Who Really Killed JFK? Does extraterrestrial life exist? What is Area 51 hiding? But, above all, because Hyundai offers two urban SUVs of segment B and urban size – a category that in Italy is worth 22% of the market and 49% of the SUV one. Valid references at European level – in its range, namely the Kona and the new Bayon? We are unable to answer the first three questions but, luckily for those who have already lost sleep by dint of wondering, we can answer the fourth: the Bayon is a product with a more mainstream soul than the Kona, which means that it is aimed at those customers who want something more than a traditional small car, such as the i20 (from which the Bayon derives the technical fundamentals), starting with the glamorous taste of sport utilities, even those in miniature sizes.
It follows that the Bayon has prices on average about 3 thousand euros lower than the Kona which, on the other hand, winks more at the world of premium, as it “certifies” the availability of engines up to 280 HP of power and the option of the four-wheel drive. This is why in Hyundai they are not afraid of a possible internal cannibalization effect of the two products, even though they believe that a small osmosis of the customers of the two models is possible. Even so, however, the combination of the two proposals will guarantee higher sales volumes than a single product would do. Or, to put it in the words of Andrea Crespi, who heads the Italian subsidiary of Hyundai, “the increase in sales that we plan to generate with the Bayon does not diminish the commercial potential of the Kona”, even if the external dimensions of the two vehicles are stackable: we are in an area of 4.2 meters in length.
Yes, but how does all this translate into “practice”? First of all with the fact that the newcomer – which is built in Turkey and will be offered as an option with LPG fueling – boasts a very personal stylistic language, made up of taut lines and edges, and, while keeping the necessary distances with the Kona, does not give up to technologies such as full LED headlights or aesthetic attention such as the painted roof in contrast with the rest of the bodywork. Inside the atmosphere is by no means spartan: of course, the plastics of the upholstery are inevitably hard, but stylistic – made of horizontal and parallel lines – and ergonomics do not disappoint and there is no lack of latest generation contents, such as digital instrumentation and infotainment compatible with smartphones, both based on 10.25 ”screens. The interior spaciousness is excellent in relation to the size of the car and you can have “goodies” such as ambient lights for the lower portion of the passenger compartment or the audio system by Bose; the trunk, then, has a volume that varies between 411 and 1,205 liters.
Under the bonnet the tested 82 bhp 1.2 naturally aspirated four-cylinder or the 100 bhp mild-hybrid three-cylinder turbo, the latter object of our test-drive and available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. When running, the engine is silent and does not transmit the vibrations typical of three-cylinder splitting. However, it is appreciated more for the regularity of delivery at low and medium revs than for the verve it is able to provide, especially in the upper part of the rev counter, where it suffers a little. On the other hand, the 6-speed manual gearbox has a light clutch and pleasant clutches, with the average consumption that remains low (the Wltp approved one goes from 5.2 to 5.5 liters / 100 km).
Between the curves the car does not fare badly, despite the family vocation: steering and set-up are well tuned, with the first that likes for calibration and the second that does not yield too much to the lateral lying down. Lastly, the rich safety kit is worth mentioning, which includes autonomous emergency braking, active lane maintenance, recognition of speed limits and automatic high beams as standard. Two versions are available, XLine and XClass, with prices starting from 19,400 euros: but with the Hyundai promotion and with the exchange or scrapping of another car, the check to be drawn drops to 16,800 euros.