Hyundai Bayon SUV review
"The Hyundai Bayon is a stylish and feature-laden addition to the small SUV market"
- Decent boot
- Limited engine choice
- Some cheap interior materials
- More expensive than you might expect
It can also be thought of as an SUV version of the Hyundai i20 supermini, because a lot of its parts, and even its interior, are very shared between both cars. If you prefer the raised seating position in the Bayon, it will cost around £1,500 to upgrade from an i20.
With stylish looks, the Bayon does a good job of looking fresh and distinct despite the sheer number of other small SUVs that have already flooded the market. The blend of i20 and Hyundai Tucson styling cues includes eye-catching boomerang-shaped rear lights, connected by a full-width light bar. Its nose is also very attention-grabbing, courtesy of a wide grille, low headlights and high-set daytime running lights - in a similar arrangement to the Citroen C3 Aircross.
The interior is pitched as the most techy in the class, thanks to twin 10.25-inch screens, which flow together across the dashboard. These offer Android Auto and bring wireless Apple CarPlay to the segment for the first time. Practicality is also a Bayon strong point, thanks to a 411-litre boot, which not only gives it a notable size advantage over the i20, but also pips the Skoda Kamiq for luggage space.
There's only one engine available but the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol (with either 99bhp or 118bhp) should suit a fairly broad range of buyers. It can get the Bayon up to speed without feeling strained, and should return around 50mpg fuel economy. This has been helped by a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup and a clever manual gearbox, which can allow the engine to switch off temporarily while coasting.
We'll need to test the Bayon more extensively before fully judging its merits but first impressions are of a stylish, practical and well-equipped new contender in the popular small SUV class.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Like the Hyundai i20, the Bayon is fitted with a 1.0-litre petrol engine fitted with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. This recovers some energy while the car is decelerating, storing it in a small battery and boosting the engine's pulling power when setting off.
Both 99bhp and 118bhp versions are available, with CO2 emissions of 118-120g/km. This places the Bayon in a middling Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) for company-car drivers. It also slightly undercuts the 129g/km of the 1.0-litre petrol SEAT Arona.
Precise fuel economy figures haven't been given by Hyundai yet but we expect it will return around 50mpg. The slightly smaller Hyundai i20 can manage up to 55.4mpg with the same engine, while the SEAT Arona returns up to 49.6mpg with its slightly higher emissions.
Insurance should be affordable, with key 1.0-litre rivals hovering around group 10 out of 50 - around the same as most superminis. Hyundai also tends to offer affordable servicing, with plans available upfront to help spread the cost of maintenance over monthly payments.
Engines, drive & performance
Both the 99bhp and 118bhp version of the Bayon come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, however a seven-speed DCT automatic is also an option. The sprint from 0-62mph takes 10.7 and 10.4 seconds respectively, while the automatic gearbox adds around a second to these times. Stick with the manual, and the Bayon gets Hyundai's 'intelligent' gearbox that operates without the physical link between the clutch pedal and clutch, allowing the engine to switch off while coasting for improved efficiency.
With 118bhp, the Bayon pulls smoothly and offers a flexible power band, helping it get up to speed quick enough for a small SUV. If you didn't know the special manual gearbox was fitted, it's also very unlikely you’d notice the innovative clutch mechanism, as it feels completely normal.
The Hyundai i20 impressed us with its level of poise and agility, so it should be little surprise that the Bayon also handles well, despite being slightly taller. First impressions are of a well-rounded small SUV that offers enough precision without feeling too uncomfortable as a result.
Interior & comfort
There's plenty of crossover between the i20 and Bayon when you step inside, with top versions getting the same pair of 10.25-inch digital screens. The one behind the steering wheel displays key driving information, while the central screen takes care of media, navigation and car settings. It can also display Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, while Hyundai's BlueLink smartphone app can let owners connect with the car remotely, checking its location, status and sending routes to the sat nav for their next journey.
Depending on trim, wheels will range from 15-inch steel items to alloy wheels measuring 16 and 17-inches in diameter. Nine colours are offered, seven of which can be had with a contrasting black roof to help the Bayon stand out.
Practicality & boot space
A 4cm increase in height over the Hyundai i20 means access to the Bayon is very easy. Once inside, though, rear space is somewhat limited, and tall adults may find the Bayon a bit too cramped for longer journeys.
It manages to offer a bigger boot than the Hyundai Kona, however, despite the fact the Bayon sits beneath it in Hyundai's range. Measuring 411 litres, the Bayon's boot offers a compelling reason to step up from a supermini, and it's larger than the boots of many family hatchbacks, such as the Volkswagen Golf.
This figure just beats the SEAT Arona and Skoda Kamiq, both with 400 litres behind the rear seats. However, the Kamiq fights back if the rear seats are folded down, with 1,395 litres trumping the 1,205 litres in the Bayon.
Reliability & safety
Reliability has traditionally been a Hyundai strong point, with the brand performing well in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey over the years. The outgoing Hyundai i20 came 68th out of the top 75 models in 2020, which is a pretty good result for a car about to be replaced. As a development of this technology, owners will be hoping the Bayon does even better.
The Bayon is available with a long list of active and passive safety equipment, from lane-keeping assist to autonomous emergency braking and automatic high-beam activation for the headlights. Despite this, there's no guarantee the Bayon will receive a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, as the independent body has made testing procedures even more stringent for 2021.