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Review: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on December 6, 2019 by itnerd

So I have come to the end of my review of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury. While I did have some minor criticisms, Hyundai has absolutely nailed this three row crossover. It drives well, it handles well, it has an interior that puts luxury cars to shame. But what impressed me the most is the reaction of anyone who saw it and assumed that was the top of the line trim level, only to then find out it was the third of four trim levels, and were then shocked at the price. That highlights the fact that Hyundai has taken a lot of content and packed it into this three row crossover at a price point that will put it at the top of a lot of shopping lists.

My final fuel economy was 11.5 L/100 KM which given that it was a mix of city and highway driving is pretty impressive. Doubly so given that there’s a V6 under the hood of a big vehicle.

Back to price. The 2020 Hyundai Palisade starts at $38,499 for the base level Essential trim level and goes as high as $53,999 for the Ultimate trim with all the toys. This Luxury trim slots in at $50,199 and I suspect that this will where most of Hyundai’s sales will come from. It’s got pretty much everything that shoppers in this segment are looking for at a great price point. If you must cross shop it against other vehicles, the Mazda CX-9 is the only vehicle that comes to mind as a competitor. Specifically in the Signature trim. The thing is that Hyundai even in the Preferred trim level beats the CX-9 at a lower price point. And if you were were to go up to the Ultimate trim level which makes the two vehicles about the same money, there are features in the Palisade that make it the clear choice. On top of that, the Palisade has a V6 engine under the hood which some buyers will prefer over the turbo 4 cylinder that comes with the CX-9. Any other competitors that I can think of are in the luxury space which shows you how upscale the Palisade is.

Mark my words, you will be seeing a lot of Palisades on the road very soon. This is a great vehicle and I suspect that they won’t be on dealers lots for very long.

Review: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury – Part 4

Posted in Products with tags on December 5, 2019 by itnerd

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury is a SUV packed with healthy amount of technology in it. Let’s start with the safety aspects of the vehicle:

  • You get autonomous emergency braking which will bring the Palisade to a stop if it detects an object in front of it, and you take no action to avoid said object. But it will also do the same thing if you are backing out of a parking space and you don’t react to a rear cross traffic alert.
  • Blind spot monitoring is included. Not only does it warn you when you are about to do an ill advised lane change, but it also alerts you based on distance and relative speed. But you get one other feature that I will get to momentarily.
  • Rear cross traffic alerts as well as rear parking sensors present to make either parking or reversing out of a parking space easier. If you don’t react to an alert quick enough, the Palisade will stop itself.
  • One real highlight is that lane departure warning and assist functionality is included. It is one of the better systems that I have tested lately and I say that because any steering corrections that it makes are gentle and does not freak you out while doing so. Plus if it has to make an audible warning, it does so in a way that doesn’t freak out you or your passengers.
  • There’s an attention assist feature which monitors your driving and will suggest that you should take a break if it thinks you are getting tired.
  • You get automatic headlights so that you never forget to turn the headlights on or off. Speaking of the headlights, they are nice, bright, white LEDs that are very easy on the eyes, and go a fair distance down the road and cover the left and right sides of the road. On a country road they are bright enough that you’ll be able to see any animals like deer and moose that may be coming from your left or right side.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with traffic stop and go is on board and I used it to make stop and go traffic situations far more bearable as it will almost stop and go on its own. The only exception is if the Palisade has been sitting stationary for a bit which requires you to tap the accelerator to get going again.

Now, the cool tech starts with this:

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When you activate the turn signal, the Palisade will use the left or right side camera on the mirrors to display what is in your blind spot in the center console between the two gauges. That way you can make safer lane changes. It’s a very cool feature that will make driving safer.

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The Palisade has the ability to warn those who are exiting the vehicle if there’s a potential threat from a passing car, bike or human. I tested this in downtown Toronto and it worked insanely well as it was able to even detect joggers who were running close to the Palisade. This is going to help keep people safe.

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This birds eye view camera system makes parking the Palisade incredibly easy. Pair that up with the front and rear parking sensors and parallel parking is going to be a none issue.

