A Closer Look

These are the 2020 Hyundai Palisade's most family-friendly features

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

When it comes to three-row SUVs families have more options than ever thanks to the addition of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade this year. Entering a category loaded with winners like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander, Palisade boasts several features that should put it on the short list of anyone looking for a family-friendly SUV.

Go anywhere with confidence

2020 Hyundai Palisade engine

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Palisade's V6 engine and all-wheel drive system create a confident driving experience. There's plenty of acceleration to get you up to speed on entrance ramps. You can tow up to 5,000 pounds so you can take your boat or camper with you. And with a Snow mode, you can get away from it all any time of year.

Create your own silent night

2020 Hyundai Palisade screen quite mode

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

If your kids want to sleep, but you want to listen to the game while you're on that long road trip, not to worry. Just hit the icon on the available 10.25-inch color touch screen to activate Rear Sleep Mode and you mute the speakers to the second and third row. They get their quiet space while you cheer your team (quietly), listen to your favorite music, or podcast.

Power to the people

2020 Hyundai Palisade charging USB wireless

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

No more fighting for electricity. With a USB port for every seat in the Palisade you and your kids can keep your devices charged. There are also a wireless charging pad, three traditional power ports, and a 110-volt power outlet.

Keeping Your cool

2020 Hyundai Palisade rear seat heating cooling seats

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Getting airflow to all rows isn't easy in an SUV. Palisade solves this problem with innovative diffuser vents in the roof of the vehicle above the second and third rows. In addition, if you opt for the decidedly upscale Limited edition, second row passengers get heated and ventilated seats.

Seeing is believing

2020 Hyundai Palisade blind spot monitoring

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Side view mirrors and blind spot warning helps you avoid hidden dangers when you're turning or changing lanes. But Palisade takes it one step further. Hit your turn signal and an image appears in the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel showing you what's in your blind spot thanks to rear facing cameras.

Take it all with you

2020 Hyundai Palisade cup holders front

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

There's a place for everything in the new Palisade. There's an open area under the center console for bags and purses. The seat backs have special pockets designed to hold small hand-held devices like tablets and phones. And, there are 16 cupholders, so if you're thirsty, it's your fault!

Sit back and relax

2020 Hyundai Palisade rear seat buttons

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Not only is there reasonable room in Palisade's third row, but in higher trim levels the seats are powered so they can recline and fold with the touch of a button. In addition every Palisade comes with a hands-free power liftgate that makes loading groceries and gear easy.

The Hyundai Palisade has quickly become a family favorite among three-row SUVs. With all this content and the availability of Nappa leather-trimmed seats and real wood accents, it's downright luxurious. Make sure to check one out if you're in the market for a big all-wheel drive vehicle that can do it all.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the newest member of the compact SUV segment.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos, the Tiguan's little brother, has been revealed. The model is a compact SUV designed to go head-to-head with the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, and Honda CR-V.
The introduction fo the Taos as Volkswagen works to flush out its North American market offerings, first with the Atlas Cross Sport late last year then with the ID.4 electric SUV just last month.

2022 Volkswagen Toas The Volkswagen Taos sits below the Tiguan in the VW lineup.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

"Taos is our fifth new addition to the Volkswagen SUV family in just four years, and we're thrilled to keep finding new ways to meet the needs of American families," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "Taos will bookend our compact SUV offering, giving buyers all the style, technology, and drivability that Volkswagen is known for at an even more affordable price."

The Volkswagen DNA is instantly apparent by anyone looking at the model. Its front end comes with a grille with familial ties to the Tiguan and Atlas while the light signature is borrowed from the ID.4. Top trim levels of the model feature VW's adaptive front lighting system. A panoramic sunroof is also available.

VW will offer the SUV in eight paint colors and with four wheel designs. Seventeen-inch aluminum-alloys are standard. Buyers can opt for their choice of 18-inch wheel designs (machined or black finish) or 19-inchers.

Size-wise, the Taos is a little larger than the 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport and a little shorter than the 2020 Ford Escape. It's 9.3 inches smaller than the Tiguan but has a wheelbase that's longer than the CR-V.

2022 Volkswagen Taos

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Despite its compact size, the Taos has just 1.6 cubic feet less passenger space than the two-row Tiguan - 99.5. That's far less than the spacious CR-V, which comes in at 105.9 cubic feet, but more than the 94.1 cubic feet in the Mazda CX-30.

Taos features 28.1 cubic feet of luggage space behind the second-row seats and 66.3 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Again, that puts it between models with the Rogue having more space and the Buick Encore GX having far less. The model offers a good amount of legroom for front and rear passengers.

