By Ken Fletcher

HYUNDAI has a reputation for producing cars that seem to go on and on – and you quite often see previous versions of its Santa Fe 4 x 4 still going strong.

While some of them look decidedly dated now, you certainly can't say that about the fourth and latest incarnation, which very much looks the part, even when up against some of the more fancied names in this sector.

It's a fairly big car and a seven-seater to boot (if you pardon the pun?) and the Premium SE version I tested recently is fitted with the industry norm – ie, a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine which romps out a useful 197 bhp. What's more, it goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox that is just about as good as some of the biggies in the market which cost twice as much.

As the priciest Hyundai in the book – the test car was priced at around £43,000 – does it stack up against the oppo? The answer is a big fat 'yes', because this comes with a lot of standard features that make the likes of some Land Rover products veer into six-figures.

There's stuff like heated, ventilated and electric control of both front seats, one-touch folding of the second row of seating, and leather seat facings. Plus, even entry level models are set off by chrome trim and roof rails – with the bliss of a heated steering wheel.

The tech package also keeps up with the best, with Bluetooth technology plus voice recognition, a head up driver;'s display and a really good audio system, with 10 speakers around the roomier and heavily revised cabin.

Where it might fall down is that it doesn't handle the way the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport or the BMW X5 do. While it can lap up the motorway miles with comfort, when it comes to being flung about a bit, it does have that top-heavy 4 x 4 roll to contend with.

From a driver's perspective – and remember this is quite a big vehicle – the standard fitment of parking sensors front and rear, plus a rear camera with its guidance 'rails' and a self-levelling suspension are premium fitments.

There's even a hands-free operation of the electric tailgate, which gives you entry to the spacious rear load area. Even with the third row of seats in place, there's still room for some luggage. Put them down and there's 550 litre of space available and then there's the ability of a 60/40 second row seat folding to take lengthy objects with ease.

Not convinced yet? Then think of this – like all Hyundai products, there's a five-year unlimited mileage warranty and a 12-year anti-perforation guarantee. Like most things, don't knock it until you try it!

Prices start around £32,000 for an entry level SE model – Premium trim costs £35,841 and, as tested, the top spec' Premium SE models start at about at £40,000.