Is The Hyundai Palisade AWD?

Knowing what mechanical options your prospective vehicle comes with is important when you're shopping for a new one. And while you might not have given much thought to the difference between all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) options before, the number of SUVs that offer each option has grown considerably. If you are considering the Hyundai Palisade as your family's next vehicle, you'll want to know whether or not you'll be getting an AWD SUV. We researched this vehicle extensively so that you know what options you will have before you make the trip to the car lot.

The Hyundai Palisade comes standard with front-wheel drive in three of its four trim levels. These trim levels are the SE, the SEL, and the Limited. These three trim levels have the AWD feature as an upgrade option. The fourth trim level is the Calligraphy. In this trim level, AWD is standard.

Now that we know which Hyundai Palisades comes standard with two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, we'll look more closely at the pros and cons of having AWD in this vehicle. You might have other questions regarding this popular SUV. Is the Palisade good for off-roading? How does this SUV perform in snowy conditions? Which is better, all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive? To discover the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post.

A collage of hyundai palisade, Is The Hyundai Palisade AWD?

AWD and the Hyundai Palisade: The Pros and the Cons

Choosing which drive feature is an important one, and you'll want to have a pretty good idea of which one best suits your needs prior to meeting someone on the car lot. Here, we'll look at some of the pros and cons of equipping your Hyundai Palisade with AWD.


Having any vehicle equipped with AWD will give you better traction when you accelerate. This comes in especially useful when you're driving in adverse weather conditions. If it's snowy, your Palisade will be able to maneuver its way through the elements with a lot more ease than a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Likewise, you'll have an easier time driving through heavy rains. Even icy roads are better navigated with the AWD feature.

Light off-roading is also easier if you have AWD. As your vehicle's wheels will need different levels of traction at any given time when it's off-pavement, a FWD vehicle just isn't going to match up to its AWD counterpart.


The biggest con most people will notice is that there is quite a difference in the cost between the two options. AWDs tend to be substantially more expensive than FWD ones. 

Aside from the higher sticker price, you'll also incur more expenses when it comes to fuel economy. AWD vehicles get noticeably poor gas mileage when compared to those with FWD.

It's important to keep in mind that just because an AWD SUV will accelerate better in adverse weather, it doesn't mean it has superior braking ability. The traction advantage of an AWD won't add any advantage to the braking at all. So while an AWD will be better to avoid getting stuck, proper tires and alert driving are still vital when it comes to stopping.

For a full list of specs for the Hyundai Palisade, click here. This breaks all of the specs down by trim level in an easy-to-follow chart.

Which Hyundais are AWD?

With a long list of models and trim levels available, it's not surprising to discover that Hyundai offers many with AWD as either an option or a standard feature. Below are the models that can be purchased with AWD:

  • Kona
  • Tuscan
  • Santa Fe
  • Santa Fe XL
  • Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade suv at a dealership in Halifax's North End, Is The Hyundai Palisade Good In Snow

Does Hyundai Palisade have 4 wheel drive?

The Hyundai Palisade does not have four-wheel drive as an option. As we noted earlier in this post, three of the four Palisade trim levels come equipped with front-wheel drive but have AWD as an upgrade option. These three trim levels are the SE, the SEL, and the Limited. The Calligraphy only comes equipped with AWD.

While some might confuse four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, there are differences between these two mechanical features. Four-wheel drive vehicles allow the driver to switch between two and four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive vehicles have sensors that will communicate to each individual wheel, letting it know how much power and torque it needs to operate. 

This makes four-wheel drives a bit better in deeper snow and will make for a better vehicle to take on serious off-roading adventures. 

Is the Hyundai Palisade good off-road?

The Palisade works moderately well off-road, so long as you have one that is equipped with AWD. The FWD models won't fare near as well, especially on rough mountain roads or rocky trails.

This SUV is best suited for light to moderate off-roading. If you want to have an intense off-road experience, you'll probably want to consider a vehicle that has four-wheel drive.

Is the Hyundai Palisade good in snow?

Equipping your Hyundai Palisade with the all-wheel-drive feature will definitely make it more drivable in the snow. While a front-wheel-drive vehicle is capable of getting you to and from places in the snow, they tend to have trouble accelerating when the roads get slick from ice. 

Snow, ice, and rain will make for a driving surface that impacts each of your tires differently. An all-wheel-drive vehicle will send data to each wheel so that it knows exactly how much power and torque are needed to accelerate without spinning. This makes an AWD ideal for avoiding getting stuck in the snow or from spinning out of control on the ice.

As we mentioned earlier in this post, driving an all-wheel-drive SUV gives you a lot of accelerating advantages during adverse weather. However, this will not give your vehicle any better braking ability. If you're driving in the snow or rain or hit an icy stretch of road, you'll need to be prepared to safely stop your vehicle so that you can afford accident and injury. Have your vehicle routinely inspected, and be absolutely certain that your tires are well treaded and balanced. Additionally, avoid driving in the worst conditions if at all possible.

Is AWD better than FWD?

While the terminology AWD and FWD can be confusing, it's important to know that there are differences between these two mechanical options. Knowing which one your vehicle is equipped with will impact not only how you drive the vehicle but also how you should maintain it.

AWD is great for those drivers who do not want to have to decide on their own when to switch driving modes. The vehicle's sensors determine if all wheels need to be exerting the same amount of power and torque or if one wheel or pair of wheels needs to be given an extra boost. The traction in an AWD vehicle also tends to be better during light off-roading or in moderate weather conditions.

In contrast, those that have a front-wheel-drive car will have all of the vehicle's power on the front axels. This means it won't be as effective in hazardous road conditions when accelerating. On the plus side, the FWD models tend to be a little less expensive and also get much better fuel economy.

As for which one is the best, it will depend on the driver and where the vehicle will be driven. If you are driving in rougher conditions, like to do light off-roading, or live in an area that gets a lot of rain or snow, the AWD might be the better option. But for typical, day-to-day driving, a lot of consumers are gravitating toward FWD vehicles. As the technology behind AWD mechanicals continues to evolve, experts say their popularity will continue to climb.

In Closing


2020 Hyundai Palisade seven passenger sport utility vehicle at a dealership

For consumers that are unsure whether or not all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive is the better option, Hyundai's Palisade offers both for three of its four trim levels. Knowing which one is best for you will depend on how you drive, in what conditions you most drive in, and your overall budget. Understanding how both options work, as well as how they will impact your driving, is critical for making the right choice in your next vehicle purchase.

If you've found this post on the Hyundai Palisade to be informative, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following automotive posts:

 Is Driving in Four-Wheel Drive on a Highway Safe?

Driving a Motorhome (9 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Behind the Wheel)

What Truck Models Come In Double Cab? [Full-Size And Midsize 2021]

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