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The Hyundai Bayon is a bold little crossover

Hyundai's new Puma and Juke rival tries to out-style them both

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Welcome, budding crossover buyers, to the 754,316th entrant (approx.) into the market: the Hyundai Bayon.

We’ll get straight into business: it’s roughly the size of a Nissan Juke or Ford Puma, and it quite possibly out-bolds them both in the design department. Hyundai’s not holding back stylistically at the moment, and unlike some of its rivals, there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to how its now five SUV thingies look: this is no diddy Tucson.

While it’s striking on the outside, it’s welcomely conventional beneath. A choice of two mild-hybrid 1.0-litre turbo petrol engines drive the front wheels through a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic gearboxes. Hilariously, the former gets the same rev-matching tech as the i30N hot hatch. So if your Bayon is in Sport mode, the car will heel’n’toe your downchanges for that whiff of ‘1980s rally driver’ as you brake into the mini roundabout outside Sainsbury’s.

The engines offer 100 or 120bhp, with its best performance figures being 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and a 115mph top speed. Will we get an N version, with the i20N’s powertrain shoehorned in? Only time will tell. For now, it’s a light little thing, weighing 1,120kg in manual trim.

That’s despite it coming with a decent amount of stuff inside: big media screens are a given, with both the dials and infotainment available as 10in displays and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto a first in this class of car. Hyundai’s also claiming the Bayon’s 183mm ground clearance beats its rivals, though a 411-litre boot is a smidge smaller than a Juke, Puma or T-Cross.

There are vast swathes of active safety equipment to make up for it, with just about every lane-keeping and accident-avoiding acronym you can imagine available. As is ‘ROA’, or Rear Occupant Alert, which will remind you there’s a child or dog in the back when you park up and open the door to leave. Handy.

And ‘Bayon’? “In line with Hyundai’s existing SUV naming strategy, Bayon’s name was inspired by a vacation hotspot,” we’re told. That hotspot being Bayonne, ‘one of the most beautiful destinations in the south-west of France’. Whether this is one of the most beautiful cars in the south-west of the crossover market… well, that’s up to you. Fire away in the comments below.

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