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Hyundai Palisade XRT vs. Calligraphy


1. Overview of Hyundai Palisade XRT and Calligraphy

The Hyundai Palisade series can be broadly categorized into 2 models - XRT and Calligraphy. These models are pretty much identical aside from various cosmetic differences and minor features to help make it stand out from the rest. Starting off with the XRT model. This model starts at an official MSRP of just under $33,000, while being the cheapest model in the entire Palisade series. It won't come with a moonroof or ventilated seats. Instead of traditional 2nd row captain's chairs found on other models, it will come with a bench seat to fit 8 passengers. Moving onto the exterior, it sits on a set of 18" alloy wheels and only comes in the front-wheel drive (FWD) setup. It comes with automatic headlights and halogen bulbs with the option to upgrade to LED headlights. With a generally lack of features, this model is great if you're looking to save some money on a brand new midsize SUV. The Calligraphy model is the complete opposite. Starting at an official MSRP of just under $50,000, this is the most expensive model of the Palisade series but also comes with a lot more features. It will come with a moonroof, ventilated seats for both front and 2nd row passengers and have an option to fit 7 instead of 8 passengers with the traditional captain's chairs. The exterior gives a fancier appeal sitting on a set of 20" alloy wheels and with LED headlights. Both models will still have the same engine, transmission, and drive setup as well as offering the HTRAC AWD system. They come with an 8-speed automatic transmission and be powered by a 3.8L V6 GDI engine generating 291 horsepower. The fuel economy estimate is a decent 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for the FWD setup and slightly less for the AWD system at 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. So really the only differences between these models will be the price, the features, and a few cosmetic changes to the car. [1]

1.1. Introduction to Hyundai Palisade XRT

The Hyundai Palisade XRT is a new model for 2022. This exciting offering in Hyundai's flagship Palisade SUV lineup combines value and luxury, offering a low cost of entry into the Palisade lineup while keeping some of the most popular luxury features from the Palisade lineup. This has been done by offering an entirely new package that's more affordable, while still managing to keep the overall price point higher than the base Palisade. This is an interesting move that hasn't been offered before when a 'base' model car jumps up the price overall. The way Hyundai's marketing team has done this though is by keeping the base price the same for the new XRT edition, the price of the XRT is the same price as the base 2021 SE, the MSRP is starting at $33,550 USD. This makes the XRT an intriguing offer for anyone who was previously looking at a base model. The XRT is more off-road or adventure-oriented, adding roof side rails and a sunroof, it's available in both front and all-wheel drive setups with 8 passenger seating. This will be perfect for larger families who enjoy outdoor activities. Step from the SE to the XRT and you'll see there is a price increase of $1800 with added features and the same seating configurations. Now that that's been established, the base XRT is a bit misleading as the MSRP is the same at $33,550, this is due to the fact that the XRT is more of a package than a standalone model. The price of the XRT is the same as the base SE model which does make it a bit confusing.

1.2. Introduction to Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy

Tasteful design meets modern technology in the innovative Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. The exclusive front and rear LED lighting and distinctive 20-inch alloy wheels further its position as the premium offering, while exclusive Calligraphy design elements are found throughout the cabin. Taking inspiration from the Calligraphy, the exterior features include a unique front grille and striking LED headlamps. Side and rear are redefined with a new lower bumper design, new rear taillight, and an available 20-inch wheel design offered in two finishes. Inside, a new convenient center console design offers bridge-type function to create a higher, sweeping, cascading look. One-push, second-row seating allows for easy access to the third row. The Calligraphy adds to the Limited AWD with a premium VIP experience. At the touch of a button, the second row becomes captain chairs (also available in a no-cost 7-passenger configuration) offering ventilated seating. Each features a center console. A first for Hyundai, the Calligraphy offers a premium microfiber-suede headliner and premium quilting on the door cards. This new premium trim is sure to attract those who demand the best in luxury and style without the landfall costs of rival premium global brands.

