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

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

    Land Rover Discovery Sport

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

    Volvo XC60

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

    Audi Q5

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

    Kia Sorento


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Hyundai range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Our first UK drive shows that few supercars offer as rounded a package as Audi's new R8. It isn't the last word dynamically but it still has a lot to offer
  • First Drive
    20 November 2015
    A new 1.8 turbo petrol engine and manual gearbox make the Ibiza Cupra a more satisfyingly brutish, hands-on hot hatch, but it's still not the best of its breed