2023 Ford Explorer vs 2023 Hyundai Palisade

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  • 2023 Ford Explorer

    A grey 2023 Ford Explorer XLT is shown angled right.

    Starting at

    $36,760[a]

    2023 Hyundai Palisade

    A black 2023 Hyundai Palisade SE is shown angled right.

    Starting at

    $35,900

    300-400Horsepower (hp)291
    310-415Torque (lb-ft)262
    5,600Max Towing (lbs)5,000

    What does it take to be the best? What does it mean to be a leader that nothing comes close to being compared to? It takes drive, dedication, and hard work. These attributes can all be used to describe the Ford Explorer. Despite the massive upward trajectory in popularity that the SUV has achieved in recent years, there’s a very distinct possibility that it might have never come to fruition had it not been for the Explorer making its debut in the early 1990s. In an age where every manufacturer has its own distinctive offering of the vehicle in question, the Explorer has remained at the top of the mountain as the definitive example of what an SUV has to offer and should ascribe to.

    However, when you’re on top, there are always those who wish to usurp your position. Among these contenders is the Hyundai Palisade. Does it have what it takes to compete against Ford’s golden child? Today, we examine both of them to see which one is superior. It’s the 2023 Ford Explorer vs 2023 Hyundai Palisade in a contest for SUV superiority.

  • Performance

    A red 2023 Ford Explorer is shown towing a horse trailer on a fenced farm road.

    The thought process behind the design of the modern SUV is a far cry from what it was a few decades ago. While the crossover and subcompact models are among the most popular in the marketplace, there was a time when the only offerings consisted of large sizes and domineering powertrains. As more consumers began to gravitate toward the SUV as a commuter-friendly option, the sizes that the vehicle came in began to become scaled down in order to adhere to consumer needs. The Explorer has done a wonderful job at conforming to necessity in recent years, and while the designs of the SUV have changed considerably, the necessity for performance has remained consistent.

    The Engine of the Hyundai Palisade

    Because of the fallout from a recent microchip shortage, many manufacturers have taken to the practice of streamlining production and limiting the number of available powertrains. The Hyundai Palisade follows this trend by offering a single engine underneath the hood. This takes the form of a 3.8L V6. Propelling the Palisade forward with the benefit of 291 horsepower, this engine utilizes an eight-speed automatic transmission. By all accounts, this provides a smooth and seamless ride that can also handle the rigors of off-roading when equipped with the available all-wheel drive. The Palisade is also notable for holding its ground in the area of towing, as its capacity maxes out at 5,000 lbs. This is a decent engine and performance specs, but it pales in comparison to what the Ford Explorer has to offer.

    The Many Engines of the Ford Explorer

    There is one pretty major advantage that the Ford Explorer has over the Hyundai Palisade, and that's the variety of engines it offers. The 2023 Explorer has three distinctive powertrains which are geared toward satisfying different types of drivers because, as we all know, the needs of many certainly aren’t identical. Some want a more conservative fuel economy, while others need more power.

    Even with its base offering, the Explorer outperforms Hyundai’s V6. A turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine powers the first three trims of the Explorer. With 300 horsepower to its credit and the ability to travel from 0-60 mph in a mere six seconds, Ford proves less is more. Of course, the capabilities that Ford offers aren’t limited to the base four-cylinder. For those who need more prowess and performance, a beefy twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 is available and belts out an impressive 400 horsepower and has the capability to generate 415 lb-ft of torque. This engine also gives you enough power to tow up to 5,600 lbs.

    For consumers who have a keen eye for conservative fuel consumption, a hybrid version of the Explorer has been available since the 2020 model year. Utilizing the combination of a 3.3L V6 and an electric motor, you get 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, you will get 27 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway with the standard front-wheel drive. All trims are equipped with a ten-speed automatic transmission.

  • Interior

    The rear folded-down seats in a 2023 Ford Explorer are shown during a 2023 Ford Explorer vs 2023 Hyundai Palisade comparison.

    When it comes to exterior styling, the Explorer and Palisade are very similar to one another. In fact, uniformity can be found in many makes and models throughout the scope of the entire industry. In order to gauge a definitive comparison between the two vehicles, we’ll have to open the door, get behind the wheel, and experience the interior of the Explorer and Palisade first-hand.

    A Look Inside These Two SUVs

    When comparing the interiors of both vehicles, it all comes down to what you think is more important; practicality or aesthetic. The Hyundai Palisade strives to compete with the likes of some of the higher-end European brands, so those who have a keen eye for first impressions and style will certainly find the vehicle favorable in this regard. An infotainment screen that stretches out to 12.3 inches anchors an interior that’s more sleek and aerodynamic than the exterior of the vehicle. Available captain's chairs are desirable for those who gravitate towards luxury. There’s also 86.4 available cubic feet of storage space, which falls just short of the Explorer’s 87.8 cubic feet.

    Sitting behind the wheel of the Ford Explorer demonstrates a different thought process than the Palisade, as it places a considerable effort on basic functions and practicality. While luxury is certainly pleasing to a percent of the population, being user-friendly and manageable is always a benefit to the average consumer.

    The interior of the Ford Explorer is spacious and ergonomic. It has everything spaced out in such a way that creates a comfortable environment for the drivers and passengers but also puts everything within reach. The interior boasts many of the features and amenities that are needed for the drive, such as compatibility with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot to help maintain a connection no matter where you might travel to. For those who want some of the extras that enhance the experience behind the wheel, a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and an available high-end B&O stereo system with 12 speakers won't disappoint.

  • Safety

    A blue 2023 Ford Explorer King Ranch is shown parked on the side of a dirt road next to a fence.

    For the individual who has an interest in the technological advancements that occur from year to year, the automotive industry is a literal goldmine of improvements from manufacturers who continually have their finger on the pulse of innovation. Both vehicles offer their drivers a considerable amount of standard and available features, which are meant to enhance the driving experience and provide the necessary oversight while traveling. The 2023 Ford Explorer is equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features, while the 2023 Hyundai Palisade has the SmartSense suite as its standard offering.

    Safety and Driver-Assist Features

    The Explorer and Palisade have a variety of safety features that are standard across all levels of trim. You'll find features such as:

    • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking(Ford)/Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection (Hyundai)
    • Blind Spot Information System (Ford)/Blind Spor-Collision Warning (Hyundai)
    • Lane-Keeping System (Ford)/Lane Keeping Assist (Hyundai)
    • Auto High-Beam Headlamps (Ford)/High Beam Assist (Hyundai)
    • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (Ford)/Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control (Hyundai)

    Both brands have a proven track record of providing their customers with safe travel wherever they go. Safety should never be a contest; it should be something that all manufacturers should strive for in order to provide their drivers with the knowledge that they’ve made an excellent choice in their vehicles. Both the Explorer and the Hyundai are going to keep you safe on the road with a wide range of features, so you will likely want to base your choice on other factors, such as performance and the quality of the interior.

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