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For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RXL have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Hyundai Palisade doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.
The RXL has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Palisade doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RXL offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Palisade doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
Both the RXL and the Palisade have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RXL the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Palisade has not been tested, yet.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the RXL second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Palisade isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.
The RX 450hL’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid produces 17 more horsepower (308 vs. 291) than the Palisade’s 3.8 DOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the RX 450hL gets better fuel mileage than the Palisade 4WD (29 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/24 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the RXL Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Palisade doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the RXL Hybrid’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Palisade doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The RX 450hL has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Palisade doesn’t offer a CVT.
The RXL’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Palisade are solid, not vented.
The RXL offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Palisade’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The RXL has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Palisade doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For greater off-road capability the RXL has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Palisade (8.2 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the RXL to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The RXL has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Palisade doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 63% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.
The RXL’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Palisade’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The RXL’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Palisade SE/SEL’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RXL offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Palisade doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RXL offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Palisade doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RXL also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The RXL offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Palisade offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The RXL has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Palisade SEL/Limited.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RXL, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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