2019 Toyota Highlander vs. 2020 Hyundai Palisade

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Palisade doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Highlander AWD’s standard Downhill Assist Control allows you to creep down safely. The Palisade doesn’t offer Downhill Assist Control.

Both the Highlander and the Palisade have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Palisade has not been tested, yet.


Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Palisade.

There are over 47 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.


The Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (295 vs. 291) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 262) than the Palisade’s 3.8 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Highlander gets better fuel mileage than the Palisade:




LE 3.5 DOHC V6

21 city/27 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

2.7 DOHC 4 cyl.

20 city/24 hwy


LE 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy



3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy


3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Highlander LE Plus/XLE/Limited/Platinum’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.

Suspension and Handling

For greater off-road capability the Highlander has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Palisade (8 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the Highlander to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


The Highlander is 3.6 inches shorter than the Palisade, making the Highlander easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The Highlander has .1 inches more front legroom and 1.9 inches more third row hip room than the Palisade.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander’s optional rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Palisade’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.


The Highlander Limited/Platinum’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.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Highlander, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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