Volkswagen is touting the Taos's interior design aesthetic and high-quality fit and finish. In typical VW style, the cabin is full of clean lines, seemingly all well-organized.

Two-tone seats are standard on the Taos, whether they're covered in the base cloth or available leatherette or leather seating surfaces. The top tier Taos model is available with a unique French Roast and black color combination.

VW developed the Taos especially for the U.S. market and it shows. The list of standard features includes automatic headlights, push-button start, keyless entry, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors, and heated washer nozzles.

2022 Volkswagen Taos The Taos shares its looks with the rest of the VW stable of SUVs.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is standard, meaning that there are no analog dials on the dashboard. Each model comes with Wi-Fi capability and an infotainment system powered by the company's MIB3 operating system, which is shared with Audi. An 8-inch infotainment touch screen is standard while wireless charging, 10-color ambient lighting and a BeatsAudio system is available.

The automaker has made its IQ.Drive suite of driver assistance technology available on every Taos. The suite includes forward collision warning with autonomous braking, active blind spot monitor, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, Travel Assist, and Emergency Assist. Park distance control is available.

Taos is powered by the same turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that runs the Jetta. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive models, the engine makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Those number are on the low end of what is offered in the segment. All-wheel drive Taos models get a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission.

Volkswagen plans to sell the Taos in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. Taos will be produced in the North American Region at Volkswagen's Puebla, Mexico factory. More details and pricing will be announced ahead of the launch in the summer of 2021.

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The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime is a big step ahead for the RAV4 brand.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota RAV4 is not a great SUV. It is perfect suitable and serviceable as a daily driver-slash-mommy hauler. That doesn't make it great. If it were great, its seats would be more comfortable, its engine would be more powerful, and less road noise would be passed into the cabin. Oh, and that terrible grinding noise that the RAV4 Hybrid makes when it's running in EV mode would be changed to something that doesn't sound like the car is malfunctioning.

That being said, there are some excellent things about the RAV4. It has a long list of standard features, including safety technology, that puts most other automakers with entries in the compact SUV category to shame. The RAV is fuel-efficient in every variant and comes with gobs of cargo space. It's also insanely reliable.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime The RAV4 Prime has a few distinguishing exterior features but is mostly the same as the traditional RAV4.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyota now makes the SUV in three variants: the gasoline-only RAV4, the traditional hybrid RAV4 Hybrid, and the RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The RAV4 Prime is designed to be the company's most fuel-efficient and also highest-performing RAV4. It achieves said goal in spades.

The2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that generate a combined 302 horsepower. That's 99 more horsepower than the RAV4 and 83 more than the RAV4 Hybrid. Sure, the RAV4 Prime is heavier due to its 18.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, but that stored up power waiting for the touch of the accelerator makes the RAV4 Prime downright peppy off the line.

It delivers 42 miles of all-electric range and 600 miles of overall range. This is good for 94 MPGe and 38 mpg (when running as a traditional hybrid). It is nearly as fuel-efficient as the Ford Escape PHEV, the leader in the segment.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime The RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid, which means it runs on both gasoline and battery power.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

That all-electric range means that the RAV4 Prime runs its internal combustion engine less often. That's a good thing. It means less engine noise is passed onto the cabin. It also makes the drive experience more fun (a feature vehicles in the segment are frequently lacking), even when using the SUV as a more traditional hybrid and eschewing the plug-in feature, which limits the amount of time it can run on all-electric mode.

But at its core, the RAV4 Prime can't escape its roots. Toyota hasn't changed the interior of the RAV4 much with the Prime model. It contains the same hardy surfaces and rubberized elements that make the RAV4 so livable for families. There's isn't much in the way of cheapness-for-the-sake-of-lightweighting like what is in the Prius, and that's a good thing.

However, the seats remain uncomfortable and the 8-inch infotainment touch screen is starting to look outdated compared to what the competition offers. There's likely a fix coming for this, perhaps for the 2023 model year as the RAV4 nears its generational midpoint.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime The RAV4's interior isn't as plush as what you'll find in Nissans and Mazdas.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

But, most people won't be as fixated on the interior as they are on the drive. And, the drive is splendid - genuinely enjoyable. I just wish for the $40,000-ish price tag it was nicer to be in while driving.

But don't worry about the price. You provably can't buy one anyway. Due to battery production constraints, the supply of the RAV4 Prime is VERY limited. However, if you do find one available, and you're in the market for the RAV4, do take it for a spin. You'll probably be surprised with how much you like it.

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