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Refreshed Hyundai Palisade: Earning its stripes

It's brimming with a bold outstanding design and packed with convenience features. I got to drive the Palisade in KwaZulu-Natal recently. It was a combination of routes as we headed out from the Hyundai dealership in Pinetown, through morning N3 traffic into Comrades Marathon territory of the Valley of a thousand hills and towards the Tala Game reserve.
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

Undulating, twisty and winding roads. Then onto gravel dust and dirt with some telling potholes. The eight-seater Palisade was really up to all that I threw at it. A remarkable ride indeed.

It’s refreshed and is extremely quiet on the road, with generous under-hood insulation, special sound-deadening carpets and powertrain tuning that delivers smooth, linear response.

For Mzansi

The South African range consists of the seven-seater Palisade R2.2 Elite and the eight-seater Palisade R2.2 Elite – both equipped with Hyundai’s H-Trac All-Wheel Drive system and a frugal 2,2l turbodiesel engine that delivers its power via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Bold new exterior features

The 2023 Palisade has undergone several design treatments that give it a premium, bold appearance. They include:

  • New front and rear bumper fascia;
  • A new front grille;
  • New headlamps and daytime running lights; and
  • A new multi-spoke alloy wheel design.
Image supplied
Image supplied

The design of the 2023 Palisade conveys dignified refinement with clear differentiation worthy of a flagship SUV. The wider, cascading black chrome grille contains rugged parametric shield elements for a premium appearance. The headlight signature features new vertically connected LED composite lights that frame the grille, creating a sharp-edged, technical appeal.


New, 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels fill the wheel openings for a premium flagship presence. New detailing on the lower front skid plate element further conveys a rugged demeanour. The powerful, extended hood profile creates an impressive road presence, while bold C-pillars and panoramic side glass graphics convey generous third-row spaciousness. The enhanced rear view emphasizes a wide, stable stance via vertical LED tail lamps and lower fascia skid plate details.

This design has aerodynamic benefits as well, with specific design cues that include a sharply angled A-pillar, rear spoiler side garnish, an optimised front cooling area with an extended internal air guide, aero underside panels, and rear wheel aero deflectors.

Enhanced interior

Hyundai’s designers and engineers have also enhanced the driving and ride experience in the 2023 Palisade with new luxury and utility features. Among them are:

  • A new instrument panel, driver’s instrument gauge cluster and audio interface design;
  • A new steering wheel design;
  • New seating surfaces and materials; and
  • Second-row armrest angle adjusters (in the seven-seater derivative).
Image supplied
Image supplied

The infotainment system and technological features have been thoroughly upgraded. It includes:

  • A wider high-definition infotainment display screen (with a split-screen function);
  • Enhanced USB-C ports replace USB-A ports (with quicker cell phone charging up to three amps);
  • Enhanced wireless device charging (from 5W to 15W);
  • Enhanced dynamic voice recognition;
  • An Infinity 12-speaker sound system; and
  • New customisable user settings.


Palisade power comes from a R2.2 turbocharged diesel engine that delivers 142kW maximum power at 3,800r/min., and peak 440Nm peak torque between 1,750 and 2,750r/min.

The frugal turbodiesel, with an optimum real-life fuel consumption figure of 8,2ls/100km, passes the power to the HTrac four-wheel-drive system through an 8-speed automatic transmission which constantly stays on the maximum torque band.

Safety and convenience features

Hyundai has expanded its safety technologies in the 2023 Palisade. Its generous suite of advanced driver assistance systems includes many innovative technologies, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist; Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist; Safe Exit Assist, Driver Fatigue Detection and Driver Attention Warning; High Beam Assist; Smart Cruise Control; Lane Departure Warning and Lane Following Assist; Highway Driving Assist; Rear Cross-Traffic Alert; Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist; and Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist.

Final word

“The new Hyundai Palisade has been given a fresh design appeal and features worthy of Hyundai’s flagship SUV,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

“The 2023 Palisade is now, more than ever, a perfect luxury family vehicle for daily use as well as memory-making road trips. The design, fit and finish of the Palisade are of a very high standard.”


Both the seven-seater and eight-seater derivatives are priced at R1,099,900. Included in the package is:

  • Hyundai’s seven-year/200,000 km warranty (consisting of the five-year/150,000km manufacturer’s warranty, with a two-year/50,000km powertrain warranty extension);
  • Roadside assistance for seven years or 150,000km; and
  • A seven-year or 105,000km service plan (service interval is 15,000km).

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.

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