Should Hyundai bring the very big, very American Palisade SUV to NZ?
Search Driven for Hyundai for sale
We quite like the new Hyundai Santa Fe. So much so that it made it into our AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year finalists pool.
The seven-seater is an impressive step up on the previous model, with its level of refinement, third-row comfort, and car-like driving characteristics.
But, for Americans, that's not enough.
This is the Hyundai Palisade — revealed to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
It's big ... 4981mm long, 1976mm wide, and 1750mm tall to be precise. It slots into Hyundai's North American range as not only the largest vehicle in the line-up, but also as the largest Hyundai ever made.
There's currently one engine; an Atkinson-cycle version of Hyundai's GDI 3.8-litre V6 that develops 217kW at 6000rpm and 355Nm at 5000rpm. It's paired exclusively with an eight-speed automatic with a multi-plate torque converter. Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive will both be optional choices.
Click here to read our first drive report on the Hyundai Santa Fe
But the leading talking point surrounding the Palisade is the way it looks. It retains Hyundai's signature 'cascading' grill but almost everything else about its exterior looks like a sly imitation of the apple pie nation's biggest SUVs. Think Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, and GMC Yukon ... all the rap-video specials.
Think about the dashes of chrome, the 20-inch wheels, the headlights and taillights that suck into the vehicle's character lines, the spaced out 'Palisade' badging on the tailgate, and the whopping 16-cup-holder interior count. This car knows its market.
The problem with all of this, from a Kiwi perspective, is that Hyundai are currently only planning to make the Palisade in left-hand drive — despite it being produced in South Korea alongside the Santa Fe, Tucson, and i30 hatch.
But, there is a small nugget of hope for anyone interested in the king-size SUV. Hyundai Australia have shown a strong interest in bringing the Palisade down under in a right-hand drive format. And, Hyundai New Zealand are also keen to do the same.
We contacted Hyundai NZ Product & Dealer Specialist Ross Wenzlick yesterday to enquire about their position. And, after reiterating that the Palisade is currently left-hand drive only, Wenzlick said "We are however keen to have it available in NZ if it becomes available in RHD."
With Hyundai's Kiwi SUV range receiving a full overhaul in 2018 — the new Kona and Kona EV joining the face-lifted Tucson and Santa Fe — it would seemingly make sense to further arm themselves in the SUV and ute arms race.
For now, it looks like the Palisade will just become 'one of those weird cars we can't buy here'. But, if that looks likely to change, we'll let you know.