REVIEW: Hyundai Bayon

I’m always fascinated with how car companies come up with names for their cars. With Seat, it’s all Spanish place names, others have unusual names, Mercedes use a lot of letters and Hyundai have numbers like i10 and i20.

Now Hyundai has come up with it smallest SUV in the European market and it gets its name from a city in France named Bayonne.

As the Bayon is primarily aimed at the European market, Hyundai decided to name it after a European city. Bayonne is a great location for those who enjoy sailing and hiking, fitting in with the lifestyle character of the new car.

Hyundai describe this five-door car as a subcompact crossover SUV which slots in below their neat Kona. It’s based on the third generation i20 and is not offered with all-wheel drive.

There were just two baby SUVs on the market in 2011. Now a decade later there are 19. They account for 12.1% of the market, eating into the supermini segment. For many mainstream brands, these baby crossovers are best-sellers.

Externally the Bayon may look small, but there is plenty of room inside for five adults with ample leg and head room. Most comments I got from family members and neighbours were related to the unusual shape of the rear of the car.

The front of the car certainly looks like a modern Hyundai, but the design at the rear took me way back to the unusual rear window in the old Ford Anglia of the sixties. However, the sloping at the back of the Bayon was on the boot not the window.

The seats are black, and the interior is definitely a bit dark. But a cream roof-lining does brighten up the interior. I liked the old-style handbrake; the boot is huge and to top it all off you get a real spare wheel.

Normally when I get a new car on a Monday I get to make a few trips around town to get a feel for the car before heading for a motorway.

However, a few minutes after picking up the Bayon at Hyundai’s Irish headquarters in Bluebell, my daughter and I were heading out on the motorway towards Kildare Village for some last-minute Christmas shopping.

As we headed out of town the traffic was light and I got the feeling that I should move up another gear for a more relaxing drive. But there wasn’t a sixth gear available. I got a feeling most of the week on motorway driving, that I should be going up another gear and enjoy a cruising speed.

I drove the 1.2-litre where prices start at €20,795 and naturally the more extras you want the higher the price. Road tax is €200.

The Bayon is very competitively priced, and I think it would be an ideal car for empty nesters or first-time drivers. The car is only 140mm longer than the i20 and only 50mm higher, so really it’s a bit of a stretch to describe it as an SUV.