Other tech includes:

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included. It gets served up on an 10.25” screen which is extremely sharp, has great contrast and is viewable in all lighting conditions. The infotainment system user interface was easy to navigate and didn’t display any lag whatsoever. That was completely in line with other Hyundai products that I’ve tried recently. One other note is that I observed that info such as song names from Apple CarPlay showed up in the center TFT screen which was cool as not many car makers have that.
  • In terms of the factory infotainment system, there’s hard buttons for functions like the phone, radio, navigation etc. That also helps to make this system easy to use. Plus the graphics have been updated and navigation through the infotainment system is quick and easy. You can also do a limited amount of tweaking to make it suit your use case.
  • There’s a 630 – watt harman/kardon audio system that sounds incredibly good as I had no complaints when I was listening to radio or tunes from my iPhone. My current audio torture playlist which includes LookLA, Ruelle, Snoh Aalegra, SAHED, Astrud Gilberto, Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, 10,000 Maniacs, Death Cab For Cutie, Chicago, Röyksopp, Sofi Tucker, Art d’Ecco and Thutmose & NoMBe sounded great. You can also serve up AM,FM, audio from your phone via USB (which will also charge your phone) or Bluetooth, or SirusXM Radio.
  • This vehicle comes with Hyundai BlueLink, You can use it to remote start, cool down, heat up, or do a number of other things remotely to the Tucson using your smartphone.
  • Parents will be happy to know that there’s an in-car intercom system with the ability to pipe the driver’s voice over the in-car audio system so that you can speak to your kids.
  • Parents will also be happy to know that there’s a quiet mode that cuts off the audio system to the second and third rows so that your can sleep while you listen to music.
  • Finally, parents will be happy to know that that the Palisade will prompt you to check for occupants or items in the rear seats which is a great safety feature.

The final part of this review will tie up some loose ends and I’ll give you my closing thoughts on the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury. Stay tuned for that tomorrow.

Review: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury – Part 3

Posted in Products with tags on December 4, 2019 by itnerd

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury has a very impressive interior, though there are a couple of things that I will criticize. One of them is personal preference, one is a bit of a observation that I typical don’t make about cars these days. But let’s start with the driver’s seat.

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The driver’s seat is heated, ventilated, and extremely comfortable as you can adjust every aspect that matters including thigh length to give you a comfortable and perfect driving position.

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The trim is impressive. There’s a mix of soft touch material, leather, and the best fake wood I have ever seen in a car. It was so convincing that I had to email Hyundai Canada to confirm that it was fake as I along with many others who saw it were not sure. Hyundai Canada confirmed that it was and it was engineered to be consistent and convincing. I’d say mission accomplished on that front as nobody who was in this vehicle could tell it was fake and everyone who was in this vehicle said it looked good.

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The footwell is a comfortable place for your feet to be as it has a large dead pedal. To the left of the steering wheel are the buttons for the various electronic overseers as well as the electronic parking brake.

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The steering wheel is leather wrapped, heated, and feels good in your hands. It has all the controls for the infotainment system and cruise control on the left and right sides.

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Behind the steering wheel are a pair of paddle shifters.

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You have a pair of easy to read analog gauges as well as a high resolution TFT display in the center. Everything was easy to read in all lighting conditions.

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To the left of the steering wheel is an 10.25″ almost HD resolution infotainment screen that was very sharp and easy to read. It also integrates well with the rest of the dash which is covered in a soft touch material.

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You get hard buttons for all the infotainment system. And below that are the controls for the three zone (first and second rows) HVAC system. Below that are all the controls for the transmission, drive modes, and other driving activities. Below that are the controls for the vented and heated front seats. I have to admit that I am not sold on the push button transmission as I learned to drive a manual transmission, and if you get into a dangerous situation, you could pop the transmission into neutral by hitting the shift lever toward the center. The same is true for automatic transmissions as well. That’s something that you can’t do here. Thus my natural reaction to this setup is to look at it warily. But many people think I am showing my age and that this is a non issue. And besides, many other vehicles have a system like this. Thus maybe I should introduce myself to 2020 and embrace this transmission setup as it really allows the center console to have a coherent look to it.

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The area where the cup holders are is extremely versatile as you can retract the cup holders for additional space, and they can be covered for privacy reasons.

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It passed my Starbucks Venti test with ease. Plus, you can see the main USB port to the left.

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Below the armrest is a storage area that has a 12V outlet and another USB port.

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Below the center console is a storage area with a 12V outlet and a USB port. For those keeping score at home, that’s three USB ports so far.

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On the roof are the controls for the sunroof, the lights, the buttons for BluLink, as well as a flip down mirror that allow you to see what the kids are up to in the second and third rows.

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There’s a decently sized glove box that’s lit.

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You get a standard sized sunroof that’s powered operated, but has a manual sunshade.

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The middle row can hold three adults. But the middle occupant has to deal with the hump for the driveshaft. But the two groups of adults that I had in this vehicle didn’t really complain about that too much.

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If you don’t need to seat three people, you can use the middle seat for cup holders.

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There are second row HVAC controls as well as a 12V outlet. Plus you have the seat warmers for the outward second row passengers. Parents will be happy to know that these controls can be locked out to keep your kids from fiddling around with them.

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On each of the front seats are USB ports that are accessible by the second row passengers. That’s five USB ports and counting.

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There are manual sunshades on the rear doors.

