Some 2020 Hyundai Palisade Owners Are Complaining of Bad Odors

·3 min read
Photo credit: James Lipman - Car and Driver
Photo credit: James Lipman - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

  • Some owners of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade are complaining of a bad odor coming from the interior of their SUVs, and a Hyundai spokesperson told C/D it's looking into the cause.

  • was the first to report on this common problem after their long-term Palisade began smelling funny.

  • The cause of the smell is yet to be found, but according to owner reports, it's most commonly found in Palisade Limited models with nappa leather and a light-colored interior. Some say it's the headrests, while others say it's the seating as a whole.

We’ll have to abstain from any "whoever smelt it, dealt it" jokes, because that isn't the case with the 2020 Hyundai Palisade. For months, owners of the new Palisade have taken to the online Palisade Forum to share discussions with other owners about their experience with a smell coming off their SUV.

Some described it as "really bad breath," a "garlicky smell," "hot garbage," a "weird greasy electrical odor of sorts," and one Hyundai technician said it smells "like old worn socks." A definitive source of the smell is yet to be found, but many owners have concluded that the nappa leather seating in the Limited trims with light-colored interior is the common denominator among owners complaining about an odor. Some are blaming the headrests while others think it’s the seating all together; nonetheless, there doesn’t seem to be a silver bullet solution to getting rid of the scent. was the first to publicize the alleged Palisade scent issue. The website acquired a long-term 2020 Hyundai Palisade back in December of last year and recently reported that theirs began to smell bad inside. They described the odor as "garlic or rotten produce" and reported that the dealership they brought it to believes they have found a fix: replacing the headrests. That theory is yet to be tested, because the headrests are currently back-ordered.

Meanwhile, on the forum, one commenter wrote: "I isolated the headrests overnight in the garage; and on my car at least, it's not coming from the headrests themselves, which smell fine. The smell still seems like it's coming from inside the seat cavity from the open holes from where the headrests mount."

And some owners are saying that even after nearly a year of owning the SUV, the smell isn't subsiding. The smell typically surfaces a few weeks after the SUV is purchased, according to complaints on the Palisade Forum.

A Hyundai spokesperson told Car and Driver, "Hyundai Motor America is aware of the concern and is currently investigating the situation," suggesting that there currently isn't a solution. We'll keep you posted.

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