Ford Authority

2026 Hyundai Palisade Will Be A Boxier Ford Explorer Rival

Originally planned to launch for the 2024 model year, the refreshed Ford Explorer is now instead slated to be a 2025 model year vehicle, as Ford Authority exclusively reported last September. That refresh will bring about the typical changes we see in mid-cycle actions, including revised exterior and interior styling, along with some new tech and various other updates. However, the Explorer certainly isn’t alone in the heated large mainstream three-row crossover segment, and it has quite a bit of new competition in that space – including the all-new 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe. Soon, the long-running model will also be competing with the all-new 2026 Hyundai Palisade as well, which Ford Authority just spotted testing.

The 2026 Hyundai Palisade prototype seen here is a large, three-row crossover much like the Explorer, but in this case, it clearly sports the same sort of upright, boxy styling present on the 2024 Santa Fe – far more angular than its Blue Oval rival – but in this case, there are some obvious differences between the two Hyundai models. The Palisade seen here touts its own unique headlight and taillight designs, along with a larger front grille and side-window treatment.

Prior rumors suggest that the 2026 Hyundai Palisade may be underpinned by a new platform with a longer wheelbase, which makes sense given the fact that some of its rivals – such as the Toyota Grand Highlander and Honda Pilot – have grown as well, with the Grand Highlander representing a larger version of the regular Highlander. In terms of motivation, the second-generation Palisade is expected to offer two choices – a hybrid 2.5L powertrain and a new turbocharged 3.5L V6 that would effectively replace the current 3.8L engine.

Sales Numbers - Mainstream Large Three-Row Crossovers - 2023 - USA

FORD EXPLORER -10.05% 186,799 207,673 16% 19%
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER -23.91% 169,543 222,805 14% 20%
CHEVROLET TRAVERSE +27.42% 123,555 96,965 11% 9%
KIA TELLURIDE +10.89% 110,765 99,891 9% 9%
HONDA PILOT +0.73% 100,298 99,567 9% 9%
VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS +16.64% 95,675 82,025 8% 7%
HYUNDAI PALISADE +8.25% 89,509 82,688 8% 7%
NISSAN PATHFINDER +23.93% 71,710 57,862 6% 5%
DODGE DURANGO +24.83% 69,196 55,433 6% 5%
SUBARU ASCENT -4.96% 60,543 63,704 5% 6%
MAZDA CX-90 * 30,821 0 3% 0%
MAZDA CX-9 -49.53% 17,451 34,580 1% 3%
TOTAL +6.41% 1,173,901 1,103,193

In terms of sales, the Explorer once again led the way in 2023 with 186,799 units sold, good enough for a 16 percent market share in the large mainstream three-row crossover segment. However, that also represents a year-over-year decrease of just over 10 percent, while many of its rivals grew their sales last year. That includes the Palisade, which posted an eight percent increase and grew its market share by one percentage point. A new, larger, and more stylish version figures to help boost those numbers even more, and give the Explorer some stiffer competition when it arrives in the coming years.

We’ll have more on everything Ford’s competition is up to soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Martinfishdr

    I am a Ford fan. But subtract the cop cars from the Explorer total and it has slipped even further. And as Hyundai, Kia and Chevy make their 3rd row seats better with the boxy rear end, the Explorer rear roofline slopes downward.

  2. Lurch

    It sounds like the Koreans are trying to differentiate the Palisade from the much more successful Kia Telluride.

  3. Mf

    Pisade and Telluride absolutely blew Explorer out of the water in terms of size, quality, and practicality.

    Explorer blows it out of the water in terms of chassis and performance.

    Ford really needs to bring the best it can for the 25 redesign, although it should have come out for like, 22/23.

  4. Tom


  5. TLE

    Make next-generation Ford Explorer a 2-row body on frame SUV that competes directly with the Toyota 4Runner, new Land Cruiser, and Honda Passport.


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