Need an i20 that looks a little more “rugged”? Then the new Bayon is the car for you.
Welcome, the new Bayon – we could hardly wait either. For those of you not familiar with the current model, Bayon is essentially Hyundai’s attempt to cash in on the booming market for Superminis on stilts. As such, the running gear is transplanted directly from Hyundai’s excellent little i20 hatchback into a similar car with a loftier ride-height and chunkier styling, creating the illusion of some off-road ability.
Illusion really is the operative word, though: those attempting any serious off-roading will quickly be humbled thanks to a lack of four-wheel-drive and relatively modest ground clearance. Although the same criticism could fairly be levelled at rivals like Ford’s Puma and Peugeot’s 2008, which also boast about as much off-road prowess as a Little Tikes Car.
But putting our own reservations about the class to one side, what has Hyundai done to improve this latest Bayon? Well, it’s all in the technology and interior refinements. On the former front, buyers now benefit from a 10.25-inch LCD instrument cluster, with a separate 10.25-inch Audio Visual Navigation Screen (AVN) screen as standard – Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and wireless phone charging also feature. And you’ll be able to listen to your favourite playlists in crystal clarity thanks to an eight-speaker Bose Audio System.
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Semi-autonomy has also come to the Bayon for the first time, which is something that few rivals can match. For example, Lane Following Assist (LFA) works to keep the vehicle centered in its lane, while Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) can sound an alarm, then, if necessary, apply the brakes to avoid an accident.
There’s also been some minor styling alterations to the exterior. Most notably, a full-length lightbar at the front offers a more premium feel than before, and at the rear stars a redesigned bumper. New 16 and 17-inch wheel options also update the look. What’s more, four new colour options – Lumen Grey Pearl, Meta Blue Pearl, Lucid Lime Metallic and Vibrant Blue Pearl, as well as an optional two-tone black roof – should really help the new lines pop in the sun.
As far as the oily bits go, we expect the new car to continue using the hardy but slightly unrefined 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol mild-hybrid as the outgoing car and lower i20. It's likely performance and economy will be marginally less than the donor hatch due to a greater ride height. Similarly, pricing should be almost identical to the existing model.
Gearbox options should also remain unchanged. Buyers can opt for a six-speed ‘Intelligent’ Manual, which presumably means it can execute some form of rev matching (or is really good at Sudoku puzzles), we’re not entirely sure. Or for those with a lazier left leg, a seven-speed dual-clutch auto should offer snappy and effortless changes.
One obvious plus of the new Bayon’s ICE powertrain is that it won’t be troubled by the range anxiety of more expensive electric-only options. Running low on range? Simply pull into one of thousands of conveniently located petrol dispensaries and replenish your supply in a matter of seconds. How handy.
From a purely objective perspective, we struggle to see why you’d want a Bayon over the excellent (and in some ways, better) i20 upon which it’s based. However, as long as the SUV fashion trend booms, cars like these will continue to sell like hotcakes. Do you think the Bayon makes more sense than its supermini sibling? Let us know if you’d have one over Ford’s Fiesta-based SUV, the Puma.
Hero image credit: Hyundai