2021 Hyundai Palisade Review: Mobile Palace

Hyundai’s gargantuan Palisade eight-seater is an intriguing choice for car buyers in Singapore looking for a luxury SUV alternative


We’ll start with the obvious question: why would anyone buy a Hyundai Palisade in Singapore? This is an eight-seater SUV that’s nearly five metres long and two metres wide, and is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that is guaranteed to drain your wallet whenever you hit the petrol pumps, and when the taxman comes calling.

But if that’s something you’re able to swallow, then the Palisade actually does have a lot going for it. The idea of a Hyundai that costs over 200 grand might be a tough proposition to accept for some, but look past the badge and you’ll find an uber-luxurious SUV that can accommodate eight people in comfort, and comes packed with plenty of kit.

The Palisade is ostensibly designed for the American market, where large SUVs and trucks are the norm. But Singaporeans do have an appetite for multi-people carriers, as evidenced by the proliferation of such models in recent months. And while Hyundai doesn’t expect the Palisade to sell in huge numbers locally, its presence here, along with its Korean MPV cousin the Kia Carnival, indicates that there is still some demand for large family people carriers in Singapore.

If you really want space and big road presence, Kia’s Carnival has tonnes of both and is just over S$200k with COE – watch our video review where we show you the ultra-spacious second row and more

And the Palisade is very large indeed. The car’s size makes parking it in a standard-sized carpark lot a tricky task. It’s just as well that Hyundai has equipped the car with a 360-degree surround view camera, because otherwise you’ll never be able to park the Palisade properly within the boundaries of the lot.

Still, going big has its benefits, not least because the Palisade is palatial inside. As mentioned, there is room to accommodate eight passengers. And unlike many other seven or eight seat SUVs, the third row here is actually usable, without requiring occupants to amputate their legs first. 

With all the seats up, there’s 311 litres of boot space, which is alright but not particularly capacious. Fold the third row down and that increases to a more generous 704 litres, while with the second row folded as well, there’s a colossal 2,445 litres of space to play with. But if you truly want more space, compare that to the boxier Kia Carnival MPV, which has 637-litres of boot space with all of its seats in play, stretching out to 2,800-plus with all the seats away.

The rest of the interior is pretty nice too, with a premium ambience that suits the Palisade’s flagship status. But more than just a plush place to sit, the Palisade’s cabin is filled with neat tricks that acknowledges its status as a family-oriented vehicle.

There are no less than seven USB slots peppered throughout the cabin, while more interesting stuff include a feature called Driver Talk, which is a bit like an intercom of sorts. A microphone in front picks up your voice and amplifies it through the rear speakers, so you could effectively use it to yell at your kids in the third row to keep quiet.

And quiet is what you want, because the Palisade is a car that takes things serenely. Despite its size, the car doesn’t feel cumbersome to drive, and is more of a gentle giant really. Comfort is the order of the day here of course, and the car’s ride quality is excellent and well-controlled over bumps. Obviously it’s not going to drive like a hot hatchback, because there’s only so much physics that can hold you back, but if you don’t go overboard the Palisade is not at all clumsy or hard to manoeuvre.

The gigantic 3.5-litre V6, with 277hp and 336Nm of torque, feels adequate in lugging this nearly two-tonne beast around, but again it’s not going to win any sprint races. But like buying a house, going big in Singapore comes with added costs at every turn.

The drawback of such a large engine is its thirst. Hyundai claims an average fuel consumption figure of 10L/100km, which in itself isn’t brilliant in this age of Responsibility and Greenness. Our own leisurely weekend drive yielded around 13L/100km though, which is egregious in a time when a Mercedes-Benz S 450 L can do 10L/100km or better in real life – so be prepared to be on first name terms with your local pump attendant. Then there’s the S$3,122 in annual road tax you’ll need to cough up for the privilege of having 3,470cc.

Still, you get the sense that owning a Palisade is something of an indulgence here in Singapore. It’s not strictly necessary for anyone here, but if you could stretch to it, and want something that offers luxurious family motoring without going the Continental route it is something to consider.

Hyundai Palisade

Engine3,470cc, V6
Power277hp at 6300rpm
Torque336Nm at 5000rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic
0-100km/h8.2 seconds
Top Speed210km/h
VES BandingC2 / +S$25,000
Fuel Efficiency10.0L/100km
AgentKomoco Motors
PriceS$219,999 with COE
Verdict:Hyundai’s giant eight-seater SUV offers plenty of luxury and comfort, and is an intriguing alternative to the usual large SUV crowd

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about the author

Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.