Hyundai Says It Has a Fix for the Odor in Some 2020 Palisades

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James LipmanCar and Driver

  • Hyundai says that it now has a fix for the 2020 Palisade, some of which are giving off strong odors, according to their owners.
  • The smell is limited to the Palisades in the Calligraphy and Limited trims, and Hyundai says that the smell is coming from the headrests, which dealers can now deodorize.
  • was first to report on the smell in the 2020 Palisade and also on the fix, thanks to the Palisade currently in their long-term fleet.

    This past summer, it came to light that some owners of the 2020 Palisade SUV were experiencing a smell coming from their vehicles which they couldn’t quite identify or get rid of—and this was the case for the current long-term Palisade in the fleet. Now Hyundai says that it has identified the cause of the smell in the 2020 Palisade in the Calligraphy and Limited trims and has come up with a solution.

    The smell, Hyundai spokesperson Miles Johnson told Car and Driver, is coming from the nappa-leather-wrapped headrests in those select Palisades. Johnson said that there is a treatment process available now at dealerships to neutralize the odor coming from the headrests. If a Palisade owner is experiencing this problem, Johnson said, they should bring the vehicle to a dealer for it to be resolved. Although the treatment should handle the odor, that isn’t always the case as shown by the Palisade. All of the headrests in their Palisade had to be eventually replaced, but Johnson told that that isn’t likely to be necessary in most cases.

    Initially, it appeared that the smell was exclusive to Palisades in the Calligraphy and Limited trims with the brown interior, but numerous readers pointed out to C/D that the black interiors were giving off an odor as well; the nappa leather is available in both. On the online Palisade Forum, owners said that their cars smelled of things from “hot garbage” to “weird greasy electrical odor of sorts.”

    Hyundai faulted a supplier’s manufacturing process for the smell in the headrests and has switched suppliers, so the newly manufactured Palisades in the Calligraphy and Limited trims shouldn’t smell, according to, because a new manufacturer (and a new process) are being used now. Johnson was unable to confirm if or when owners of the 2020 model will be notified of the available fix to the odor.

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