Hyundai has a new compact car is described as a crossover but to our eyes its more like a compact hatchback. The world is still crazy for the taller riding SUV inspired cars so its surprisingly refreshing to come down to earth a bit with the new Bayon. So what is it?
Its a five-door urban car that is a little bigger than a Hyundai i20 hatchback and a little smaller than a Hyundai Kona SUV crossover. The Bayon comes with one engine powered by petrol and can come equipped with lots of creature comforts for a relatively small amount of money. Exterior styling is nothing remarkable. The Hyundai bonnet and front end is pleasing and the proportions of the Bayon suggest more stretched hatch than squashed SUV. The rear appears to pay homage to Volvo design – that’s not a bad thing. The car is however quite colour dependent, and can be utterly anonymous in some shades – like our press test car. We suggest it needs the two tone exterior paint option to stand out on the street.
The airy cabin seats up to five but four adults will be comfortable. Rear access is good and I could sit behind my seat with a slight squeeze. The boot at 411 litres is very large for its class. The cabin features a modern layout with a nice 8-inch centre display screen and surround. There is interior backlighting to add a degree of cabin sophistication. Our fully equipped test car with its 10.25-inch digital driver’s display allows you choose from a range of themes including sporty red lit driver dials. We ended up selecting the more subtle Theme 3 dials. The dash area is only let down by the extensive use of inexpensive, harsh, dark plastics. Bluetooth is on the entry grade while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto feature from the Executive level 2 grade. The driving position is good and there is a good range of seat adjustment. Wireless charging and USBs feature.
Under the bonnet is a relatively economical and innovative 1.2 litre MPi petrol engine (tax band 12). The four-cylinder engine features CVVD technology aka continuously variable valve duration technology that optimises efficiency/. WLTP CO2 emissions are 128g/km. The little engine develops 84hp and 118nm of torque sadly it is let down by being paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. At 80km/h in fifth gear the revs are already starting to pile on – but up at the motorway limit of 120km/h the rev counter is closing in on 3,800rpm and while that number may not mean much to you – most cars would be pulling circa 2,500 revs at that speed. The resulting engine noise while suppressed to a good degree feels like you’re being cruel to it. The engine needs at least one and possibly two more forward gears to make relaxed cruising possible. Turn up the volume on the sound system and the combination of it and general cabin noise will mute the engine note to a fair degree. Despite pulling high revs no harshness comes through via the accelerator pedal and the cabin is well insulated from the engine. The engine also features an ERS energy regeneration system that has an idle stop and go functions and can also recoups electrical energy when braking to ultimately help reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Driving the Bayon in urban areas is entertaining as the steering is very quick to react. The degree of sporty turn-in delivered when you initially drive surprises and then quickly becomes the car’s best driving trait. Urban only users will be happy but if you do any sort of higher mileage on the motorway the noise will put a strain on your relationship with the Bayon.
The grades available are Comfort Plus (€21,645), Executive (€23,645 – our test car) and Executive with two tone roof from €24,245. Hyundai SmartSense is the blanket name for its comprehensive range of driving safety features. During our test in the Bayon we felt quite secure and very well catered for in terms of creature comforts.
The Bayon is at home in the city and fills a niche in Hyundai’s comprehensive range of very popular cars.