- Comfortable ride and smooth hybrid engine
- Well-equipped for its competitive price
- Easy to drive
- The clutch has no real feel or biting point
- All-round visibility is not great
- Some cheap-looking materials inside the cabin
Oh we do love our SUVs and they come in all shapes and sizes to match our needs and budgets. One of the more compact options is the funky Hyundai BAYON which is vying for sales against the likes of the Ford Puma and Nissan Juke and it’s quite an impressive little run-around.
You will sit slightly lower down than some rival compact SUVs which rather seems to defeat the object of it, but it’s still comfortable to drive and well-equipped, especially for its reasonable price-tag.
And it has another trump card – it looks really snazzy with modern, sharp styling along with a wide selection of optional personalisation features such as stripe decals, a boot liner, tow bar and dog guard.
Customers can choose from trim levels called SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate with the option of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox.
The five-door BAYON is an attractive urban crossover that’s easy on the eye. Stand out design cues include arrow-shaped headlights, a wide grille, sleek air intakes and narrow LED daytime running lights. From the side it has powerful shoulder lines and stand-out C pillars that slope backwards into the slanting roofline. There are more arrow-shaped lights at the rear joined by a smart red accent bar.
The interior is spacious and the cabin is bright, modern and feature-rich. It is let down by some cheaper hard plastic surfaces that will be prone to scratching over time, but elsewhere the quality is good with upmarket upholstery and a wealth of technology.
The 10.25-inch digital cluster offers all the vital driving data in a clear and simple fashion, while the 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen forms the focal point within the BAYON. This is the nerve centre and offers access to the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a premium sound system and sat nav. There are separate controls for the air conditioning, along with heated seats and a heated steering wheel to fend off the winter blues.
It is also possible to control many systems from a smartphone via Bluelink.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
Powering the Hyundai BAYON is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine with 48v mild hybrid assistance. It is available with two power outputs – 100PS and 120PS
We tested the BAYON Premium model powered by the 1.0-litre 100PS engine with 172Nm of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This vehicle could complete the 0-62mph dash in 10.7 seconds and maxed out at 111.8mph.
Despite opting for the lesser powered car, it had plenty of poke and fizzed around town. It was nicely balanced on the country lanes and felt composed on motorways, although it was slightly buffeted by strong cross winds.
My only real gripe was the clutch. It is electrically operated with no mechanical works so finding a biting point can be challenging. In fact, the car is likely to be hopping and skipping for a while until you get used to it.
Ride comfort levels impress though and drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport alter the driving characteristics of the car with Sport adding an edge to the performance.
All round parking sensors and a rearview camera are handy features on a car that is likely to feature regularly on the dreaded school run.
Space & Practicality
The Hyundai BAYON is a compact five-door SUV with bags of space up front for a couple of six footers to sit comfortably. And, provided the front seats are not pushed too far back, a couple of adults can actually fit in the back of the car. Add a third and it does get a little cosy.
But it is fine for three youngsters and the Isofix fixtures on the outer rear seats make fitting a child seat an easy option.
The boot is well-sized with an adjustable floor for added convenience. It can swallow 401 litres of luggage and if the 60:40 split-folding rear seats are dropped; this limit increases to 1,205 litres.
Inside the cabin, there is additional storage with a glovebox, door bins, a central cubby, a seat back pocket, front cup holders, plus USB ports front and rear.
With a slightly elevated driving position, the driver visibility is good forwards and sideways. But the narrow rear window and wide C pillars do restrict the rear and over-the-shoulder visibility respectively. There is a rearview camera and parking sensors to assist with this issue though.
The Hyundai BAYON line-up is priced from £20,530 for the entry level SE Connect increasing to £26,030 for the Ultimate with 120PS and the DCT gearbox.
Our test car cost £22,730 with no optional extras added, and according to official WLTP figures, could deliver an impressive 53.3mpg (we saw an average of 47.5mpg during our week behind the wheel) with carbon emissions of 121g/km.
This CO2 figure would result in a first-year road tax bill of £190 dropping to the standard fee of £165 after 12 months.
Any business driver will see a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 29 per cent and the insurance rating for the BAYON Premium, as tested, is group 15.
The Korean carmaker has a good reputation for reliability frequently scoring well in customer satisfaction surveys, so there shouldn’t be any unexpected breakdown bills. And for added peace of mind, the Hyundai BAYON is supplied with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty as standard.
The market seems to be bubbling over with small SUVs these days with pricing, designs, powertrains and trims to suit all needs and budgets.
While the Hyundai BAYON won’t blow your mind with its performance ability, it is a very worthy all-rounder. Firstly, it’s competitively priced, especially at entry level. Secondly, it boasts low day-to-day running costs and it is very well equipped.
Factor in the eye-catching exterior styling and lengthy list of safety tech as standard, and it’s certainly a model worth exploring.