02 Oct 2022

Dundalk Motors: The cracking Hyundai Bayon

Dundalk Motors: The cracking Hyundai Bayon

I mean seriously, who needs yet another Crossover/SUV. They are everywhere and as sure as day follows night our en mass migration to diesel and now away from it will befall Crossover / SUV buyers when we are all driving them.

I wasn’t filled with glee at the thought of reviewing another one when the Bayon’s review date loomed. I only had it for a few days as I was under pressure to test other cars before the 2022 Continental Irish Car of the Year deadline that kinda soured me to the Bayon even before I sat in it.

On paper it is just a raised version of the i20 and seemed to be trading on our love of the Tuscon and Kona that are, and continue to be, huge sellers, best sellers in fact, from Hyundai.

In the search for a niche market I felt Hyundai were trying too hard as there just doesn’t seem to be space for another one in the Hyundai lineup. For instance the Bayon is an inch, 25mm to you and me, narrower, shorter and lower than the Kona. In a “who is the biggest” competition it’s hardly worth taking part.

Paradoxically, the boot in the Bayon at 411 litres is 50 litres bigger than the Kona. I’m sure there is an engineering explanation for that, but as a buyer you’d have expected the reverse. Always, always check the numbers – and not just the price.              

Anyway, the real sense and feel of a car is in the metal and driving it. The Bayon seemed to be on sale without a fanfare launch and I’d seen it on the road before I was made aware of it.

I wasn’t sure if it was a new Kona or what it was. Up close in the flesh it isn’t as small as you’d think it is.

The additional height is the main reason for this observation and I’m sure it’s selling hook. Of more interest to me is the design of it. I’d argue it is a more cohesive design and brings together current Hyundai themes for a more sophisticated look and trumps the Kona hands down.

I’ve never felt the Kona bridged the transition from outgoing Hyundai themes to the new ones whereas the Bayon certainly does.

The daytime running lights either side connected by a narrow grilles and the look of the rear LED arrow shaped lights are the highlights. It’s all part of Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language. Now you know.

Inside is where the magic happens. Get into any Hyundai these days and the quality on display is amazing.

The layout is logical and everything you touch feels rewarding. I’d prefer a few more knobs for control but it seems touch and tap is the direction of travel these days. Its wrong but who is listening?

They can hold their head as high as anyone, if not higher, offering a similar car in a similar price bracket.

Take my car for instance which was a 1.2 Executive model with a 5 speed manual gearbox - more about that in a while - that will cost you €23,045. It had, and these are the incredible standard items as there are too many to list, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, all electric windows, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, wireless phone charger, rear passenger USB charger, 10.25 inch central display screen, rear parking sensors and camera and comprehensive safety features with Hyundai SmartSense. I was genuinely blown away. I never expected that amount of kit for the money.

Under the bonnet is a 1.2l petrol engine producing 84PS and 117 Nm of torque. It is fine at moving the car from standstill up through the gears and feels such an honest and earnest engine but just not powerful. It’s ideal for city and urban driving and tolerable on longer excursions as long as you are not heavily laden or in a hurry.

My trips were mostly urban on my own so I reveled in its zippiness for its size. It is a very easy car to drive and live with and I delighted in every trip.

I could happily own a Bayon as an everyday car. It’s spacious yet frugal and I’m sure I could get the fuel consumption down to the 5.6l/100kms Hyundai claim. Aren’t we all driving that bit more economical these days with the price madness at the pumps?

From a noise perspective the car was as quiet as anything else that’s similar and was below the threshold I set for irritating.

What disappointed me about the Bayon was the fact that it only has 5 gears. Every time I was in 5th I felt that I needed to shift to a missing 6th gear. The car really needs it.

The engine noise when in 5th, at 100km/hr, is sending out every motoring and driving signal I know to change up, but there isn’t a next gear.

In a car that sets out what it is going to do, who it is going to do it for, for who can afford the price required, this is the only flaw I can find with the car.

Make no mistake, this is a cracking car that’s comprehensively specified, a knockout price, the required shape and ideal for small young families and dawn/dusk aged drivers that are city or urban dwellers.

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