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2021 Hyundai Palisade Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SE vs SEL vs Limited & Calligraphy

What 2021 Hyundai Palisade Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a showpiece. As a three-row SUV, it meets the needs of people who anticipate having a lot of passengers to transport. In addition to being spacious, the SUV is powerful and capable, so performance-minded drivers should be pleased with what it has to offer. On top of all of this, this Hyundai vehicle has been built with numerous high-tech components to enhance the driving experience.

There are four trims of the Palisade, starting with the SE and ending with the refined Calligraphy trim. In the middle are the SEL and Limited. The reality is that all of these trims would be excellent choices, as they come with many attractive features. This guide will give people a better idea of the exact advantages that each trim offers.

Before jumping in to all of the differences, it might be a good idea to discuss the similarities between the trims. First, all of the trims use 3.8-liter engines. This engine is quite capable, as it's able to churn out 291 horsepower. The engine feels very strong whether climbing mountains, hauling cargo, or driving people around town as they run errands or shuttle kids to activities. Torque is 262 pound-feet.

The engine is paired with an eight-speed transmission. It makes for smooth shifting at both high and low speeds. For those times when drivers want to have some control over shifting, there is a manual shift mode called SHIFTRONIC.

Front-wheel drive is standard, and this can be seen as an ideal drivetrain because it's relatively efficient and compact. If anyone feels that he/she would benefit from additional traction when the conditions make it difficult to maintain control, all-wheel drive is available. All-wheel drive models also come with Snow Mode to better set them up for success in the winter, and there's the opportunity to lock the vehicle into AWD mode when tackling tough terrain.

Front-wheel Palisades have pretty good mileage, getting an estimated 19/26 (city/highway) miles per gallon. One component that contributes to efficiency is the Idle Stop & Go function. To save gas, it turns off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, such as when stuck at a red light. When it's time to move again, the engine will automatically turn on. City mileage is the same no matter whether the SUV has front-wheel or all-wheel drive, but highway mileage drops by two miles per gallon when all-wheel drive is selected.

The three rows of seating provide accommodations for seven or eight passengers. The total passenger capacity depends on what trim is selected. There will be more information on this in the detailed trim discussion below.

Behind the last row of seats, the Palisade has 18 cubic feet of space that can be used for storing cargo. When that row is folded down, there is over 45 cubic feet of room. Total cargo volume is a bit more than 84 cubic feet, and all of this space can be created by folding down both the second and third row seatbacks.

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Compare the 2021 Hyundai Palisade SE vs SEL Trim Levels. What is the Difference?

As the basic trim of the Palisade, the SE is only offered as a eight-passenger vehicle. That means that it has a bench in the middle row with three seating positions.

While this configuration is available in the SEL, it's not the only option that the SEL can come with. This trim can be built with captain's chairs as an alternative to that bench seat. Captain's chairs are similar to front bucket seats, and they only come as a pair. In other words, the middle seat is missing when captain's chairs are present in the cabin. This can open up the space and make it easier for people to get in and out of the back row.

Both trims have cloth seats, though the SEL can be upgraded with leather. A few other differences related to seating are that only the SEL has a power-operated driver's seat and heating elements built into the front seats. Also, the SEL has a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

It can be a big convenience to have a Proximity Key, as this allows the key fob to stay in a secure place while people are out and about. The driver just has to have the key fob somewhere close by and can simply touch the door handle to unlock it, and the same is true for locking the door. To start the engine, a button has to be pushed rather than the key having to physically be put in the ignition. The SEL has a Proximity Key, while the SE doesn't.

The standard technology package in the SE is practically the same as the one found on the SEL. They both use an eight-inch touchscreen that can connect with one's smartphone. Recognizing that the Palisade will likely be used to drive many people around, Hyundai has put in multiple USB ports for charging. The SEL even comes with the option to get two charging ports in the third row. There are several other options for customers to consider with the SEL. If someone wishes to upgrade and can pay the additional costs, the SEL can come with wireless charging, an additional seven-inch screen to display vehicle information, and a larger main touchscreen that comes with navigation.

On the outside of the SUV, there are LED accents that make the SUV feel modern and sleek. Complementing those are LED Daytime Running Lights and headlights. Even more LEDs are found in the side mirrors of the SEL, as they have turn signal indicators integrated into them. The SEL also has pocket lights built into the door handles that can kind of act as a welcome when people approach the vehicle, LED interior cabin lights, and optional LEDs in the taillights.

The SE doesn't have the sunroof that the SEL has, nor does it have roof rails. One additional difference in this category is that only the SEL has an available hands-free smart liftgate. It can open and close on its own, preventing the need to juggle a lot of items in one's hand and physically push or pull the gate up or down.

