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The 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy is a best of class 3-row SUV in many ways

Written By | Sep 18, 2021

By Duane Pemberton and Lauren Fix


Chattanooga, TN — With the 2021 model year, Hyundai has introduced a new top trim level called Calligraphy for its Palisade SUV. So what are the changes and features in this new trim? Glad you asked. You’ll find a blackened grill, quilted leather door panel inserts and 20-inch wheels. Additionally, there are front and rear light signatures. Perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, quilted leather door panels, microfiber headliner and standard AWD. There’s also a Calligraphy exclusive Roof-mounted Center High-Mount Stop Light (CHMSL) and a premium cargo sill plate.

Check out Lauren’s review here:

The engine for the Calligraphy is a 3.6-liter V6 that’s good for 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This feeds an 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers power to an advanced all-wheel-drive, H-Trac system. Fuel economy is rated at 19 in the city, up to 24 miles per gallon on the highway, for a combined average of 21mpg – not great.

When driving the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy, you’ll be rewarded with a smooth ride and solid handling for an SUV this size and weight. However, it is a bit stiffer of a ride than we were expecting but still like it nonetheless. It’s simply something to be mindful of for those who expect an ultra-cushy ride from other 3-row SUVs.

There are three drive modes available that adjust the overall performance. In Sport Mode, the Palisade becomes peppy and shifts fairly quickly; perfect for those times you need some get up and go. Eco Mode shifts smoothly while keeping the revs low and the gears high, assume acceleration will be slow. Smart Mode will adjust with your driving style. Overall the engine is perfect for the size and handling of the Palisade, though the 8-speed automatic transmission can become confused and hesitant as to what gear it needs to be in when changing from a relaxed driving situation to a more aggressive one.


Inside, you’ll find that Hyundai did an exceptional job of over-delivering on the quality-to-price ratio. It looks and feels more upscale than its price would suggest. Nappa leather seats that are both heated and cooled. Expensive-looking surfaces with bare minimum of hard plastics.

The Palisade is extremely comfortable for the second and third-row passengers. The second-row captain chairs are heated and cooled, and they slide forward and back, and they also recline. The third-row seat reclines, is quite comfortable, and access is easy thanks to a button on the second-row seats that slide them out of the way.

The seating feels like it came right out of a vehicle from Hyundai’s cousin Genesis. They are highly adjustable, and supremely comfortable. This particular trim, the Calligraphy, comes with heated and cooled (both in the front and second row) leather seats with 2 memory settings.

A large 10,25-inch infotainment screen makes navigating through its menus a breeze. Harman/Kardon Premium Audio Surround Sound System with Bass Booster and Quantum Logic Surround – The audio system packs a bunch with bass, and can be sensitive with the volume. Does a great job making compressed audio sound more natural. Its 630-watt amplifier feeds twelve speakers using QuantumLogic Surround with Clari-Fi Music Restoration.

There’s not a lot to fault the Palisade Calligraphy over. Is it perfect? No. No vehicle is. However, it’s clearly a class-leading SUV from Hyundai that is selling extremely well and making its competition nervous. From its great looks to stellar ride, tech and driver aids, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better SUV for its going price of around $46,000.


Other tech includes:
Driver Talk to talk to third row
Rear Seat Quiet Mode
Interior rear view mirror so the driver and passenger can keep an eye on all three rows
Rear sunshades
One touch Rear Seats – slide forward
Same for third row – fold down and back up
Auto-open tailgate by holding key next to tail light
Rear Wide Dual Sunroof with shade
7 USB outlets, one at each seat (side of seats)
Qi Wireless phone charging

Car Coach Score:

Performance 8
Handling 9
Safety 10
Visibility 10
Seating Comfort 9
Technology 10
Features 10
Design 9
Quality 10
Value & Cargo 9
Car Coach Reports Total 94


Read More from Duane Pemberton


About the Author: Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.


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Duane Pemberton

Duane Pemberton is a lifestyle writer and CDNs Auto Editor. Pemberton loves anything that helps bring people together which is why he writes about food, wine, cars, and travel.