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The third row actually fit adults. Two of them to be precise and they were comfortable. I can see three children fitting back here though.

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On each side of the third row you have cup holders, the switch to power adjust the recline of the third row seats, you have a USB port. That’s a total of 7 USB ports for the vehicle.

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Depending on how the seats are folded, you can have a bit of cargo space with all seats up, or you can have a lot of cargo space with the second and third rows down.

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And folding down the second and third row seats is easy thanks to these buttons. The second row only flips down, but the third row are both power down and up. Note the 12V outlet as well.

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There’s under floor storage in the back which is handy for storing the privacy cover.

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There’s both a button and a handle to allow you to close the rear hatch.

The interior very quiet for the most part. The only exception to that is an intermittent buzzing sound that my wife and I could only trace to the area of the passenger side b-pillar. We could never fully identify the exact location of the sound. Also of note, the buzz was not present (or we didn’t hear it as we weren’t paying attention) when we had passengers in the vehicle. I haven’t had to say that in a car review in years and I have to assume that it was just a potential issue with my tester. Other than that, this interior is well executed and will impress anyone who steps into it.

Tomorrow, I will look at the tech in the Palisade, and some of it is really cool. Tune in to see what the cool tech is and what I think of it.

 

Review: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on December 3, 2019 by itnerd

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Under the hood of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury has a stout 3.8 L V6. And by stout I mean that it has 291 HP and 262 pound feet of torque. It’s mated to an 8 speed automatic transmission and power goes to all four wheels via Hyundai’s HTRAC AWD system which gives you the ability to select what terrain you are on to make the most of its capabilities. This combo made for effortless driving. Especially on the day I returned it when it snowed heavily and I switched the HTRAC AWD system to snow to make sure that I stayed safe on the road. It would do things like come off the line, pass slower cars, merge onto the highway and the like with ease and without the need to push it hard. The transmission was also smooth shifting and always picked a gear to keep the engine in the sweet spot.

The effortless nature continues in how well it drives. While I would not say that you should carve up some back roads in this vehicle, it is very easy to drive and gives you the feeling that it is a lot smaller than it is. It’s also surprisingly nimble as well with a decent turning radius given how big this vehicle is. While some sporty drivers would wish for some more road feel via the steering wheel, I seriously doubt that you’ll find any reason to complain about the driving dynamics.

There’s a number of driving modes on tap that range from Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Smart. I kept it in the latter which is allowing me to get 12.8 L/100 KM in terms of fuel economy at the moment. That’s not bad and I think it is going to get better as the week goes on. It also has an automatic engine stop/start system to get you some additional savings in fuel. Like most of these systems, it is defeat-able if you don’t like it as like most of these systems it does turn off the HVAC system along with the engine. But I left it activated during the week that I had it.

Tomorrow I will discuss the interior which can be described as “beyond impressive” for the most part. Tune in tomorrow to find out what I mean by that.

 

 

Review: 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury – Part 1

Posted in Products with tags on December 2, 2019 by itnerd

I’ll just get this out of the way right up front. In the form of the Palisade, Hyundai has created a three row crossover that is almost perfect. On top of that, you can get it at a price point that fits your budget while getting a lot of content in the bargain. And what this review will show is why I feel that way. Let’s start with the exterior looks.

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The Palisade is a big, bold and imposing vehicle that screams that it’s large and in charge. That’s highlighted by that grill which is huge. The 20″ rims in this trim level add to that by giving the vehicle a lot of presence. Trust me, you’re going to get noticed when you drive up to your destination in one of these.

My review of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade Luxury is made up of five parts:

  • Exterior
  • Engine, transmission, handling, fuel economy, and driving comfort
  • Interior
  • Technology in the vehicle
  • Wrap up

The next part of this review will cover the engine, transmission and driving comfort. And one thing that stood out to me about about this vehicle is how easy it is to drive considering that it is a big three row crossover. Tune in tomorrow to get the details.

Review: Hiplok Z Lok Combo

Posted in Products with tags on November 18, 2019 by itnerd

Something that I regularly do with my cycling club is to go on what is known in cycling circles as “the coffee ride”. That’s a ride where you ride to a coffee shop, have a coffee and come back. In our case, we ride from the west end of Toronto Ontario to Oakville Ontario to a small coffee shop that’s in the town. It’s about an 80KM/50 mile round trip ride. The only problem is where to park your bike so that it won’t get stolen while we enjoy our coffee. After all my bike isn’t exactly cheap and many members of the club ride bikes that are worth well north of $10,000 CDN. To mitigate the risk of having my bike stolen, I carry the Hiplok Z Lok Combo with me:

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This looks like a zip tie, but it isn’t. It’s a super tough combination lock (which you can set your own combination at will) that’s designed to go through your wheel and a section of the frame to make it less attractive for thieves to steal your bike. If you could wrap it around a solid object as well, that would further deter thieves. But that object would have to be thin to make that use case work. It fits easily into a cycling jersey pocket and weighs next to nothing.

