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2022 Ford Explorer vs Hyundai Palisade

2022 Ford Explorer vs Hyundai Palisade
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2022 Explorer vs Palisade - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

Whether you shop for your new third-row SUV in person or on the Internet, you'll find that the market is currently loaded with these vehicles at the moment. This segment happens to be one of the most competitive, as all of these mammoth vehicles attempt to top one another in terms of available passenger and cargo space, power, and included technological features. The 2022 Ford Explorer and the 2022 Hyundai Palisade are two such rivals that demand your close attention.

The 2022 Ford Explorer gives you a spacious cargo area into which you can pack all manner of items. There is also a good slew of engine options that deliver plenty of power; rear-wheel-drive (RWD) gives the Explorer enhanced towing and handling capabilities. However, you will hear a good amount of wind noise rushing past at higher rates of speed. Also, the price is hard to justify given how uninspired and cheap the interior materials look and feel.

Now, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade puts up a good fight. It offers plenty of space in all three rows, so nobody should end up feeling cramped. The seats are comfy all throughout and offer ample support for longer trips. On top of that, there are a number of high-tech standard and optional features that cater to all types of users.

The downsides? Well, handling could be better. Some rivals make their third-row SUVs feel less boat-like. The Palisade definitely feels as big as it is.

Which one of these two huge third-row SUVs is going to be the best people hauler? Does one offer significantly more value than the other? Which vehicle fits into your budget the most easily? Let's compare these two vehicles to find out, then you can make an informed decision.

The Powertrain

A beefy powertrain can make owning a third-row SUV a rather pleasant experience. They have to be able to lug a lot of weight around, even when you only have one or two passengers sitting in it. Of course, an under-powered powertrain can leave you feeling left in the dust by every other vehicle on the road with you.

The 2022 Ford Explorer gives buyers a few different powertrain choices. Standard is the base trim's turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which is able to make 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. RWD is standard although all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option. On the Timberline trim, AWD comes standard. You can order the Limited trim as a gas-powered model or as the Limited Hybrid. The latter has a V6-based hybrid powertrain that generates 318 hp combined. Additionally, it dredges up the best fuel economy of the lot, getting up to an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The ST trim is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque and features a sport-tuned suspension.

The Explorer is the third-row SUV to get if you long for composed handling capabilities and swift acceleration. Even the base engine feels eager to rapidly accelerate. There is quite a lot of road grip from whichever size tires you decide to ride around on. This vehicle deals with all the power it puts out quite easily. The robust turbo four-cylinder base engine sprints right past the competition. Never mind the crazy turbo V6 on the ST that goes all-out on delivering a powerful performance. The 10-speed transmission downshifts exactly when you give it the prompt to do so, but in low-speed traffic, the shifting can feel rather indecisive whether it is trying to go up or down in gears.

The turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine gets slightly better EPA estimates than other top rivals. An RWD model gets 24 mpg combined while the AWD gets 23 mpg combined. That's about 1 or 2 mpg better than most competitors. Real-world tests struggle to match these estimates though. Those get more like 21 mpg combined. Sadly, this more closely matches lower-rated rivals.

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade receives its power from a standard 3.8-liter V6 engine that gets 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This V6 engine is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is availably for any trim level you choose.

Going from 0 to 60 mph takes about 7.6 seconds, - an average time for a third-row SUV. You can easily pass other vehicles on the highway or on back country roads. What's more, the Palisade delivers some smooth and predictable braking, performing well in emergency stops and regular driving scenarios. Handling and steering are not quite as solid, as the massive Hyundai just feels large. It isn't a hot mess while rounding through turns, staying in control of body motions. The smooth shifting from its eight-speed automatic makes this SUV feel like an easy-going ride for any type of driving.

Fuel economy is decent enough on the Palisade. EPA estimates for an AWD Palisade sit at 21 mpg combined, and real-world tests reflect this estimate. There are rivals that offer better fuel efficiency, but many of them require premium unleaded fuel. The Palisade's V6 does just fine with regular 87 octane.

Drivability

Drivability is a phrase that we use to describe how well-rounded a vehicle functions as a daily driver. How comfortable are the seats to sit in for hours on end? Is the ride quality smooth and plush enough without coming off as too floaty? Are the materials used in the vehicle's interior design of high quality? Are the cabin's controls intuitively laid out? Are the tech features easy to use? How much cargo space is available? How many small item storage areas can you utilize? These are some of the main factors we talk about when discussing a vehicle's drivability.

The 2022 Ford Explorer's front seats are soft and well sculpted, contouring to the body with remarkable ease. You might want to think of skipping the optional massaging front seats since the massaging mechanism makes the seatbacks feel bumpy when the massager is turned off. Seat comfort declines row by row. The ride is mostly smooth, but smaller road imperfections are rather noticeable.

The automatic climate control system basically mandates that you make more manual adjustments than is ideal, and the air vents don't pump out as much air when you lower the temperature. The Explorer isn't all that serene either. Engine noise is difficult to mask even with music playing, and too much wind noise can be heard even at moderate highway speeds.

The front seats are plenty spacious, and you can effortlessly adjust to find a commanding driving position. Visibility is good thanks to there being enough glass on the windows and sizable side mirrors. Unfortunately, the second-row passengers don't have much room for their knees and legs, and the third row is not suitable for taller adults. Access via the rear door is tricky if the doors aren't able to be opened past the first detent. The third-row's power-folding mechanism is handy, sure, but raising the row for occupants can only be done from inside the hatch.

