Hyundai Bayon review

Hyundai Bayon review

We road test the newest addition to Hyundai’s growing family – the Bayon baby SUV…

I feel a bit sorry for the Hyundai Bayon. Not only has it been saddled with a name* which means nothing to most UK buyers, but it was introduced at around the same time as Hyundai’s acclaimed Ioniq 5 EV and Tucson SUV.

In other words, this worthy compact crossover – which will do battle with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Seat Arona, Ford Puma, Renault Captur and Skoda Kamiq – missed out on the launch limelight.

First impressions are mixed. Let’s be charitable and describe the design as bold. A huge grille sits below thin headlights, there are sharp creases down the side and it has an angular rear end with tall tail-lights and a thin horizontal light bar.

Hyundai Bayon review

Inside, it’s much the same as the i20 hatchback, the car on which the Bayon is based. The dashboard is attractive enough and sensibly laid out with top versions getting a pair of clear and crisp 10.25-inch digital screens – a digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel and a central touchscreen which takes care of media, navigation and car settings.

Naturally, it’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible, while Hyundai’s BlueLink smartphone app allows owners to connect with the car remotely, checking its location, status and sending routes to the sat nav for their next journey.

The Bayon range is priced from £20,530 and there are three trim levels offered: SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate.

Hyundai Bayon review

There’s only one engine available – a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol (99bhp or 118bhp) with the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

The engine has 48-volt mild hybrid assistance and the more powerful version paired with the auto gearbox is capable of a 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 115mph. Fuel consumption is as high as 53.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are as low as 119g/km.

My 118bhp test car in Ultimate spec came with a six-speed manual transmission and a ticket price of £24,780.

Hyundai Bayon review

Top trim means there’s plenty of kit, including black gloss door mirrors, two-tone black roof, keyless entry and a Bose sound system, on top of the rear view camera, privacy glass, heated front seats and steering wheel found on entry-level models.

There’s lots of safety and driver assistance equipment too including AEB (autonomous emergency braking), Blind Spot Collison Warning and Lane Follow Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and automatic high beams. Ford the record, it achieved a creditable four out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.

The Bayon is surprisingly spacious inside with room for two adults in the back, though space for your feet below the front seats is limited. The boot is a reasonable 334 litres, expanding to 1,205 litres with the rear seats flipped down, and there are smaller storage spaces dotted around the cabin.

Hyundai Bayon review

My only gripe is that there’s too much scratchy, hard plastic used around the cabin.

I’m glad I was able to try the clever manual gearbox, which is marketed as an intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT).

Apparently, there’s no physical link between the clutch pedal and the clutch and it allows the engine to switch off temporarily while coasting, reducing emissions and saving fuel.

The system seems to work well enough on the move, though sometimes there is a hesitation with the stop-start when engaging first gear in slow moving traffic.

That said, the clutch is light, and the gear lever has a pleasant short throw, even if it is a bit notchy at times.

Hyundai Bayon review

The engine is more punchy than the performance figures suggest, and more importantly for many, it’s smooth and refined when up to speed.

You can choose between three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport). Eco is fine for motorway runs on cruise control (50mpg is achievable), but Normal is the best all-rounder and will do just fine, because Sport simply adds weight to the steering.

With its light controls and raised driving position, the Bayon makes sense as an urban crossover choice.

It would be wrong to call its firm ride sophisticated, but it’s comfortable enough.

Hyundai Bayon review

It’s light up front, so grip level is moderate in the wet or on a loose surface, but overall it handles well and body control is decent. So, while it’s not as engaging to drive as some rivals, it ticks plenty of boxes for most buyers.

Verdict: The Hyundai Bayon is an honest, competitively priced, boldly-styled new entrant in the busy compact crossover segment. Well equipped, easy to drive, practical and economical, it comes with an appealing five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

*Just so you know, the Bayon name is inspired by Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque country in the south-west of France.

Hyundai UK

Toyota Yaris Cross review

Toyota Yaris Cross review

We test the chunky crossover version of Toyota’s fuel-efficient Yaris…

Since childhood, we have been told that practice makes perfect. We have learned that nothing is achieved or improved without hard work and repetition. As the great golfer, Gary Player, once said: “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”

All manufacturing and technical companies focus on one aspect of their general operations so that they become expert and gain a certain reputation that attracts clients who have confidence in their products and services.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

Car companies are no different. For example, Porsche’s cars are dynamic to drive with supreme build quality, while Skodas are spacious and deliver great value for money.

Toyota is known for many things – and hybrid technology is right up there. The Japanese giant was the first to launch a mainstream model that combined petrol and electric drive with the Prius in 2000 (UK debut). What’s more, it’s been able to use that knowledge and expertise gained over the years to constantly improve the system and apply it to a broader range of models.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The highly successful Yaris supermini has become a hybrid-only car since its last major update in 2020 and combines a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a small battery and electric motor.