2. Design and Exterior Features

The Palisade XRT absolutely hits its mark with the feature, more aggressive styling. At the front and rear, there are redesigned bumpers, with the back bumper getting a new diffuser. While only available with black wheels and single color options, the XRT does come with a black headliner and roof glass for an upscale look compared to its SEL sibling. This is a traditional look at the concept of what an X Performance model is and there is nothing wrong with that. This is starting to feel similar to the old school Lexus IS300 Sport design with a simple but aggressive body kit and perhaps a comparison can be made in the stance that the Subaru Forester has over the STI models at. Pricing starts at $42,545 for FWD and $44,245 for AWD. The Calligraphy on the other hand, is upping the posh factor on the higher side, and this is the only trim above limited at this time. This move is reminiscent of when Acura turned the MDX into the LUX. There are very small and subtle tweaks to the grille and bumper with a few more chrome bits for the front and rear diffuser, but the major fact that sets this model apart is the new 20" alloy wheels and the quilted Nappa leather. This is offered in some exclusive color options, and everything on the inside of the Calligraphy screams premium luxury. Pricing starts at a steep $46,895 for FWD and $48,195 for AWD. This move will put the Palisade up there with the Telluride SX and the top trims of the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander.

2.1. Exterior design of Hyundai Palisade XRT

As the mid-range model in Hyundai's lineup, the Palisade XRT is positioned as a value leader in the highly competitive mid-size SUV segment. Priced at $45,850 before on-road costs, the XRT sits $3600 above the entry-level Palisade but $7600 below the all-wheel drive (AWD) Highlander it shares its V6 engine with, and is loaded with extra gear to sweeten its value proposition. The story's pretty much the same when compared to key rivals, with the Palisade XRT's $46,000 before on-road costs sticker slotting in between the FWD Mazda CX-9 Touring and AWD CX-9 GT. The XRT is essentially a tidy up on the now-superseded Palisade Highlander, which may be end-of-life but was still a class-competitive family wagon all the way during its run. As such, majority of the XRT's styling is inherited from the existing Highlander. Up the front, Hyundai's big SUV is bluntly handsome with a vast cross-barred grille flanked by squinty LED headlights. New to the Hyundai range in Australia is an odd numbering system that grades Palisade models from Alpha through to Zeta based on specification level. The XRT is the Zeta model. So, in summary, this is an SUV that looks a little bit pseudo-off-roader despite not having any actual off-road ambitions or ability, and is instead a fancy upgrade from a front-wheel drive family hatch. Nothing particularly exciting, but this sensible approach did work for Dodge with the Journey...

2.2. Exterior design of Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy

The Calligraphy model of Hyundai Palisade is considered more of a luxury design compared to the XRT. It uses the same powertrain as XRT, but the Calligraphy design is more based on giving a premium look to those who want a different level of luxury compared to the normal offering. It features different 20-inch alloy wheels. Moving on to the front and rear of the car, there are four types of different front grills, which are Gunmetal (standard on the LWB Si), Satin Chrome (with the Active and Elite), and the range-topping Calligraphy uses a very beautiful looking HTRAC pattern which is also used front and rear and throughout the car. The front and rear bumpers are different for the Calligraphy with the Calligraphy design front and rear bumper garnish and taillight. The LED headlamp, LED daytime running, and LED taillight setup is the same across all models. The Calligraphy uses a 2-tone paint. The standard color is Moonlight Cloud, which is a nice off-white color but can be optioned with the $695 premium paint color, which also includes Rainforest, Hyper White, and Lagoon. Hyper White is a standard solid color offered on most Hyundai models. Both XRT and Calligraphy feature roof rails, but the type of rail is different in which Calligraphy uses a premium satin type. The XRT uses silver-painted door handles, but the Calligraphy has a chrome door handle with a pocket light at the front. The pocket light is a small but useful feature to help locate the door handle during the night.

