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2021 Hyundai Palisade Long-Term Update: Driving Assist delivers again

HESSEL, Mich. — Michigan is a big state. You may or may not know it has two peninsulas, and getting from metro Detroit to the upper half is a good four-hour jaunt. You can do it quicker and you’ll probably get a ticket. Happened to me in a Chevy Tahoe. Do it slower, like I once did in a blizzard in a Honda Ridgeline, and well, it takes longer. But perhaps my most comfortable run Up North, as we say, was behind the wheel of Autoblog’s long-term 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy in early July.

Road trips give you a chance to immerse yourself in the technology that improves and enriches the driving experience. The Palisade is loaded with these kinds of features and they make driving a lot less work.

Autoblog’s Senior Editor for all things Green John Beltz Snyder observed this on the way to North Carolina’s Outer Banks (then he even went ahead and bought a Palisade). Like him, I found the Highway Driving Assist to be one of the better systems that alleviates strain on the driver. The adaptive cruise control is solid. It modulates speed and braking smoothly, even on inclines. Cue it up via the switch on the steering wheel and then just point and shoot.

The upgrade blind-spot display in our Calligraphy trim level (above left) shows the left blind-spot view in the speedometer circle and the right blind-spot view in the tachometer circle. In other trim levels (above right), both left and right views appear in the middle display. The tach and speedo are analog.

The blind spot monitor, which uses cameras to show your blind spot among other alerts, is intuitive and quickly becomes a reassuring tool. It’s part of my lane changing routine: camera, mirror, quick shoulder glance, then go. Lan- keeping assist saved my bacon when I drifted on a highway curve and the Palisade applied “corrective steering” as advertised. I tested a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid immediately after the Palisade, and continuing with the BSM felt natural. Two years ago this felt a little futuristic when we tested the same suite of tech in the Kia Telluride and awarded it our Technology of the Year crown. Now, the system just feels like something that should be there; it’s a signature element for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles. 

The driver inattention warning system was spot-on (pictured below in a Sonata), alerting me three-plus hours into the drive that I was getting fatigued with a steaming coffee mug graphic in the instrument cluster. Admittedly, I disregarded it and plowed ahead with the final destination so close, but the system knew I was wearing down.

Speaking of almost crashing, the rear cross traffic collision avoidance system also intervened when I was backing up at a marina and a crossover flew by. Meanwhile, the backup and overhead cameras add another layer of safety and visibility, even when there’s nothing in the way.

The cargo area has plenty of space, and the third-row seats fold down at the press of buttons. One or both can be flattened. In back, I threw a cooler, inflatable kayak, beer, food, a tent — the usual camping gear — and had no issues. The second-row captain’s chairs are easy enough for car seat installation and dogs are happy almost anywhere inside the Palisade. 

This trip, accomplished in safety and with little wear and tear on the driver, reinforced my feeling that the Palisade is a solid option for families who prefer something other than a minivan. It has space. It looks sharp — it was listed as a Cadillac at a curbside pizza joint — and clearly it’s excellent on long road trips.

Grudgingly, I passed the key fob to Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski, who drove up to Michigan from central Ohio in a Toyota Supra. After a bruising ride on I-75 inches off the pavement, he was more than happy to nurse his aches in the Palisade’s comfortable accommodations. But he wasn’t resting for long. His next order of business? A road trip to South Carolina.

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