Although the Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD auto’s CO2 emissions are the highest in the range, Hyundai has engineered a useful boost in efficiency (197g/km to 178g/km) over the previous-generation model, which is also superior to, say, a 2.2-litre automatic Land Rover Freelander that has 50 fewer horses.

There's a significant finacial penalty for choosing the auto 'box over the manual. The official combined average of 46.3mpg sinks to 41.5mpg when choosing the auto over the manual, while emissions grow from 159g/km to 178g/km. Two-wheel drive models emit 155g/km.

A five-year warranty helps depreciation that’s a cut above the budget brand norm

During our tests, the Santa Fe – with four-wheel drive and an auto 'box – returned a satisfactory overall average of 31.4mpg and a best on a touring run of 37.5mpg, which is reasonable for a two-tonne SUV. Hyundai claims 41.5mpg on the combined cycle for automatic models and 46.3mpg for 4WD manual versions. Two-wheel drive models improve this figure to 47.9mpg.

Most buyers choose the seven-seat option, although that configuration carries a £1400 premium, even if a number of other bits of kit are bundled. The car itself is more expensive than the old model, in part due to the increase in perceived – and actual – quality, and in part to distance the Santa Fe from the smaller Hyundai ix35.

The Santa Fe tends to fare reasonably well in customer satisfaction surveys. In addition, the model is well known and in strong demand on the used market, so it will hold its value as well as most of its peers. Our experts predict that it will continue to do so in this latest guise, even though it has experienced a hike in its list price. It comes with a five-year warranty, too.

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