Our first outing the the Palisade was up at the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and the surrounding mountains. As you can read and watch, we hauled our butts up a mountain then did some off-roading in a mad caravan of Palisades. We looked like a villain’s entourage with so many black luxury SUVs in convoy form!
This follow-up was much more down to earth. When the villains go home for the weekend, perhaps, and take on normal parenting and lifestyle duties.
This involved a boring commute in traffic, jaunts around town running errands and lots of everyday life stuff. It was interesting to get more time in Palisade because a lot of the perceptions from the one-day drive event still definitely hold true, but there are some other elements that were much better at home than expected. We’ll cover those below in the Highs and Lows sections. But first, here is another drive review in Palisade — but this time with a twist.
Not driving hard is a twist, yes, but the headcam POV for the GoPro also offers a different perspective on things. We even kept the cam on forehead for an exterior walkaround by the ocean in Isle of Palms, SC. Then continued to wear it as we check out the second row, third row and cargo area accommodations.
As with the first test, it is the exterior design and the cabin luxury that really sets Palisade far above Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander. It is shocking how much more premium and luxury-feeling the Palisade is inside versus those top sellers. This is a very premium cabin experience with awesome tech standard on the Limited trim level with its $46,000 all-in pricing. The push-button shifter is simple and easy, the drive modes are fairly effective at changing the mood, the infotainment and charging solutions are everywhere (at least 6 USBs charge points, maybe more, we lost count!)
The Limited’s digital gauge cluster does the awesome party trick of showing rearward cameras for each turn signal, making it impossible to worry about cars being in your blind spot. Safety also seems terrific both in terms of tech and protection — the Palisade just scored a full five stars in the NHTSA crash test, slightly better than its sibling the Kia Telluride.
The eight-speed transmission and V6 drivetrain refinement is outstanding and the premium Sachs shocks with load-leveling rear help Palisade truly feel like a German vehicle on the road. A pleasant surprise is that back at sea level, Palisade exhibits none of the out-of-breath feeling the car had up at 7000-feet. It is definitely not slow at all! This big eight-seater surges to 60-mph in a very very respectable 7.5-seconds.
The good news keeps coming: the second row is enormous and very luxurious, while the third row is actually do-able for adults for short trips.
There are some quirks that come along with nearly ten active safety systems as standard on the Limited trim. The one that irked us most was that there appears to be no way to use the active cruise control without also engaging lane-keep. This is just irritating because as good as the lane-keep is, it just needs to be turned off sometimes. It could be the road has weird markings, or you just aren’t in the mood. Forcing it anytime you want to use cruise control is just annoying and means you won’t use active cruise as much as you otherwise would.
Another element of the safety net — which is objectively terrific — is a quirk we only encountered every so often. Palisade has an electronic parking brake that engages automatically anytime you are in park. Great! But guess what? It doesn’t always automatically disengage. If you are like me and sometimes finish putting on your seatbelt as you back out of space or leave your driveway, you might have a few instances of putting the car in gear, hitting gas and going nowhere. This is because the parking brake only disengages automatically (sometimes) when you have your belt buckled already.
Mercedes has this safety feature too but it is less annoying and less abrupt than this one. It’s a case of so much tech coming at once without being able to really fine-tune it to fade into background.
Besides those things, the only other notes we have are on the ride quality and overall refinement. They seem amazing and at luxury-car levels for sure. But we got out of the new Enclave before testing Palisade, and it is shocking how much more insulated Enclave is over little road imperfections and grooves than Palisade. In Enclave, you think all roads are just glassy smooth! But in Palisade you realize they are not. This feel and feedback is a double edged sword– nice to have in mountains, but less nice around town. Enclave is definitely worth a drive if you like pure velveteen ride quality.
Get ready to see this face all over your daily drives. Palisade with its base price in the loow $30s makes one of the strongest launches for a three-row SUV crossover in years. This is sure to be a big seller with families loving every inch of the big machine!
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.