By all accounts, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade and its corporate sibling, the 2020 Kia Telluride, are extremely competitive entries in the mainstream three-row crossover segment. They’re probably responsible for Ford substantially lowering prices on the 2021 Ford Explorer. Hyundai failed to anticipate demand for either crossover and is playing catch up at their factories, which is a pretty decent problem to have.
Although there is one situation they probably would rather not be saddled with right now: certain models of the Palisade seem to be quite smelly.
The issue gained newfound attention when Cars.com published an article outlining their attempts to quell the rank odors coming from the beige Nappa leather seats in their Palisade Limited. But owners have been complaining about the smell for several months now. Over at the Hyundai Palisade Forum, a thread started about four months ago garnered numerous responses from owners commiserating about their stinky Hyundais.
Apparently, the headrests are to blame. So far, the comparisons being thrown around compare the smell to garlic, onion rings, generic chemical smell, or just plain stank. But views differ. There doesn’t seem to be any definitive origin or solution to the problem either. From Cars.com:
Our leading theory is that it takes heat and sitting with the windows up for the smell to reach George Clinton-level funkiness, which we suspect might be slowly releasing from the seats (or head restraints, if you believe that theory). After all, we didn’t catch our first whiff until six months and 8,000 miles into ownership. Some staffers have found the smell as offensive as I do, poring over the car looking for a rotting potato or spilled solvent, while others recognized the smell but the intensity wasn’t offensive enough to keep them from driving it. To some, the smell stopped being noticeable after driving for 10-15 minutes, or wasn’t noticeable at all.
Hyundai seems to be aware of the issue and the Cars.com Palisade already had some potential remedies thrown into it. Interestingly enough, not all of the editors at the website found the smell offensive. It seems the nose-destroying odor surfaced when the Hyundai spent considerable time out in the sun with the windows down. That may have led to the group down different smelling-related paths.
If you are in the market for a Palisade, you probably want to sniff around the beige leather before signing off on the paperwork. Or just opt for the cloth interior. Otherwise, these still seems like pretty compelling crossovers. Especially for those of us with routinely stuffed up noses due to allergies. You can’t smell bad odors if you can’t smell anything at all!