2020 Hyundai Palisade Prototype First Drive: Korea’s Flagship SUV Delights

An automotive renaissance is taking hold in South Korea, and the 2020 Hyundai Palisade flagship crossover is yet further proof of this. Playing to a market with a ceaseless appetite for crossovers and SUVs, Hyundai is adding its largest and most premium crossover yet to its lineup, and we’ve just driven a prototype ahead of the Palisade’s market launch next summer.

Our test vehicles were Korean-spec with a diesel-drinking 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine underhood that’s good for just shy of 200 horsepower and 322 pound-feet of torque. But that engine won’t come to the U.S. Instead we’ll get a more market-appropriate gas-powered 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. All engines will be paired exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission with front-drive standard and all-wheel drive available at every trim level. We can’t tell you about the performance impressions of the gas engine, but we can tell you quite a lot about everything else that makes the Palisade tick.

For starters, the Palisade is absolutely stunning in its top-tier Limited trim. It’s not easy to make a big, three-row seven- or eight-passenger box on wheels look attractive, but, to us, Hyundai’s biggest vehicle is packed with allure (although styling is notoriously subjective). Massive vertical LED running lights make a bold fi...