Hyundai Palisade, Kona facelift launching in Malaysia this year – Palisade gets 3.8L V6; Kona FL 2.0L, CVT

This one is rather surprising. Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has just announced that it will be introducing its largest seven-seater SUV, the Palisade, in Malaysia sometime this year. The Palisade debuted in the US back in November 2018 and has since found its way to Indonesia (albeit with a 2.2L diesel), where it is being sold for the equivalent of RM223k to RM309k.

The SUV is monolithic, measuring 4,981 mm in overall length, 1,976 mm wide, 1,750 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,900 mm. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly the size of the Audi Q7, except the German SUV has a longer overall length and wheelbase (+71 mm and +94 mm respectively).

As for the powertrain, HSDM has confirmed that our Palisade will get a 3.8 litre V6 engine. The direct-injection, Atkinson-cycle mill offers 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 355 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm. An eight-speed automatic transmission (with a multi-plate torque converter) is standard, sending power either to the front wheels or all four wheels (HTRAC AWD).

No additional information has been provided regarding its equipment, but expect the premium SUV to come with a fully digital 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster and an eight-inch Display Audio infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities. A larger 10.25-inch unit is an optional upgrade in some markets, so only time will tell if the fancier display will find its way here.

Other unique features include a shift-by-wire ‘gearstick’ with automatic park logic that shifts the car into ‘P’ when the engine is turned off, an industry-first vent diffuser design to provide a focused, partially diffused or fully-diffused cool air to rear passengers, seven USB charging outlets, 16 cupholders, Driver Talk in-car intercom system (direct communication with rear passengers), and Rear Sleep Mode, which basically cuts audio in the rear.

A good reason to buy a vehicle such as this is for its carrying capacity. With all seven seats up, there is 510 litres of space available, which beats a lot of the Palisade’s competitors aside from the Explorer (595 litres). With the third row seats folded flat, boot space expands to 1,297 litres. It remains to be seen if the Palisade will get Hyundai SmartSense.

The other SUV that’s coming is the Kona facelift. According to HSDM managing director Low Yuan Lung, the Kona has “captured the attention of many buyers who are looking for a distinctively designed compact SUV.”

The refreshed SUV will get the Smartstream G2.0 Atkinson-cycle engine, which is mated to the automaker’s iVT or intelligent variable transmission. The MPI engine produces 149 PS at 6,200 rpm and 180 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm, with drive sent to the front wheels. An AWD version is also available, but that variant will probably not be offered here.

Interestingly, there is no mention of the 1.6L turbocharged variant. The outgoing, range-topping Kona is powered by a 1.6L Gamma T-GDi engine making 177 PS at 5,500 rpm and 265 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. A seven-speed DCT sends drive to the front wheels, doing the century sprint in 7.7 seconds. That makes it the fastest car in its class and outdrags the Proton X50 1.5 TGDi. It would be nice to still have this option, don’t you agree?

In any case, the Kona facelift will come with a sportier-looking front fascia, enhanced interior with redesigned air vents and speakers, as well as a new ambient lighting system that also lights up the cubbies and foot lamps. HSDM added that new interior colour options, materials and trims will be available, too. So, what do you think? Let us know, below.

GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai Palisade (US spec)

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona facelift

GALLERY: Hyundai Kona facelift N Line

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