SUV fever is showing no sign of letting up and the latest newcomer to the bustling sector is the Hyundai Bayon, a compact car that is very competitively priced.
It will be taking on the likes of the Nissan Juke and Ford Puma so needs to stand out and it does just that with its modern, stylish design and plenty of scope for owners to fully personalise their vehicle.
We opted for the Bayon Premium with the lower 100ps power level and 172Nm of torque with a manual transmission.
It was priced at £22,730 with no options and could reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.7 seconds, maxing out at 111mph. According to official WLTP figures, the car can deliver a combined 47.5mpg with carbon emissions of 121g/km.
The Bayon is a modern-looking compact crossover featuring a wide grille with sleek air intakes, arrow-shaped headlights and slim daytime running lights. It has a powerful profile with additional arrow-shaped tail lights that are joined by a red accent bar.
Moving inside, the interior is modern and spacious, although there is rather a lot of cheaper hard plastic that lowers the tone a little. The upholstery is upmarket though and there is a wealth of on-board tech to get stuck into. Features include a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen which is the main focal point and offers access to a premium sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the navigation set-up.
Heated seats and a heated steering wheel will help to fend off the winter chill and there is a separate panel to control the air con functions. In addition, the 10.25-inch digital display cluster offers all the vital driving stats in a clear, sharp manner.
When it comes to performance, the Bayon is pleasant to drive with decent acceleration out the blocks. It fizzes through the country lanes with plenty of grip and is composed on motorways too, although noise levels within the cabin do increase as you reach 70mph.
Comfort levels are good and you sit slightly lower than some rival models, but the visibility is okay apart from wide pillars.
I did have one gripe though and that was the clutch pedal. It is electrically operated and seems to lack any feel or bite so you end up hopping down the road until you become accustomed to it.
Other than that, the ride and handling impressed with drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport to alter the driving mannerisms of the car
Although the Bayon is described as a compact SUV, there is enough room in the back for a couple of adults to sit comfortably or three youngsters, and there are Isofix fittings to the two outer rear seats.
The boot can hold 401 litres of luggage, a limit that increases to 1,205 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere, there is a central cubby, glovebox, door bins, a seat back pocket, front cup holders, along with front and rear USB ports to stay fully connected on the move.
The car was awarded four out of five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and features the likes of autonomous emergency braking, intelligent speed limit warning, tyre pressure monitoring, forward collision avoidance assist with car, pedestrian and bicycle detection, plus lane keep assist and eCall emergency assist.
All in all, the Hyundai Bayon is a very decent newcomer that offers economical pricing and running costs, while still delivering in the performance and technology departments too.
100ps, 999cc, 3-cylinder, petrol-driven engine with 6-speed manual transmission