The lower Explorer models start you off with a standard 8-inch touchscreen, Sync 3 infotainment system, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On the Limited, you gain an integrated navigation and the superb Bang & Olufsen premium sound system. You can get an 10.1-inch vertical touchscreen, but its thin profile is not all that compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the rearview camera's display.

The Explorer's cargo hold is nothing short of cavernous. When you leave the third-row seats upright, space is just a tad too tight, but about three or four rolling suitcases can be stashed in the back. Up front, there is an abundance of small-item storage. Also, child seats can effortlessly be installed into the second row. RWD makes the Explorer tailored for towing, even with a 5,000-pound max towing capacity. The trailer tow package gives you a receiver hitch, four- and seven-pin wiring, a tow-haul transmission mode, support for an add-on electric trailer brake controller, and an advanced blind-spot monitoring system that extends the entire length of your trailer.

That being said, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade is all about comfort. You will maybe hear some minimal road and wind noise at the max, and its climate control system is serene and still quite effective at distributing air. The front seats have enough bolstering and structure built into them. They practically ooze comfort. The available second-row captain's chairs are even cozier than some of the front seats you'll find in the Palisade's rivals. Even the seat cushion in the third row has exemplary contouring.

The Hyundai Palisade has a comfortable and somewhat upscale interior that borders on luxury. Despite a couple of controls located on the center stack being slightly out of reach, the controls are intuitively laid out. You get a commanding view of both the front and sides of the Palisade, but the rear visibility is limited. You'll have to rely on the optional surround-view system for better visuals. There are wide rear doors openings, and the optional second-row captain's chairs can slide with just the push of a button. This gives you a clear path to the third row.

The Palisade gives you standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, and you can charge your phone via multiple USB ports equipped in all three rows. The infotainment screen is wide and provides crisp graphics. The included navigation system has a couple of handy features built into it. You can get a rear-seat intercom feature on the Limited, and the sound quality from the available 10-speaker sound system is respectable. However, the optional turn-signal camera display in the gauge cluster comes off as being a distraction more than an assistive feature.

With 18 cubic feet behind the third row seat, you get enough space to work with. This maxes out at 87 cubes with when you fold both back rows of seats down. You do get a wide hatch opening and underfloor storage compartment. Also, the 2022 Palisade can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. That is just about average for this segment. Small-item storage is generous with a massive center bin with a cover that can retract. You also get a second bin located on the floor between the front seats, not to mention the traditionally-styled center console. Cupholders do retract but are kind of on the small side. Rear-facing child car seats fit into the back without a problem, and you won't have to dig around for the anchors.

Safety

Safety is indeed a primary concern for drivers on the road these days. Auto manufacturers are aware of the demand for advanced safety features and designs. Both Ford and Hyundai are know full well how to create well-working driver aids and equip quite a few of them on their SUVs.

The 2022 Ford Explorer offers frontal collision mitigation, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, and trailer sway control. The ST-Line adds more driver assist features, such as the full lane keeping system, evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system. The Limited equips additional technology and driver assist features from the ST-Line and Timberline. The ST tacks on a digital instrument panel, and the King Ranch adds rear automatic braking. On the line-topping Platinum, you gain adaptive headlights and an automated parking system.

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is equipped with standard forward collision mitigation, a blind-spot monitor with a rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors for the rear, and lane keeping assist. The Convenience package adds front sensors, and the Premium package gives you the lane keeping system. Either one can be added to the SEL trim level and come standard on the Limited trim. The Limited tacks on a blind-spot camera and 360-degree camera system.

Which Has the Best Value?

Which vehicle brings the most value to the table? Take a time-out and think about it before you finalize your decision on which vehicle you're going to buy. Which vehicle has the most overall value? Buyers need to do their research and hear about owners' experiences since taking a vehicle for a test-drive can only tell you so much about it.

The 2022 Ford Explorer is plagued by too many hard plastics, hideous paneling gaps, and bland details all over the place. This isn't some super-basic economy vehicle, so we should be seeing more quality. Top rivals feature well-equipped top trims cost less the measly Explorer XLT with the bare minimum in options. Also, the Explorer's warranty coverage is lackluster by comparison.

Potential buyers will likely prioritize rugged on-road agility and strong powertrain performance if they want to balance out all the downsides. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost delivers better fuel economy... theoretically, at least. But most won't achieve the EPA ratings in regular driving. This makes overall value simply 'meh.'

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade has value in droves. Aside from its corporate cousin, the Kia Telluride, it has some of the best value in its segment. The driving performance, tech and safety features, and quality of materials are all superb. The base models even go above and beyond while the Limited and Calligraphy border on luxury status - without the beefy price tag. The industry-best 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance only serve as the cherry on top.

Which is Better?

While the 2022 Ford Explorer is indeed a decent vehicle, it is being bested by the 2022 Hyundai Palisade. Hyundai's generous warranty coverage is hard to ignore, and the overall quality of this third-row SUV is magnificent. All told, the Palisade is sure to reel in buyers from all walks of life and keep them safe and comfortable for years to come.

View Comparisons for other Years:

2021 Ford Explorer VS Hyundai Palisade