2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD Review

The new face ups the appeal of an already appealing SUV

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Redesign fixes the front fascia, premium interior for non-premium money, potent V6 engine, tremendous standard equipment list, heated third row seats.
Negatives: The third row is tight for tall adults, the back end could still use a refresh.
Bottom Line: Hyundai won't say that it builds a luxury SUV, but they'd be wrong. The Calligraphy edition packs in more standard features than any other mainstream three-row SUV. It also happens to be good to drive, tremendously comfortable, and actually surprisingly premium. You won't find a more complete three-row SUV for the money.
The Palisade is one of the best car buys for the money. A fully loaded, top-trim Palisade Calligraphy costs barely more than a base BMW X3, and it's considerably larger, is better appointed, and has more standard features. A facelift for the 2023 model year gives the Palisade the looks it was missing. The new look is enhanced by updated wheel designs and the cabin has received some new features. The Palisade's instrument panel has a higher-resolution 12.0-inch infotainment display, a redesigned steering wheel, and updated upholstery options. New features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, heated third-row seats, and even a massaging driver's seat. We drove it for a week to see how much the little changes level up an already very impressive SUV. Read on for our detailed review.

Driving Experience



The Palisade isn't as engaging as the Mazda CX-9, but it is capable at both low and high speeds. Its focus is on a comfortable ride, but there's also a solid amount of power and handling to make it more engaging than some competitors.

Ride Quality: The Palisade has a plush ride that does a fine job at absorbing bumps. It's smooth over most surfaces and doesn't get upended over gaps.

Acceleration: The 3.5-liter V6 mated to the 8-speed transmission. Acceleration is good with a 0-60 of 7.2 seconds, and throttle response is good. There's only minor turbo lag.

Steering: The steering is responsive and accurate, but it lacks feedback of most electronically assisted systems. It also does well on highways with good centeredness.

Handling: The Palisade is tall, and there is some body roll, but it's manageable as long as you don't put it into a turn to quickly.




There's a lot to love about the tech in the Calligraphy edition, and things improve with the addition of a larger infotainment screen that matches the size of the instrument cluster.

Infotainment System: The touchscreen gets upsized from 10.3 to 12.3 inches and pairs perfectly with the vivid digital instrument cluster. It could use better responsiveness, and the advancing of tracks on our iPhone continues to be frustrating, but the system is one of the better ones out there.

Controls: We're not fans of pushbutton transmissions, but it's clear this was done to save space, and the rest of the controls, from the drive mode selector to the clean row of infotainment buttons are very well-executed.




It was high time the Palisade received a much-needed styling refresh, replacing the one aspect of its exterior that made it less attractive than its Kia Telluride sibling. The interior also gets some minor but noticeable changes, all for the better.

Front: The front fascia borrows elements from the smaller, more affordable Tucson. The multi-faceted dark chrome grille and DRLs provide a prominent front end that matches the opulent interior. It's not what we would call minimalist, but it's a serious improvement over the original grille.

Rear: The back end is essentially unchanged, but that's not a bad thing. It would've been nice to see an update to match the front end, but the back is still well-executed and handsome.

Profile: The profile is its best angle with good proportions and a modicum of chrome. The creases and contours aren't overdone, and the body is clean.

Cabin: Nothing really needed to be improved, but the steering wheel has been upgraded to one newer one found in the current Tucson and Sonata. Even the textured faux wood trim looks and feels great. The perforated Nappa leather seating surfaces look great, along with brushed metal speaker grilles, and a beautiful linear dash that incorporates the twin screens nicely.




There's ample room in the two front rows and practical space in row three. The Nappa leather seating surfaces are soft, supple, and the seating cushioning is superb.

Front Seats: These are big, well-cushioned, and supportive. There's plenty of width in the seatbacks and a solid amount of length in the cushion for taller drivers.

Rear Seats: The second-row Captain's chairs in our tester were almost as good as the front seats. The third row could be tight for those over six feet, and the cushion is a bit on the flat side.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): There's some wind noise at high speeds, but the Palisade is well made and solid with no creaks or rattles.

Visibility: The big windows, manageable pillar size, and a good seating position provide good visibility. The camera displays in the instrument cluster when changing lanes or turning.

Climate: The climate control system works well, and we love the standard heated and ventilated seats in the first two rows. The addition of heated third-row seats is excellent. Some premium automakers don't even offer this.




The Palisade attained the top score in crash tests, so buyers can take comfort that they're being transported in a truly safe vehicle. It also comes with a great array of safety technology that rivals pricier models.

IIHS Rating: The Palisade earned the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, with "good" in all crash tests, "good" headlights in some trims, and "superior" accident avoidance tech. It got dinged with "poor" in the Moderate overlap front crash and "marginal" with lower tier headlights and "acceptable" LATCH ease of use.

NHTSA Rating: The 2021 Palisade earned five stars from the federal government. The 2023 has not been tested yet, but the Palisade is unchanged.

Standard Tech: The Palisade gets a ton of safety features including a Rearview Camera, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist w/ Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver LED headlights/taillights/DRLs, Attention Warning, Rear Occupant Alert, Rear Parking Distance Warning, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, and a Safe Exit Assist system that warns you and your passengers if they try to open a door and traffic is approaching from the rear.

Optional Tech: None. The Calligraphy edition comes packed with all of the model's safety features as standard equipment.




There's a lot to love about the small item storage, as well as the rear cargo area. It feels like it's not lacking much at all when it comes to gear and luggage capacity.

Storage Space: The center compartment has a sliding door that holds drinks (the drink holders slide out of the way for even more room), and the center armrest is also large. On top of that is a big undertray storage below the center stack that can hold a huge handbag and other large gear.

Cargo Room: There's 18 cubic feet behind the third row, 45 cubes with the third row folded flat, or over 86 cubes all the seats folded, and they fold totally flat, as well. The fact that the third row is power-folding (unlike the Telluride). An underfloor storage compartment adds another level of convenience.

Fuel Economy



Fuel economy is pretty good but not remarkable. Under more conservative driving, owners should be able to attain the 19/24/21 mpg for AWD models. We drove in Sport mode exclusively, so our numbers were lower.

Observed: 18.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 174 miles




The Calligraphy comes standard with the 12-speaker 630-watt Harman Kardon premium that fills the cabin with rich sound. Ample bass, great clarity, and a fullness that cascades throughout the interior is one of the best systems in a vehicle at this price.

Final Thoughts

The Palisade Calligraphy is easily one of the best three-row SUVs for the money. The refresh makes it even more attractive, and the addition of heated seats in row three, a new steering wheel, and a bigger infotainment screen up the ante on an already strong feature set. It does so much so well, and even the loaded Calligraphy is still little more than the average price of a new car in America in 2023. It's a seriously compelling three-row SUV that's one of the best in the business.

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