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade comes with an impressive standard safety package. It consists of a monitoring system that will watch out for obstacles when parking, sensors that can warn drivers if it seems like they're about to hit other vehicles or pedestrians in front of them, a few systems that work together to keep the Palisade centered in its lane, and a warning mechanism that tries to keep drivers focused on the roads. In addition, the Palisade has smart cruise control, which is an advanced type of cruise control that can adjust speed according to what the vehicle in front of the Palisade is doing. Smart cruise control on this Hyundai can even bring things to a stop if there's a traffic jam.

A few extra features are included with the SEL. This trim can detect the presence of other vehicles in the Palisade's blind spots or cars that are crossing behind the SUV while it's backing up. Not only can it warn drivers to potential problems in this regard, but it can also hit the brakes to keep a collision from occurring.

Compare the 2021 Hyundai Palisade SEL vs Limited Trims. What is the Difference?

From a safety standpoint, these two trims are nearly identical to each other. The only distinction is that the Limited has an ultrasonic rear seat occupant alert. It can detect movements from the back seat, and if it seems like children are in the vehicle by themselves, the vehicle will start beeping, flash its lights, and send an alert to the driver's smartphone. The SEL's rear occupant alert system does not have the ultrasonic component that can detect movement, so it only notices a problem if it seems like the children have entered the vehicle before it started moving but don't exit when the driver exits.

There are a few exterior differences. First of all, the hands-free smart liftgate is standard in the Limited and only optional on the SEL. The same can be said for LED taillights. Also, the Limited has windshield wipers that can turn on when it's raining and turn off when not needed.

Inside the cabin, the Limited definitely feels more upscale, as it has Nappa leather seats, a textured headliner, and a sunroof with two panels. Both its first- and second-row seats can heat up in the winter and cool down in the summer. Taking advantage of modern innovations, Hyundai has put in power-folding seats in the back row and a memory system in the driver's seat that remembers someone's favorite position.

In the technology department, Hyundai has upgraded the Limited trim with a 10.25-inch touchscreen. It has a navigation program built into it, and this program can take traffic into account as it figures out the quickest route from one point to another. To enhance the sound quality, the Limited uses a 12-speaker sound system that uses music restoration technology. One feature that drivers and passengers will appreciate is the in-vehicle intercom, which allows people to hear the driver better through the use of the speakers. Ambient lighting is standard, and it offers the choice of 64 different colors.

Further justifying the nearly $10,000 price jump from the SEL to the Limited are many other technological elements. The Limited has a 360-degree surround view camera to provide drivers with more information as they navigate tight spaces. It has wireless device charging and a heads-up display that can project key data straight onto the windshield in an unobtrusive manner. If the driver wishes to view the information elsewhere, there's a huge 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster right behind the steering wheel. On that instrument cluster, drivers can see a live feed of what's in their blind spots.

The Limited comes standard with Hyundai Blue Link, but this technology is only an option on the SEL. Through Blue Link, someone's smartphone can be used to connect with the SUV. Drivers can remotely start their engines, unlock or lock their doors, run diagnostic tests, and find the exact locations of their SUVs.

Note that the Limited only has the seven-seat configuration. This may be a limiting factor for some customers with large families or those who need that extra seat.

Compare the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Limited vs Calligraphy Trim. What is the Difference?

The Calligraphy comes with a modest price increase and a few key differences, most of which are related to style. For instance, it has puddle lights on the side mirrors that almost invite people to take a closer look, and it has unique rear accent lighting. There are minor changes to the Calligraphy's skid plates, grille, and side doors to make the SUV more sophisticated.

Like the Limited, the Calligraphy has Nappa leather seats, but it also has quilted leather on its door panels. Those panels, along with a microfiber headliner, almost make the vehicle feel like a premium lounge area. Perforated leather has been used on the steering wheel, and this adds to the overall aesthetic of the cabin.

One change related to function is that the Calligraphy is exclusively offered with all-wheel drive.

Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals,   Edmunds,   CarsDirect,   NADAguides  &  Motortrend. These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim to Choose?

For most people, the extras that are found in the Calligraphy trim are fun but not necessary. Perforated leather in the steering wheel, for example, wouldn't be missed by too many drivers. That narrows the field down to three trims, all of which have their own advantages.

As long as someone could afford it, the Limited would be a great choice for people who love modern technology and want the very best of what the industry has to offer. It has many special elements, such as a surround view monitor, navigation, and premium sound system, that can attract a lot of attention. However, many people have been doing just fine with the basics for so many years and might not feel like all of the technology is worth the significant increase in price.

That leaves the SE and SEL. Out of these two trims, the SEL comes out on top. Some of its upgrades are the proximity key and sunroof, and what's really nice is that it gives customers the choice of whether to get seven or eight seats in the cabin. It feels luxurious in several ways, and most importantly, it's relatively affordable.

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Previous Hyundai Palisade Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Trim Levels
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