2.3. Differences in exterior features

The biggest manifestation of the differences in the Hyundai Palisade XRT and Calligraphy models can be seen in their exterior features as these differences accentuate the two models' different personalities. A simple differentiator between the EX and Limited models is the wheel size and design. The Calligraphy, as Hyundai's flagship Palisade, wears 20-inch alloy wheels that are uncharacteristic of Hyundai's usual reserved wheel sizes. The radial spoke design with dark metallic colors really help the wheel fill the wheel well. This contrasts with the XRT's 18-inch alloy wheels which have a more traditional Hyundai five-spoke design. Both wheel sizes come standard equipped with a compact spare tire. The most noticeable feature differentiator between the two outside is the addition of the Calligraphy exclusive LED headlamps and LED turn signal mirror indicators. The LED headlamps include high beam assist that is intended to help drivers detect objects on the road quicker during nighttime driving. Additionally, the LED turn signal mirror indicators will help increase drivers' visibility and indicate to other drivers of a lane change. The XRT model maintains common LED headlights and normal side mirror turn signal indicators.

3. Interior and Technology

In OTS, logos are engraved on the seats. A unique center console is adopted, along with a rear seat console and rear door scuff plates. This new design has improved the luxurious feel in the cabin space. Replacing the dual strip-type front map lamp, a new rearview mirror and front map lamp with a sunglass case are provided, enhancing the overall aesthetic. The Calligraphy model is an identity of Palisade's most luxurious offering. The impression of luxury is already evident on the exterior with high specification detailing such as a front skid plate, luxury two-tone wheels, satin chrome front grille, and premium-level micro antennas. This can be said to be more evident in the interior as it includes an embossed Nappa leather-appointed interior, 7-seater or 6-seater with second-row captain's chairs. Enhancing occupant comfort are seats that are equipped with 8-way power-adjusted driver's seats and 4-way power lumbar support, and the 2nd-row seating now has a tilt and slide function. A 7-inch supervision cluster is provided to Calligraphy models for clear visibility on vehicle information. Completing the luxurious feel is the premium-level soft-touch interior door and dashboard panels with ambient lighting.

The Hyundai Palisade XRT and Calligraphy models exhibit a more distinctive character between their two models. The XRT model adopts a sportier tone in the exterior design, which carries into the interior. A traditional dashboard with a large center console, along with a luxurious leather-appointed interior, sets a premium feel in this 7-seater. Air ventilation systems are not available to third-row passengers; instead, air conditioning vents allocated on side pillars and rooflines are provided to maximize cabin cooling performance. An uprated air flow function has been added to the 2nd-row seating for better comfort and thermal efficiency. All XRT variants are equipped with the Infinity 10-speaker premium audio system with an external amplifier, subwoofer, and front center speaker. Smartphone connectivity includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, providing seamless integration of the smartphone interface to display on the dashboard head unit.

3.1. Interior features of Hyundai Palisade XRT

The interiors are well-built with top-notch materials. The buyer can opt for either a 7-seater or 8-seater version depending on their preferences. It has second-row bench seats which come as standard. In XRTs, the second-row captain's chairs are optional. Both the first-row and second-row seats are comfortable and well-cushioned to cope with a loaded day-to-day schedule. The third row is quite spacious, and even adults can manage to sit for short rides. All the seats can be adjusted to make more cargo space depending on necessity. The middle-row and third-row seats have sunscreens at the windows. XRTs come with a leather steering wheel and shift knob. The trims have a standard power driver seat and an 8.0-inch infotainment display. It provides a high driving position and good visibility to the driver, which adds an advantage. The plastic trims with woodgrain provide a plush look. Overall, if we sum up the interiors of XRT, it gives a sound value for the money.

The Hyundai Palisades XRT, released between 2021-2022, is a new model that surpasses all the expectations a buyer needs in that price range. It has tough competition from Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Kia Telluride. Let us see how it fares among its competitors.

