I have completed my first road trip with my Palisade (Limited AWD). I replaced a 2016 Mazda CX-9, so that is my frame of reference. Overall I am very happy with the car and thought I would share my list of pros and cons:
So far there are not many:
- Interior space and layout is a huge improvement over the CX-9. The Palisade is essentially the same width and a few inches shorter than the Mazda, but feels far larger inside. The legroom in all rows is vastly improved. The comfort access driver’s seat is a nice feature that makes it feel even roomier in that seat.
- The cooled seats are truly cooled (not just vented). I have vented seats in my 5 series BMW and all they do is blow air from the seat (only) and the fan is loud. The Palisade cools both the seat and back. All around much better in the Palisade. Plus both the first and second rows are cooled. No cooled seats in the Mazda.
- Infotainment is a quantum leap above the Mazda. The sharpness of the screen, response time, and configuration flexibility are really great. I can actually show the factory Nav screen next to Spotify from Apple Car Play on the same screen. I am going to see if I can live with the factory Nav over Waze as I like the integration with the HUD and instrument panel. The factory Nav also provides re-routing based on traffic with the option to accept of decline the new route. Waze does not provide this option.
- So far the voice commands also seem very good. To navigate to a destination you don’t even have to preface the address or name of the store with “navigate to” or anything similar. You just say the address or store name. Has been flawless so far. Mazda voice commands are worthless.
- Sound system seems very good, but have not had a chance to really test it as the family has been in the car with me. I did do a short test on the test drive and it seemed great. Seems like the control of Spotify through Bluetooth (not using Apple CarPlay) is worthless, however.
- The autonomous driving is great. So relaxing to not have to stare at the road every second. Generally the Lane Following works great. We drove home in the pouring rain last night and it did have problems following the lanes at some points. Seems like it should provide a better indication that it is no longer following the lanes – all it does is change the steering wheel icon in the HUD from green to white. I have turned off all the various audible reminders as they are overwhelming, but it seems like you turn off the audible indicator for one and they all turn off. I would like to have an audible indicator for the Lane Following only. The adaptive cruise (changes speed based on car ahead) works very well although it is a little too aggressive in accelerating when it can.
- Seats are firm, but comfortable. I like the thigh extender as I am 6’1”. Relative to the Mazda there is much more knee room. The center console in the Mazda is too wide and was always an annoyance for me.
- I love that the status of the headlights and wipers are displayed momentarily in the instrument panel when you change the setting. Don’t need to try and look at the stalk to see where you are.
- Sun visors that extend when positioned in front of the door are huge and I have no idea why not all cars have them. Seems so simple and inexpensive.
- Access to the third row is relatively simple with the push of a button and third row leg room is good.
- The split overhead and rear/front view is great (and something all cars should have). The ability to see an overhead view of the car AND the rear view or front view camera at the same time is great. When parking I can immediately tell if I have the car between the lines and how close I am to the curb on the side or front.
- I love that I can just turn off the ignition when I park the car and not have to put the car in park first. My BMW has this as well. Mazda does not have this as it has a mechanical gear shifter
- I think the trade-off between ride comfort/handling and power/gas-mileage is right on. Given the weight and height of the vehicle this is on no way a performance vehicle, but the power and torque are sufficient and it corners adequately well, while still being compliant over broken pavement. On our trip I averaged about 28mpg during highway driving (if you believe the car’s computer).
- The storage space under the front console is nice. My wife puts all her road-trip supplies under there and no longer needs to have them at her feet.
- Quiet Mode is a nice feature. Sometimes my wife and I like to listen to comedians who can get a little off color. Being able to switch the sound to the front with only one button is nice.
- Large sun roof in back is a nice feature that provides much light into second and third rows – especially nice with a black interior.
- USB outlets appear to provide sufficient power to keep iPad charged while in use. Mazda outlets did not.
- Some additional features that the Mazda did not have: front parking sensors, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, wireless charging, third row air vents, power folding seats, adaptive cruise with stop and go (Mazda turns off below 40mph), side mirror memory and much of the stuff already mentioned.
So far there are not many:
- The feature that opens the tailgate if you stand next to it with the key for three seconds is worthless. First day we had the car I walked behind it in the garage and the tailgate tried to open into the garage door. Fortunately I heard it open and held it down. Unless I am missing something, this seems like a really dumb idea. Plus the car needs to be locked for it to work (I think). I much prefer the kick under the rear bumper design. I disabled the feature day 1.
- The interior lighting is lacking in several ways. The buttons in the overhead console to turn on the map lights and full cabin lights are not illuminated! You have poke around in the dark to find the right button. Plus the button to set the lights to come on when you open a door is just another one of the map light buttons, so you end up pressing that one by mistake and then the lights do not come on the next time you open the car door. There is a light in the third row (cargo area), but this only comes on when you open the tailgate. Persons climbing into the third row from the second row do so in the dark. When the cabin lights come on, the cargo area light should come on as well.
- The setting to automatically unlock the doors is EITHER when the car is put in park OR when the ignition is turned off. I would like an AND choice. When I drop the kids at school I just put the car in park. When I arrive home I just press the ignition switch to turn off the car, without putting it in park. I can only choose one scenario for the doors to unlock.
- It is a nice feature that you can fold/open the third row seats from the infotainment screen, but that feature is buried within the General settings. This feature should be much more easily accessible.
- Bottle holders in door side pockets are a bit small. My wife is challenged to cram her water bottle in there.