Test Drive: Hyundai Bayon
Ian Lamming is content to drive the brand new Hyundai Bayon
NOW, let me see, it’s cold and dark and home is miles away, nothing new there then.
So, heated seats on, check; heated steering wheel on, check; playlist on, check; and we are under way.
I’m easy to please really. Just need heated seats, heated steering wheel and a decent sound system, oh and strong, economical, performance, refined ride, secure handling, and something that looks cool, with a decent interior. See, easy to please, like I said.
I love a new model too, not just a rehashed or reheated one, but one that is spanking brand new with a new name and everything. Then, as if by magic, Hyundai drops off the Bayon and all the boxes are ticked. It even comes in an unusual colour, a shade of green, Mangrove Green Pearl according to the spec sheet.
Bayon is the latest addition to Hyundai’s expanding SUV range, this one is B-segment, which makes it compact. I love the look, the way it seems to forgo traditional headlamps for arrow head shaped LEDs, crested by day running lights that top a wide smiling grille.
It’s more than just for show as the LEDs scythe a path through the murk and cornering lights finally expose that darn pothole I hit every day as I pull off the dual carriageway to join the A road. Blumin’ thing nearly tears my wheel off every time but the Hyundai’s lights pick out the lurking chasm allowing me to steer round it for once – I like this car.
Wedged shape from the side, it gives the impression of forward motion even at rest, while the arrow theme returns at the back with LEDs stretching the full width giving the Bayon a wide stance. It’s more than a trick of the eye because internally it feels spacious and airy too. The load bay is large and flexible as well.
The interior is excellent, especially as the heat seeps through from seat and steering wheel to warm my bones. Ergonomics are a perfect fit for my modestly proportioned frame and eyes fall on a brilliant virtual dash and fascia dominated by large touchscreen.
Ambient lighting is pleasing to the eye, adds to the serene atmosphere and I like the way it illuminates the side air vents. There’s plenty of connectivity and even an app to locate, lock and unlock the car. How very 21 century.
Another reason for enjoying the ride home is that Bayon drives exceptionally well. Ride is comfortable and compliant but controls the car well through the bends and levels of grip are impressive. Steering is light and accurate and the six speed manual is featherweight, accurate, with short throws.
It has intelligent manual transmission (iMT) which disengages the engine from the transmission when the driver releases the accelerator, allowing the vehicle to start coasting, reducing emissions and saving fuel. Must admit, I didn’t notice but I’m all for saving emissions and money.
There are three drive modes – eco, normal and sport – which optimise engine response and steering. Bayon is the first Hyundai SUV to come equipped with ‘rev matching’, which synchronises the engine to the output shaft, allowing for smoother or sportier downshifts when it sport.
And before you know it I’m home. Another successful and enjoyable commute under the belt and I feel happy relaxed and contented – but then it doesn’t take much, just the new Bayon.
Hyundai Bayon Premium
Engine: 1.0 turbo three cylinder petrol 48V mild hybrid
Top speed: 115mph
Combined MPG: 53.3
Transmission: six-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 120