3.2. Interior features of Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy

- Color Options: The Palisade model comes in 7 different colors to choose from. However, the limited AWD model has one extra color option with the option of burgundy. The XRT model is available in 4 color options, which are mainly black-based. But they also offer a ceramic white and hiper silver, while only offering beige and black interior options. This is one of the initial cosmetic differences between the Hyundai Palisade XRT and the Calligraphy model. - Nappa Leather: The Calligraphy model Palisade is equipped with Nappa leather in the beige color option or dark brown interior. This is a step up from the typical faux leather seats in the Palisade XRT model. This gives the Calligraphy model a much more elegant look and feel. Nappa leather is extremely durable and is known for coming from soft animal hides. These hides offer a higher quality feel and finish to other leathers, giving the seats a luxurious feel. This is also a key feature if you plan on using the rear seat option for your kids and potentially spilling any food or beverages, as it will be much easier to clean. Regular cleaning and conditioning of Nappa leather will ensure it stays in tip-top shape for the life of the vehicle. This was extremely evident in the comparison between third-row seats. Although both the XRT and Calligraphy model Palisades come with a power-folding third row in the limited model, getting in and out of the third-row seats was much easier in the Calligraphy model due to the Nappa leather folding technique on the captain's chairs. The increased maneuverability and ease of cleaning the seats will save a lot of headache and potential damage to the seats in the long run.

3.3. Comparison of technology offerings

The most recent vehicle I had been driving was a 2014 GMC Acadia Denali and I think that Hyundai has really given me a reason to consider a Palisade if we're looking for this type of vehicle in the future. The only thing I would really miss is the heads-up display from our Denali.

Included with the SE trim level is an 8-inch color display audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, complete with a standard rearview monitor, LED headlights, taillights and DRLs, as well as SmartSense safety technology which utilizes the HDA system. The SEL increases to 7-passenger seating with 2nd row captain's chairs, adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and adds standard convenience features such as a proximity key with push button start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and a hands-free Smart Liftgate. The Limited can seat 7 or 8 passengers with 2nd row bench seating, and adds a dual-panel sunroof as well as a 10.25-inch navigation system, a Harmon Kardon premium audio system with 12 speakers and Quantum Logic Surround, an in-car intercom system, and USB outlets in every row.

Hyundai has packed some serious technology into their three trim levels of the Palisade – SE, SEL, and Limited. Some is standard, some optional.

4. Performance and Safety

An HTRAC system can mean more to a vehicle than the expected increase in cost when comparing an AWD option to the standard 2WD vehicle. HTRAC is lingo for Hyundai's premier all-wheel-drive system. The H stands for "Hyundai", while the rest of the acronym stands for "Traction", a name that is appropriate for a system that has many steering and torque distribution controls for the SNOW, SPORT, and COMFORT modes, with a lockable differential for more challenging situations requiring higher torque distribution between the rear wheels. This can lead to much greater stability and performance on rough terrain or adverse weather conditions compared to a typical AWD system, and when combined with Hyundai's Smart Sense active safety features, it can be an attractive selling point for a vehicle that is being considered for family use.

The Hyundai Palisade XRT and Calligraphy models have similar engine specifications and performance ratings. The XRT is equipped with a 3.8L GDI V6 engine. This astonishing engine has an estimated 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an estimated 262 lb.-ft. torque at 5,200 rpm. The XRT comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC and an Electronic Shift Lock System. The Calligraphy's engine, on the other hand, has a different aesthetic, having an HTRAC All Wheel Drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission with an on-demand transfer case.

4.1. Performance specifications of Hyundai Palisade XRT

Towing capability: 2200kg Up to 14% better fuel efficiency Compression ratio: 13:1 ECVVT and GDI technology

Up to 14% better fuel efficiency is achieved through the combination of E-CVVT and GDI technologies. The compression ratio is 13:1. This engine has been named one of Ward's best engines for three years in a row (2019-2021). Palisade's V6 is capable of towing up to 2200kg. Step on the gas and you can easily feel this engine's power and efficiency. Dynamic performance rates at 5.0 seconds for 40-60mph acceleration.

Palisade XRT runs on a 3.8-liter GDI V6 engine with 291 horsepower at 6000rpm and 262 lb-ft torque. Palisade's gasoline direct injection (GDI) V6 offers superb power and efficiency. Palisade weighs 2000kg and can go from 0-100km/h in roughly 7.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 210km/h. Durability is also improved through the application of a polymer-coated piston skirt and other optimizations.

