2021 Hyundai Palisade Long-Term Update | Now there are two of them
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Since my family was expecting our second child, my wife Cat and I had planned to replace their Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC with something bigger. It was supposed to be their daily driver, and it had to be big enough to carry two kids in car seats, two dogs (one of which is huge), a cooler, and several travel bags and bags or whatever else we carry luggage that Cat had designs for one three-row commercial vehicle with captain's chairs. It would need to be able to travel 250 miles loaded in hot or icy weather, so an electric vehicle was out of the question (not to mention the lack of options in this category). Currently available three-row PHEVs are prohibitively expensive, and we had already missed the opportunity for a used Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Plus, Cat really wants all-wheel drive. As for traditional hybrids, there's the Toyota Highlander, but the tiny rear seats were a downside, and Cat doesn't like the styling.
Using Cat's other very specific criteria - which are often difficult for me to understand, let alone explain in a single post - we've narrowed the list down to a tiny handful of vehicles, with the Volvo XC90 and Hyundai Palisade vying for the top billing . And so the list stayed for months as uncertainty hid our checkbook.
Then Autoblog took ownership of our long-term 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD, and I was the first to get involved. The palisade and the mechanically related Kia Telluride came to my mind after my previous brief assignments in these vehicles. Then this spring, when vaccines became available, our fears subsided and our wanderlust got a little more intense, we loaded up this stockade with our two children, two dogs, a cooler, a stroller, a Pack 'N Play and a week of luggage, and we set out on a week-long road trip from Michigan to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
That sealed the deal. As I wrote in two updates about our long-term stockade, it served us wonderfully during those eight days and nearly 2,000 miles. Everyone was happy with the vehicle. If it works for us in this extreme use case, it could certainly be more than comfortable for our frequent, more regional family road trips. We searched inventory at nearby dealerships, and Williams AutoWorld in Lansing seemed to have what we wanted, which was essentially a copy of the Autoblog longtermer. Unfortunately it was sold, but Williams had another similar copy in about a month. I had a good experience buying my 2004 Subaru WRX from Williams Subaru many years ago, and the Hyundai outfit seemed just as accommodating and trustworthy, so we claimed and waited as another Palisade Calligraphy AWD made its sea voyage to the United States States took up.
We picked it up earlier this month and it only seemed right to break it up with a trip to our cottage, kids and dogs on board. We actually did that twice.
The feeling of driving to our vacation home as a family in a single vehicle was great. The children were happy. Our 5 year old son, Wollie, was happy to chat with us or watch science shows on his tablet plugged into the USB port on the back of the passenger seat. Our 7 month old daughter Lola appreciated the parasol by the window and, when she got fussy, the sounds of nature contained in the Palisade's infotainment system. I loved plugging my computer in the back of the center console and doing some work, though my heavy adapter does tend to pull out after a while.
Cat was the busiest, however. She had never had adaptive cruise control before and had confidence issues. She never had lane warnings, lane centering, or blind spot cameras. No head-up display either. Not even a rear view camera. So I asked her what she was thinking.
She still doesn't quite trust the adaptive cruise control - and a healthy dose of caution is good here. It is better to find the limits of your possibilities slowly and in a controlled manner. I've driven different cars with different systems for years just to get pretty familiar with them and ultimately appreciate how they can smooth the ride. I am confident that Cat will arrive soon.
As for the HUD, she doesn't find it as distracting as it did at first. She mainly uses it to keep an eye on her speed. I like to use it to keep track of my blind spot status (one of the few cars that shows this on the HUD).
She loves the cameras. Compared to parking a smaller vehicle without cameras, all-round visibility helps manage a larger vehicle. She still feels like she needs to make room for herself to park (someone knocked our open door by walking backwards as I strapped the baby into her seat). As for these blind spot cameras, she still looks over her shoulders but appreciates the extra level of awareness they offer.
The only pain point for them is fuel economy, but that's to be expected for the class. She used to be able to get by for several weeks in a row without filling up the GLK with diesel. The compromise is that we all fit into a car more often, which saves fuel on these regional road trips. And we can bring things with us. And everyone feels good. If there is a usable and affordable electrified vehicle in the class, we will reevaluate it. For now, we're all still looking forward to the purchase.
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