The Santa Fe has been inspired by the 'Fluidic Sculpture' design language seen on the i40, but Hyundai claims it has its own unique style - called 'Storm Edge'. Whatever the name, the Santa Fe looks great with its large hexagonal grill, sharp bodywork and distinctive kink in the shoulder line.
The seven-seater is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, but shares the same 2,700mm wheelbase. Front and second-row legroom has been increased by 38mm and 45mm respectively. A deeper boot means there's 534-litres of space with the front five seats in place, and 991 litres with all seats folded.
The long-wheelbase model is 215mm longer, 10mm higher, 5mm wider and has a wheelbase that's 100mm longer than the standard car. It has maximum boot space of 1,160 litres and is available with six or seven seats. Unlike the standard car, it comes with blindspot protection and a power tailgate.
All models will use an on-demand four-wheel-drive system, which sends 100 per cent of the power to the front tyres unless it senses slip at the rear, at which point it can spilt the power 50:50. Buyers will be able to choose from a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Only diesel engines will be available in the UK, including a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with 148bhp, 382Nm of torque and CO2 emissions of 155g/km. The 197bhp 2.2-litre diesel unit is carried over, but with tweaked emissions of just 145g/km.
To make sure the handling is up to the challenge of bumpy British roads, the steering (which has three settings to control the weight), suspension and brakes have all been tuned especially for the UK. It's a capable tow car too, with a maximum towing capacity of 2,500kg.
As we've come to expect from Hyundai, standard equipment will be generous, while top-spec cars will get high-end systems such as radar-controlled cruise control, parking assist and a lane-departure warning system.
There's no word on prices yet, but expect them to start from around £25,000 when the Santa Fe goes on sale towards the end of 2012. The decision on whether to bring the long-wheelbase version to Europe hasn't been made yet.