Moving in our long-term 2021 Hyundai Palisade | The box is a winner

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Can you move in a three-row crossover or SUV without tearing the hair out of your scalp in frustration? That’s the question I recently tried to answer with our long-term 2021 Hyundai Palisade test vehicle.

Of course, most folks think of box trucks, vans or full-size pickups and trailers when the subject of moving comes around. We humans tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years, so moving all of it requires much more space than you might think you need. Our Palisade is big, but it’s not U-Haul box truck levels of big. It became clear right away that moving in a Palisade is a haul you chip away at bit by bit, just not in one fell swoop.

What we really have here is a luggage test on steroids. Instead of bags and suitcases, I loaded the Palisade up with items like a bed, mattress, dressers, an entertainment center and lots of boxes of personal belongings.

Let’s start with some dimensions and cargo figures. Cargo capacity behind the front row of seats measures out to 86.4 cubic-feet, which is the one number that matters in this context since I had the seats down 100% of the time for the move. That’s rather enormous, and we have the Palisade’s boxy shape to thank for it. There were several occasions throughout the move that the extra space afforded by this design came in handy, as it allows you to effectively stack items up all the way back to the liftgate without getting cut off (see below).

The most impressive item the Palisade fit is without a doubt a queen mattress. It required me moving the driver’s seat up about an inch further than I would have preferred, but that’s a small price to pay for fitting a whole mattress inside a car. For some perspective, a queen mattress is 80 inches long and 60 inches wide. It stretched the entire way front-to-back, but what actually caused a problem was the width. Apologies to Hyundai on this one, but the mattress did rip off one of the grocery hooks mounted just inside the hatch as we pried it out (you can see how snug it fits in the photo) of the car — fellow Palisade owners, watch your clearances, because those hooks are vulnerable.

Next on the list were a pair of credenzas. These giant wooden cabinets required nearly every inch of length, but also illustrated a point about the Palisade’s cargo height. I initially tried to stand them vertically on their tops, but the relatively short tables would not fit through the opening, and the legs don't let it stand up straight once inside. Any minivan currently for sale today would have easily allowed the tables to enter upright through their enormous openings. It’s a shortcoming of crossovers and SUVs due to their higher ride height necessitating a higher lift-over height, which was also slightly annoying when it came to putting heavy items in the Palisade. A minivan would’ve fit both credenzas in one trip, but the Palisade required two due to me having to lay them on their side.

Don’t think I’m entirely down about the Palisade’s height, though. Check out the box- and item-stacking ability in the photo below. And yes, that’s a bicycle squeezed in on the right.

You can stack boxes of clothes and other items way up in this big crossover. But we’ll also note that you should be stacking with care here. Make sure there are no loose items that can be flung forward in the event of a crash or heavy braking situation. Brace blocking items up against the front seatbacks as protection, and make sure nothing can fly forward to hinder or hurt you in any way.

It’s right about now in my move that I was really wishing for a digital rearview camera mirror to see through the blind spots. Hyundai doesn’t offer that, but there is a little something to assuage vision woes. Checking blind spots with items stacked up by the rear windows gets difficult. That’s where the Blind View Monitors come into play. I was loving the blind spot camera feeds in the cluster (which activate with turn signal activation) already, but they become doubly useful when your natural turn-your-head-around vision is impaired. I could see my blind spots as well as ever with these cameras, allowing me to be confident making lane changes on the highway. I became friendly with this feature over my month with the Palisade, and now I miss it on other cars. It’s not a must-have, but it sure does make life better if you do a lot of highway driving.

Besides the ability to fit items into the car, there’s the cost aspect of moving. Achieving good fuel economy back and forth from your old place (S/O to my partner's Mazda3 Hatchback for being the overflow car on the final trip) to the new one is paramount if you’re deciding between using your own car or renting a U-Haul. I averaged just above 24 mpg throughout my many highway runs to move in the Palisade. Acquiring a U-Haul truck for the few days I would’ve needed was over $400. That requires fewer trips and less time, but gas in the Palisade was ultimately the cheaper option for the distance I was moving. Plus, driving around our shockingly luxurious Palisade beats the hell out of a creaky and uncomfortable U-Haul truck. And before you tell us to just hook a trailer up to it, trust us, we tried to go down that path. Hyundai’s official tow hitch accessory (a $475 option) has been unavailable for months, with no light at the end of the tunnel for when we might be able to acquire it.

So what have we learned here? In short, the Palisade is a solid moving vehicle. Its overall capacity is more suited to helping parents move their kids into their dorm room in college, but you can still move from house-to-house if you’re willing to make plenty of trips. However, we’d still recommend a minivan as the ultimate combination of daily driving excellence and packing prowess.

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