4.2. Performance specifications of Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy

The engine is a 3.8L GDI V6 with direct injection, Atkinson Cycle, and cooled EGR for improved fuel efficiency. This high-revving 24-valve powerplant produces 291 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 262 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 RPM. Calibration of the 3.8 engine coupled to the HTRAC AWD system was performed using various mobile calibration tools and system development in climate regions such as Death Valley, California, and Sweden. The engine is paired with the second generation of Hyundai's 8-speed automatic transmission, complete with a multi-plate torque converter and exclusive transmission tuning. This powertrain combination delivers an ideal mix of strong performance and excellent fuel efficiency, with an approx. 10.2/8.0 L/100km fuel consumption rate (city/highway). This powertrain also gives Calligraphy a best-in-class 5,000-pound towing capacity.

Control hardware included with Hyundai's HTRAC AWD system provides improved vehicle stability while enhancing acceleration and fuel efficiency, with the ability to vary the torque distribution between front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions and traction. Integration can be achieved with vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, and the HTRAC AWD system for an added level of dynamic control when HTRAC is activated. The HTRAC system adds an AWD locking function with variable torque between the front and rear wheels for improved traction and the ability to perform in adverse weather conditions. This is achieved through a proprietary design from Hyundai Mobis to merge the control of the HTRAC system with an AWD clutch and is a step above competitive open differential systems with superior AWD acceleration performance. This mode provides improved acceleration when climbing hills or driving in snow, mud, and sand.

2021 Hyundai Calligraphy offers an advanced HTRAC AWD system featuring an AWD Lock feature and Smart, Snow, Eco, Sport, and Comfort driving modes to allow drivers to tackle various driving conditions. The HTRAC system offers differentiated torque for various driving situations and control befitting different driver preferences. This system is a standard feature on Calligraphy and optional on SEL trim. The AWD lock function gives a 50/50 split of available torque between the front and rear wheels for increased all-weather control and performance. This variant of the AWD system includes a drive mode switch with LED indicators that offer dual-switch control and an intuitive interface. The drive mode selection screen can be viewed through a 10.25-inch display on equipped models and can provide an integrated vehicle status readout for user-friendly AWD control.

4.3. Safety features and ratings comparison

The starting price for the base model XRT is around $3,000 cheaper than the Calligraphy, and the safety features won't be factored in.

Unfortunately, the 3 safety systems do not have individual safety ratings recorded and would not factor into the IIHS safety pick rating criteria. Furthermore, according to the Center for Auto Safety, surround view and rear and front camera systems may not be in compliance with the requirements in FMVSS No. 111 Rearview Mirrors and Video Systems that was issued by Hyundai to recall 5000 Palisades due to non-compliance with the 2018-2021 models. This shows that parents shouldn't rely on those advanced safety features when making a decision.

Looking at the Calligraphy's 2021 model, Hyundai has equipped it with 3 of their smart safety packages. Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Highway Driving Assist, and Surround View Monitor are exclusive to the Calligraphy model. Smart Cruise offers the vehicle the ability to maintain a set distance from the car ahead, even down to a stop and acceleration. Highway driving assist works in conjunction with the Smart Cruise to control the vehicle, keeping a set distance from cars ahead and staying in the middle of the lane, all while using map data and speed limit signs to change the vehicle's speed. Surround View Monitor is a system of cameras around the vehicle to assist with parking by providing a bird's eye view of your surroundings. This system aids with parking and low-speed maneuvers that a standard backup camera would not suffice.

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade XRT and Calligraphy offer the same suite of driver assist features that combine to be classified as an IIHS safety pick. However, those ratings have not been given for the 2021 model year as of July 2021. Safety information for the XRT model can be difficult to find as it's a newer model and not the most popular in the lineup.


[1] M. Ferré Gras, "Desarrollo de una web segura," 2023. ub.edu

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