The Hyundai Palisade, which is currently only made in left-hand drive, sits a good size above the Santa Fe, offering not only eight seats, but significantly more room inside and out.
Andrew Tuitahi, Hyundai Australia's senior manager of product planning, told CarAdvice that a larger-than-Santa Fe offering would likely do well in our market.
“If we look at what Toyota and Mazda offer in the SUV space, they currently are able to provide customers with a larger SUV than what we offer," Tuitahi said.
“CX-8 and Santa Fe are very similar in terms of size and offering. CX-9 and Kluger are a little larger, and Toyota also have Prado and LandCruiser ... so anything we can do in the SUV space to strengthen our customer choice would be a good thing.”
Measuring 4981mm long, 1976mm wide and 1750mm tall, the Palisade is longer and wider than the top-selling Toyota Kluger, while its 2900mm wheelbase is a match for the larger-than-class-average Nissan Pathfinder.
“That proportion of that market, that slightly larger SUV [segment], outsells the smaller size. The CX-9 and Kluger outsell the Santa Fe and CX-8. The Kluger is the biggest seller by some margin," Tuitahi explained.
“[So if we] come to market with something that is a little larger than the Kluger, has really good distinction in terms of size between itself and Santa Fe, has eight seats, premium cabin, good space and feel, and amazing road presence, I think it will do well here.”
According to VFACTS, last year Mazda sold 8094 CX-9 crossovers and 1550 CX-8 models, while with 14,743 sales the Toyota Kluger almost doubled the number of Santa Fe SUVs (7523).
Some of the highlights of the Palisade include the a first-rate interior for Hyundai with its unique and upmarket dashboard layout, along with the latest available technologies and trims.
First-row occupants are treated to a new cockpit design that blends aspects of models like the Kona Electric and Santa Fe, while debuting a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and the option of a 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster.
Nappa leather is available on high-grade models, while woodgrain trim adorns the wraparound dashboard and door inserts. There's also a shift-by-wire system that frees up space in the centre console by switching out the traditional gearshift for a wand-style control.
As for price, it’s likely that the top-spec Palisade would be in the mid-70s, considering the top-spec Santa Fe Highlander variant, which accounts for 45 per cent of sales, is currently listed at around $65,000.