lane following assist, parking collision avoidance control, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, rear occupant alert, safe exit assist, and radar cruise control with stop-and-go.

While Hyundais are known for having a fairly intrusive lane-keep assist, it seems to me as if this has been better tuned in recent cars, as I didn’t find it anywhere near as annoying as on previous models.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes pedestrian, cyclist, car, and junction intervention
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes Includes stop-and-go
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert and active collision avoidance
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and active collision avoidance
Lane Assistance Yes Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Centring Assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Includes speed limit assist
Driver Attention Warning Yes Includes fatigue monitor
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front and rear sensors, 360-degree camera

How much does the Hyundai Palisade cost to run?

As with all Hyundai cars, the Palisde comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, with service intervals of 15,000km or 12 months – whichever comes first. The South Korean company also offers pre-paid service packages, costing $1467 for three years, $1956 for four years, and $2445 for five years.

Insurance for a 35-year-old male living in Chatswood, NSW, costs $2126 annually. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1467 (3 years)
$2445 (5 years)
Driving range claim 973km

Is the Hyundai Palisade fuel efficient?

Hyundai claims 7.3 litres of diesel for every 100 kilometres driven, based on a combination of highway and city driving – however, I didn’t seem to come close to that figure.

My time, which included highway, suburban, and city driving, returned an average of 9.8L/100km. Perhaps I’d been drinking a little too much Red Bull and listening to drum and bass more than usual that week, but it was disappointing not being able to hit Hyundai’s claimed city consumption figure of 9.2L/100km, even with my near daily commuting on Melbourne’s freeways.

Fuel efficiency 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
Fuel cons. (claimed) 7.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 9.8L/100km
Fuel type Diesel
Fuel tank size 71L

What is the Hyundai Palisade like to drive?

Buyers get a choice of a 3.8-litre petrol V6 sending 217kW/355Nm to the rear wheels, or a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine powering all four wheels with 147kW and 440Nm.

My Palisade was the latter, all-wheel-drive diesel version. Thanks to its eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, the vehicle rarely felt like its turbocharger was off boost, providing a sufficient thrust of torque whenever required.

I did have to double-check to make sure I had the diesel engine, because the thing was so darned quiet.

Despite the torque on-tap, the Palisade isn’t quick. It isn’t slow either, mind. It just delivers you to your destination without fuss or fanfare, and looking damn good while doing it.

I was particularly surprised at how it handles. The Palisade seems to have been designed for the North American market as an alternative to the Chevrolet Tahoe, and having spent some time in a Tahoe, I was expecting lazy, lumbering characteristics to match its size. 

But that wasn’t the case at all. It’s no sports car, of course, but the engineers have done a superb job of making the Palisade feel reasonably responsive, without being overly eager and twitchy. The steering is quite light and the body is composed through corners.

The ride is equally well tuned, absorbing potholes without the occupants being aware of them, while road noise is kept to a minimum – and is far better than some Lexus models I’ve experienced in the recent past.

Key details 2024 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink
Engine 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Power 147kW @ 3800rpm
Torque 440Nm @ 1750-2750rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed torque converter automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 71kW/t
Weight 2070kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Payload 685kg
Tow rating 2200kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.8m

Can a Hyundai Palisade tow?

The Palisade can tow up to 2200kg braked (750kg unbraked) – and has trailer stability assist as standard – though it has a maximum towball weight of just 100 kilos. 

While that will be fine for most people using a simple box trailer – the type that every uncle in every family seems to have ready to be borrowed – for those needing to haul cars or horses or caravans larger than most studio apartments, a ute-based SUV might be a better option.

Having said that, the Palisade still offers a slightly better towing capability than the Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-90, at 1900kg and 2000kg respectively.

Should I buy a Hyundai Palisade?

The Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Black Ink was a pleasant surprise – even stepping into it with high expectations. It’s a big SUV, but not as big as I had anticipated. It’s even more luxurious and stylish than I had thought it would be, but it does so in a quiet, elegant, and yet masculine way. 

As mentioned earlier, I got the impression there was some inspiration taken from the Art Deco design era. It’s got a bit of character, this car, but it’s not in your face or trying to be different for the sake of it. It’s just good at what it does, while being very good in a handful of areas that really matter.

There are some really excellent options on the market for hauling multiple passengers around in comfort – like the Hyundai Staria, the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, and Drive’s Best Family Car under $80k in 2024, the Kia Carnival.

But those are all people-movers, and there’s frankly just something much cooler about a big sleek SUV than a van. Especially one that looks as if it could be used by the Secret Service.

There is something more to the Palisade than its looks. It’s comfortable, practical, well appointed, well built, and the more I used it, the more I became impressed with its price tag. Sure, it’s not the bargain of the century, but it genuinely feels as if it should be priced at a higher category.

How do I buy a Hyundai Palisade? The next steps.

If you are considering buying the Hyundai Palisade as a family runabout, you might consider going for a lower-spec model with leather trim, as the suede found in the Calligraphy Ink is likely to be unforgiving for stains. For everyone else, the Black Ink is the one.

Hyundai’s website, found here, is good and offers a lot of detail on the car. We strongly recommend taking a test drive at a dealership before committing because personal needs and tastes can differ. You can find your closest dealership by clicking here, or you can search for both new and used Hyundai Palisades right here at Drive.com.au/cars-for-sale.

Supply of the Palisade is generally good, with a number of cars in stock and ready for delivery – though ordering a car to your specification could mean a three-month wait (which isn’t very long compared to some of its competitors).

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest Hyundai Palisade news here. 

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Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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