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 Sports SUVs

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford S-Max Vignale
    First Drive
    24 June 2016
    The Ford S-Max Vignale is the company's premium executive express. Can it really be worth the extra over the standard S-Max?
  • Volkswagen Scirocco GTS
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Still a really fun and likeable coupé but the extra power doesn't justify the VW Scirocco GTS's high price
  • Ford Fiesta ST200
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Fresh from testing it abroad, we've just got our hands on the Ford Fiesta ST200 for a blat on UK roads
  • Alpina B4 Biturbo Convertible
    First Drive
    23 June 2016
    Alpina's appealing BMW M4 alternative arrives in convertible form with a more relaxed nature than BMW's M car but still impressive performance and handling
  • Infiniti QX30
    First Drive
    21 June 2016
    Likeable for its fair refinement and comfort, and that quirky rarity factor, but small inside and with merely adequate handling