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First Drive

First Drive: Hyundai Bayon

The story: Hyundai is the latest brand to enter the core small crossover market with a new model closely related to the i20 hatchback.
Category:Small crossover
Key rival:Ford Puma
On sale:Now

The all-new Bayon may he been slightly lost in all the fuss around the striking new Ioniq 5 in Hyundai’s recent new model flood (see page 32), but it gives the brand a competitor in the small crossover market that continues to flourish.

Despite not viewing the Bayon as a core fleet model, the small crossover class is a thriving sector and the Korean brand sees a degree of fleet potential for a model that appears with a choice of 100hp or 120hp 1.0-litre powertrains and three trim levels.

First Drive - September 2021 - Hyundai Bayon - Image 1The sharp nose and slender Hyundai lights perk up the styling, as do the curved rear lights, in what is a car that otherwise blends into the baby crossover landscape.

The boot is also a little on the small side at 334 litres, well down on the likes of the Ford Puma, Peugeot 2008 and Skoda Kamiq, and a few litres off the Vauxhall Mokka. But it does have an adjustable-height floor for additional practicality.

On the inside there’s a lot of harder plastic in a functional interior, and an average amount of rear passenger space in what is a compact car.

The two higher trim levels get a long but narrow 10.25-inch touchscreen, while the entry car makes do with an 8.0-inch screen. Heated front seats and steering wheel, LED lights front and back, rear privacy glass and wireless charging also mark the step from entry SE Connect to middle Premium trim level, while the Ultimate gets keyless entry, a Bose premium sound system and two-tone roof, as well as blindspot collision warning.

First Drive - September 2021 - Hyundai Bayon - Image 6The mild hybrid system fitted to both versions of the petrol engine switches off the powertrain as you descend hills and is one of the most active and noticeable versions of this tech that has a modest impact on efficiency.

Otherwise the Bayon’s powertrain is quiet, and only needs to be worked hard when full-on acceleration is required. It’s marginally better than most rivals from an efficiency point of view, sitting at 119-121g/km across the trim and auto or manual transmission line-up.

The car rides well enough across the UK’s speed bumps, potholes and scars.

paul barker



The verdict

Sensible and mainstream addition to Hyundai’s line-up that doesn’t do anything new but fills a gap in an important segment of the market.