2021 Hyundai Palisade Long-Term Update | Driver assistance tech tested

AVON, N.C. — In my last update of our long-term loan of a 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD, we discussed how it fared over 1,900 miles packed full of humans, dogs and cargo for a road trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That was only half the story about why it was such a great tool for the job. The other half focuses on how the Palisade provides peace of mind and heightened awareness for the safety-minded driver.

Our Palisade is equipped with a clever suite of driver assistance feature that helped us stay safe and calm as the miles dragged on. Here’s what else we learned on our family vacation, and why the Palisade is a top candidate for my wife’s next vehicle purchase.

Highway Driving Assist is excellent. It takes a lot of the pain and fatigue out of super-long highway drives, especially when you end up in heavy traffic. The adaptive cruise control part of it works well, with just a couple things I’d tweak if I could. You can choose the settings for its acceleration behavior when the car ahead of you speeds up, but I’d like its fastest setting to be more aggressive. If the car in front of you pulls away quickly, the Palisade responds quickly, but doesn’t quite match the leading car’s speed as aggressively as I do, and I found myself occasionally supplementing it with a little extra urgency from my right foot. The lane tracing function is adept at following the curves of the highway, and it was the rare, sharper curve in the mountains of Pennsylvania that saw me feeding in more steering effort than the car was applying on its own. The system doesn’t change lanes for you, but otherwise it’s one of the better advanced driver assistance systems I’ve used, based upon my preferences.

The blind-spot monitoring system is also excellent. The big side mirrors do give a good view of your surroundings, but this system takes all the guesswork out of lane changing lanes. You get a light on the dash and in the HUD if there’s a car in your blind spot. Hit the turn signal, and it’ll beep if there’s a car in your blind spot. Using the turn signal also brings up in the gauges a live video feed of the respective blind spot thanks to cameras on the bottom of the side-view mirrors. This is layers of safety, and a foundation for confident driving. It’s not just great on multiple-lane highways, but also in the city where a cyclist could sneak into your blind spot when making a turn.

On the highway, by the time the blind-spot light turned off, I was always far enough ahead not just to safely more over, but to not piss off the driver I was passing by cutting in too close. I could still confirm through a glance at the dash, at the mirror or over the shoulder to make sure it was clear, with the blind-spot video feed providing the clearest view. Being polite to other drivers has never been so easy.

The one thing missing to provide the ultimate view of the car’s surroundings would have been a digital camera feed for the rearview mirror. We had the cargo area pretty stuffed full of belongings, so while the big side mirrors provided a decent look behind me, especially if I leaned into it a little bit, something like the rearview camera feed offered by such SUVs as the Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Armada would have given the perfect view. Even without a packed car, these still give a fuller, clearer, wider view of what’s to the rear.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy AWD 54.jpg

What you see in the instrument cluster when you signal left or right

The head-up display is easy on the eyes. It offers a lot of information, if you want it. You can choose to limit what it shows in the vehicle settings menu, but I liked being able to know my speed, the speed limit, the status of my blind spots and the distance until my next turn on the navigation system without having to look down below the windshield. The HUD image appears at a focal point just about even with the nose of the car, a good distance forward without sacrificing size or clarity.

Final thoughts: While it’s my wife who is considering putting a Palisade in our driveway, she was able to see and hear a lot of what made this vehicle provide such calm and confidence on our drive. Her preferences may vary, especially when it comes to things like what gets displayed in the HUD, or how the cruise control behaves. Luckily, all these features are super customizable in vehicle menus. I’m confident that, even if she wants things configured differently, the Palisade can accommodate her.

If, indeed, we do end up pulling the trigger on a Palisade. We’ll be sure to provide an update on our new super-long-termer.

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