To be clear, this isn’t a high security lock. If you leave your bike in downtown Toronto with this lock, it may not be there when you get back. However, in the use case that I described earlier, which is that you use this lock in a small town to stop the “snatch and run” type of bike theft, It’s definitely a good enough deterrent. I also used a pair of these to secure our bikes on our roof rack during our trip to Prince Edward Island this past summer as the roof rack on the car has locks for the bike forks, but not for the rear wheel.

Gripes? It could be just a touch longer to make it a bit more versatile. But the flip side of that is that if it were longer, it might not fit in a jersey pocket which makes it less likely to be taken on a ride. So that’s a trade off that I suppose is fair. One suggestion I have is to take two as they are easy to carry as mentioned previously.

The Hiplok Z Lok Combo goes for about $35 CDN at your local bike shop. If you partake in coffee rides, or just want some security for your bike if you have to park it for a few minutes, this is absolutely worth a look.

Review: Apple AirPods Pro

Posted in Products with tags on November 15, 2019 by itnerd

I got the chance to try the brand new Apple AirPods Pro recently to see if they addressed two things that stopped me from buying the original AirPods or the second generation ones that came out earlier this year:

  • Do they stay in my ears
  • Is the sound better

Let’s start with the first point. Apple has moved to an in ear design that uses silicone ear tips that come in three sizes to create a comfortable seal in your ear. There’s even an app on iOS 13.2 or higher that allows you to test the fit to make sure that the ear tips that you choose are the right ones. That’s important for sound quality. One thing that I liked was that not only were these comfortable to wear, but the pressure that you usually find with earphones of this type doesn’t exist. You can thank the vents that allow air to pass through the AirPods Pro. One other point is that no matter what I did, they didn’t pop out. Thus in terms of point number one, it’s a win.

Now onto point number two. Is the sound better? Yes…. Sort of. If you use the correct size of ear tips, you will get a nice balanced sound with a bit more bass to it versus the original AirPods. That assumes that you are using the noise cancelling feature which you activate by squeezing the stalks of the AirPods Pro (which is a change from the previous versions which you had to tap to do anything), or by activating it on your iPhone. While I will admit that over the ear headphones like the Bose QC35 will do a better job of noise cancelling, what Apple brings to the table is more than decent. What will likely blow you away is transparency mode which mixes your music with the sounds of the outside world. That way if you’re running you’re aware of what’s around you. And it sounds natural. As in neither the music or the outside sound sound fake or overboosted. Things however fall apart a bit if you turn either of these functions off. The music at this point sounds like what you would get from the original AirPods with a bit more bass. To be frank, my Sudio Bluetooth earphones that are my daily drivers are more crisp with a bit more punch to the bass. But to be fair to the AirPods Pro, they do sound good enough. But  I am not sure that they deserve that “Pro” moniker that Apple seems to be dropping into a lot of its products lately because someone who really cares about sound quality isn’t going to be blown away by them.

I touched on the fact that you don’t tap to do anything with the AirPods Pro like you did with the original AirPods. With the AirPods Pro you have to sort of “pinch” the stem—one pinch to play or pause, two to skip forward, three to skip back, or a long squeeze to toggle noise cancelling and transparency mode. If you want, you can change the long squeeze to trigger Siri instead, and you can even have different settings for the left and right earbuds.

The case that they come in is shaped differently than the previous AirPods. But it still fits in your pocket, and can be charged wirelessly. You can still get up to 24 hours of charge with it as well. As for the AirPods Pro themselves, I didn’t test how long they would run, but 4.5 hours is doable with noise cancelling on from AirPods Pro owners that I talked to. And the integration with the Apple ecosystem is top notch. Everything from the pairing process, to having them available on all your Apple gear, to little touches like the integration with Apple Health which will let you know if you have them cranked up too loud is top shelf. One quick note, for those on Team Android, you can use them too. But a lot of the functionality and integration that I’ve described here simply won’t work.

The question is, would I buy them. Well, If they were $150 CDN, that would be a yes. At $200 CDN, I would have to think about it, but I could be convinced to go for it. At $329 CDN which is what the MSRP for AirPods Pro happens to be, I can’t get out the Visa card to spring for a pair. The fact is that there are better sounding earphones out there. such as the Sudio earphones that I mentioned earlier. And those are about a third of the price. Having said that AirPods Pro do enough things from an audio perspective good enough, and have insanely great integration with the Apple ecosystem. Those alone will make many just buy them without a second thought. My advice would be to try a pair out for yourself and decide for yourself.