The previous generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe was as easy to like as it was to live with. It wasn’t the most glamorous of Far Eastern SUVs – far from it, in fact. But therein lay some of the appeal. It was big, it towed well, it could seat seven, it came with a long warranty and it was well priced.

Little wonder, then, that the UK – which likes that sort of thing – accounted for a third of all European Santa Fe sales.

The Autocar road test team even ran one for a while, drawing the conclusion that, if we were in the market for a car like this, the Santa Fe would come very close to the top of our shortlist.

Little wonder, too, that Hyundai has taken the UK market very seriously with its replacement. Because although the Santa Fe is a global car that’s selling – and selling well – in Hyundai’s major markets, the UK version has received its own, unique chassis tune to match these islands’ uniquely appalling roads.

As before, the Santa Fe is available in five and seven-seat configurations and with the choice of front-wheel drive or on-demand four-wheel drive. Just one engine is offered – a 2.2-litre turbodiesel developing 194bhp – with either a manual or automatic gearbox, both with six-speeds.

The range is split across three core trim levels, but the front-wheel drive model is reserved just for the entry-level trim.

So the question is this: will the latest Santa Fe retain – and deserve – the same popularity as its forebear?

Top 5 Compact SUVs

  • A huge improvement over the old model and now among the class leaders

    BMW X3

    1
  • The new Land Rover Discovery Sport is the successor to the Freelander

    Land Rover Discovery Sport

    2
  • The Swede's XC60 compact SUV is a rival for Range Rover's Evoque

    Volvo XC60

    3
  • The Q5 is Audi's response to the Land Rover Freelander 2, BMW X3 and Volvo SC60

    Audi Q5

    4
  • Kia's seven-seat Sorento SUV is now in its third generation

    Kia Sorento

    5

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