The continued success of the Hyundai Santa Fe is easy to understand. Through three generations, it has stayed true to its hallmarks of versatility and practicality, but the third generation adds a little bit of quality, desirability and dynamism into the mix.

This car has gained a lot and lost very little. Hyundai’s bold exterior styling and smart cabin have answered two of our major criticisms of the old car.

We’d go for the Premium version rather than the base Style, because it adds niceties such as folding mirrors, dual-zone climate control and heated seats.

The one fly in the ointment is that it’s no longer quite the bargain it used to be. On like-for-like equipment, the previous Santa Fe represented a saving of between £3000 and £5000 on rivals such as the Honda CR-V and Land Rover Freelander. With this new one, that financial advantage has been halved.

Hyundai points to the increase in desirability and general driveway appeal as justification for the narrowing of the price gap between its rivals, and they have a point. This is now a car that can legitimately be compared to more premium opposition. Is the Santa Fe really a cut-price Freelander? Quite possibilty.

Any saving is still an advantage, of course, and now it’s one of even more reasons to buy – something that will surely make the Santa Fe’s UK popularity continue for at least another generation.

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