2020 Hyundai Palisade flagship SUV bound for LA Auto Show
Hyundai's new range-topping SUV gets a premium-sounding name to match its higher ambitions.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
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When it showed off its all-new 2019 Santa Fe SUV, Hyundai promised that a larger, more luxurious three-row crossover was just around the corner. As of today, we know what to call this new SUV: the 2020 Hyundai Palisade.
The new midsize Palisade will replace the one-year-only 2019 Santa Fe XL, which is itself the long-wheelbase version of the previous-generation Santa Fe, a model that had been around since 2013. (Confused yet?)
At a media backgrounder on Thursday, Michael O'Brien, Hyundai Motor America's president of product, corporate and digital planning, told Roadshow that North America's midsize SUV category is currently sitting at 1.5 million units, and it's growing. "It's a really important category. It's the family category in terms of SUV. It's the core product category -- only really beat by subcompact, which is the leading [vehicle] category in terms of volume."
According to O'Brien, "From the very, very beginning, we wanted this to be the Hyundai brand's flagship product … the market is shifting to CUV and SUV, and of course, in the old days, we'd say that the [recently discontinued] Azera [sedan] would be our flagship product, but really, the market has changed so much that now, our flagship product really should be an SUV."
The last time Hyundai offered a three-row crossover SUV that could be considered a flagship, it didn't go well. The Veracruz was well-reviewed and well liked by the handful of people who were aware of it, but it didn't sell. The Veracruz initially went on sale in 2007, only to disappear in 2012 without so much as a solid midcycle update.
Hyundai didn't feel that exhuming the Veracruz moniker was right for this new model. Instead, the name Palisade references a series of coastal cliffs and also hearkens to the "strength of a fortress," O'Brien said.
Just seeding a new model name in consumers' eyes represents a big commitment for any automaker: The cost of building solid name awareness for a new model has been estimated at $100 million to 200 million dollars in marketing and advertising spending, so Hyundai is clearly expecting big things from its new SUV.
Hyundai has not officially confirmed whether or not the new Palisade is related to its corporate cousin's forthcoming 2020 Kia Telluride three-row SUV, which has itself been shown off at SEMA and New York Fashion Week.
The 2020 Hyundai Palisade will be shown on Nov. 28 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and will go on sale in the summer of 2019.
Specifications and pricing have not yet been announced, but the new Palisade will doubtlessly have a base price that's higher than the 2019 Santa Fe, which rings up at $25,500 before options.