Hyundai responds to Palisade owners complaining of ‘unpleasant odour’

The smell is apparently noticeable on two specific trim grades of the new large SUV.

Hyundai has responded to complaints from 2020 Hyundai Palisade owners in the United States who claim their cars are emitting an unusual odour, with the Korean company both identifying the source of the smell and offering buyers a solution.

The odour was first reported on by the team at, who described it as “a sharp chemical odour with a dash of something organic like garlic or rotten produce”, which they believed was exacerbated by higher temperatures.

Owner reports on dedicated Palisade forums corroborated the report, with recent buyers complaining their vehicles lacked the traditional “new car smell” and instead had an inexplicable “unpleasant interior odour”.

Now, Hyundai has identified the source of the scent, with a spokesperson telling Car and Driver it’s caused by the nappa-leather-wrapped headrests on the higher grades.

As a result, Hyundai is offering owners a free treatment process at its US dealerships to help neutralise the odour.

Additionally, the North American arm of the Korean company reportedly blamed a supplier’s manufacturing process for the odour, explaining it had amended its supply chain and newly-manufactured Palisades should no longer be affected.

The smell was reportedly found on only the mid-spec Limited and top-spec Calligraphy trim grades of the seven-or-eight-seater SUV, which landed in the US earlier this year and has been confirmed for Australia for 2021.

In the US, the Limited and Calligraphy trim grades start at US$45,125 and US$47,750 before on-road costs, respectively.

A Hyundai Australia spokesperson told CarAdvice: “The unusual odour issue only related to US vehicles, Australian bound vehicles are not affected.”

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