Hyundai’s all-new and biggest SUV, the 2020 Palisade three-row family hauler, has earned the highest Safety Pick Plus award in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing — but only if you get the optional LED headlights.
The Palisade earned top marks in all crashworthiness tests by IIHS, which got tougher for 2019 with the added requirement for Top Safety Pick of an acceptable or good score (out of good, acceptable, marginal or poor) in the agency’s new passenger-side small overlap frontal crash test.
The Hyundai SUV also got the top score of superior (out of superior, advanced, basic or none) for its standard front crash prevention system with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The system avoided frontal collisions from 12 miles per hour and 25 mph in IIHS track testing.
Things get a little more complicated with it comes to the Palisade’s headlight scores, however. The SUV’s optional LED headlights earn the top good rating in IIHS testing, rounding out the required scores for the Top Safety Pick Plus award. Those headlights are included with the top-line Limited trim level and are offered as part of an option package on the mid-level SEL.
But the base halogen headlights, standard on the SE and SEL models, earned just a marginal rating for both high and low beams because on curves “visibility was inadequate in all four tests,” according to IIHS. That means that models equipped with the base headlights “don’t qualify for the either the Top Safety Pick Plus or the lower-tier Top Safety Pick award,” IIHS said.
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The 2020 Hyundai Palisade award topped results for corporate sibling 2020 Kia Telluride, with which the Palisade shares underpinnings. The Telluride qualified for the second-level Top Safety Pick award, missing the top designation due to just acceptable performance for its best headlights, while the base lights scored poor.
The Palisade competes against vehicles like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, which are Top Safety Picks, as well as the Ford Explorer, which failed to garner any IIHS safety awards due to marginal and poor crash-test scores.
See how the Palisade stacks up against other mid-size SUVs in IIHS testing here.
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