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The 2020 Palisade effectively replaces the brand's Santa Fe XL and can seat up to eight. (Hyundai)

2018 Los Angeles auto show: Hyundai unveils the 2020 Palisade midsize SUV as its flagship

The three-row 2020 Hyundai Palisade is the brand’s biggest SUV yet, providing more passenger room and more thermal-management performance to handle towing chores.
 
Palisade replaces the three-row, 7-passenger Santa Fe XL, the long-wheelbase version of the Santa Fe midsize SUV. Like the Santa Fe XL, the Palisade is capable of towing 5000 lb (2268 kg).
 
“For this size of SUV, towing capability is really important. But it was always a challenge for the outgoing midsize model to be effective with towing capability at high altitude and high ambient temperature,” John Juriga, Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI)’s Director of Powertrain, said in an interview with Automotive Engineering prior to the 2020 Palisade’s global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
 
Hyundai engineers opted for a layered cooling solution to prevent the powertrain from overheating during hill-climbing trailer-tows.
 
The prime heat exchanger is the engine itself, according to Trevor Lai, manager of Product Planning for Hyundai Motor America. “The engine’s oil passages and galleries were enlarged and strategically placed close to the water jackets so that heat can be carried by the coolant system for external shedding,” Lai explained. This approach means fewer potential leak sources as well as uniform lubricant pressure throughout the engine and transmission.
 
Another key to Palisade’s multi-prong thermal management solution is the Electronic Stability Control G-sensor for yaw rate and acceleration. “The G-sensor signal is routed to the transmission control unit to make a determination to apply automatically the transmission’s tow/haul mode. This automatic logic balances the need to maintain forward momentum hauling uphill as well as minimizing heat buildup,” noted Lai.
 
A large frontal radiator area, made possible by the exterior design team’s creation of Palisade’s sizable front grille, also aids in cooling. “Additional shrouding and air-guides optimize airflow directly into the condenser/radiator area,” Lai noted. Palisade’s automatic-transmission fluid warmer can also operate as a cooler using engine coolant to remove heat.
 
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (2013-18 MY), Santa Fe (2019 MY), and Santa Fe XL (2013-19 MY) employed heavy-duty cooling hardware. “But the ability to shed heat from towing heavy loads was borne in mind from the beginning of Palisade’s development,” Lai noted.
 
Atkinson V6 power
 
Palisade is powered by Hyundai’s Lambda-series 3.8-L gasoline direct-injection (GDI) V6 that produces 291 hp at 6000 rpm and 262 lb·ft (355 N·m) at 5200 rpm and Atkinson-cycle operation. “That’s plenty of torque for towing and for moving a vehicle of this size and there’s a fuel economy benefit with the Atkinson cycle,” said Phil Zoldak, Manager of Engine Development and Testing at HATCI.
 
The company said EPA-certified fuel economy will be released at a later date; the 2020 Palisade goes on sale in summer 2019  
 
The outgoing Santa Fe XL is powered by a 3.3-L Lambda GDI V6 that generates 291 hp at 6400 rpm and 252 lb·ft (342 N·m) at 5200 rpm. Santa Fe XL’s engine mates to a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the Palisade’s 3.8-L V6 is backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission.
 
As Hyundai’s largest SUV, the Palisade’s dimensions outsize the Santa Fe XL in wheelbase (114.2 in/2900 mm vs. 110.2 in/2799 mm); length (196.1 in/4981 mm vs. 193.1 in/4904 mm); height (68.9 in/1750 mm vs. 66.5 in/1689 mm) and width (77.8 in/1976 mm vs. 74.2 in/1885 mm).
 
“Palisade is an 8-passenger SUV. The outgoing model was too narrow for three occupants across the third-row seat and it was too narrow to have easy ingress and egress to the third row,” said Michael O’Brien, Vice President of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning for Hyundai Motor America.
 
Interior amenities, driver-assist features abound
 
In a Hyundai-first application, Palisade’s intercom system, activated via center-console button, lets the driver or front passenger communicate more easily with second- and third-row occupants. “The system is attenuated based on whether you want to speak with individuals in the second row or the third row. For example, if someone is sleeping in the third row, the intercom can be limited to the front two rows,” O’Brien said.
 
Other Hyundai-first applications on the Palisade include a power folding second-row split-bench seat and power folding/unfolding and power-reclining third-row seat.
 
Palisade’s SmartSense driver-assist suite features nine different safety technologies, including blind spot collision detection in the rear, smart cruise with stop and go, safe exit assist, and rear occupant alert--another Hyundai-first application. “The rear occupant alert initially occurs with a message in the center cluster. If another warning level is needed, an external audible alert is given. If yet another warning is needed, a text is sent to your smartphone via BlueLink,” OBrien said, although the rear occupant alert may not be available at the start of production.
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