Adding to Hyundai’s already confusing crossover stable is the Bayon, which sits underneath the Kona in the company’s hierarchy. It’s only for Europe, however, with its Venue stablemate meant for other countries (like ours). The Bayon’s name comes from the French city of Bayonne, appropriate for the car’s destined market.
This car directly goes up against such subcompact crossovers as the Kia Stonic and the Nissan Juke, with the dimensions being 4,180mm long, 1,775mm wide and 1,490mm tall. This means that even tall passengers are guaranteed to have ample legroom. The car also offers ground clearance of up to 183mm, which betters that of some of its rivals.
As for how the Bayon looks, “sharp” and “unconventional” are the first words that come to mind. Topping the front are small slits that house the daytime running lights. The main headlights split off into the bumper, a trend that’s becoming more and more common among crossovers. The side profile is full of angular cuts and kinks, similar to the recently launched Ioniq 5. The model you see here is riding on 17-inch wheels, with 15-inch steelies or 16-inch alloys available for lower trim levels. The rear has a striking lightbar that terminates in boomerang-shaped taillights to form an ‘H’. We think the two-tone Mangrove Green Pearl paint job works well with this bold design.
The inside offers more luxuries than the competitors, too, with a 10.25-inch screen for instrumentation and an eight-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto—something not seen in many cars even in the high-end segment. There is also ambient lighting, a Bose sound system, and a wireless charging pad. The Bayon comes equipped with Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite to help keep occupants safe on the road.
As for the powertrain, customers can choose from a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, or a turbocharged 1.0-liter mill with an optional mild-hybrid system and two transmission options: a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch. Power outputs are 84hp for the NA, 100hp for the turbo with manual gearbox, and 120hp for the turbo with DCT.
Considering how affordable the Kona already is, the Bayon’s positioning is a bit of a curiosity. However, there is probably strong demand for such a car given that Hyundai has devoted time and resources into making it in the first place. That begs the question now of whether the Bayon would have been a better vehicle for our market than the Venue.