Now, to compete in the currently popular small SUV sector, Toyota has launched the Yaris Cross, which has the same chassis and powertrain, but rides higher and has an off-roader look.

The electric motor produces up to 79bhp and the maximum output for petrol and electric combined is 116bhp. The gearbox is an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and drive is through the front wheels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

There will be a four-wheel drive option in due course but you will pay an extra £2,360 for the benefit. The range offers five levels of trim and equipment – Icon, Design, Excel, Dynamic and Premiere edition.

However, even the base Icon has keyless entry, Apple CarPlay, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear camera, climate control and adaptive cruise control.

My test car came in Design trim with a ticket price of £24,140 and added LED lighting, 20:40:20 folding seats and 17-inch alloys, though the slightly bigger 9.0-inch infotainment screen (usually 8.0-inch) was an extra £500.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

The Yaris Cross looks smart and the bodywork boasts the usual rugged black plastic wheel-arch extensions and raised ride height shared with other small SUVs. If anything it’s more baby RAV4 than big Yaris.

The interior is basically the same as the new Yaris hatchback, which means that it’s clear, functional, modern and features the latest technology.

Rear space is pretty good for two with average knee room, but would be a push for three adults. The boot is roomy at 397 litres (expanding to 1,097 litres with the rear seats flipped down). A raised and flat false floor is available on higher trim levels.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

So how does all this cutting-edge hybrid technology work on the road? Is it smooth in operation and does it provide decent fuel economy?

Well, the clever electronics ensure that the Yaris runs on pure electric power up to 30mph until the battery runs out or you need extra acceleration. It then transfers to hybrid drive and the change is seamless. Engine noise is suppressed and the CVT transmission works well, as long as you don’t floor the accelerator, at which point the revs shoot up.

A dashboard display tells you how much electric driving you are doing and the state of the battery. I found that this encourages a gentler driving style which can only benefit economy.

Toyota Yaris Cross review

In fact, despite an officially quoted fuel consumption of 55-60mpg, I managed to get an indicated 70mpg on a particular varied run without too much trouble. Impressive stuff. The handling is pretty good and the steering is sharp, though some may find the ride is on the firm side.

Overall, it would be wrong to call it a dynamic drive, but then it’s not designed for that. Buy the awesome GR Yaris if you want serious fun.

So, job done for the boldy styled, spacious new Yaris Cross, which works as a good value, fuel-efficient commuter or small family car.

Test Facts

  • Toyota Yaris Cross 1.5 VVT-i Design
  • Body: Five door SUV
  • Engine: 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol / electric hybrid
  • Power: 115 bhp
  • Torque: 120 Nm
  • Top Speed: 105 mph
  • Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 11.2 secs
  • WLTP combined mpg: 54.3 to 64.1 mpg
  • CO2 emissions: 102 g/km
  • Range priced from £22,515

Toyota UK

Lexus UX 300e review

Lexus UX 300e review

Lexus was a part-electrification pioneer when it launched the RX400h self-charging hybrid SUV way back in 2004.

However, it’s taken until now for the premium car maker to bring its first all-electric vehicle – the UX 300e – to market.

Consequently, it’s a little late to the party, joining the likes of the similarly sized Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona Electric and Peugeot e-2008, to name but a few.

Lexus UX 300e review

Starting at £41,745, the Lexus has an official range just shy of 200 miles (190-196 miles, depending on the wheel size) and looks much the same as its hybrid sibling (priced from £29,955).

“Compact, classy, comfortable and economical, it’s engaging to drive, distinctive and oozes badge appeal,” was our conclusion when we reviewed the regular UX (Urban Crossover) in 2019.

In fact, our only gripes were the CVT gearbox (short doses of uncomfortably high revs on hard acceleration) and the infotainment screen which is accessed via a fiddly touchpad down beside the gear selector.

Lexus UX 300e review

The infotainment system is much the same in the UX 300e, but going all electric means there’s no need for a CVT because it’s a one-speed like all EVs, so the new model is a smoother operator.

For now there’s just one power option and three trims levels. A 201bhp e-motor and 54.3kW battery pack combine to power the front wheels and it’s good for a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.5 seconds.

The UX 300e can be fully charged at home in just over eight hours or via a 50KW public charger (up to 80%) in as little as 50 minutes.

Lexus UX 300e review

Naturally, it’s also (modestly) charged on the move via regenerative braking (the levels are controlled via steering wheel paddle shifters) which converts much of the energy lost while decelerating back into stored energy in the car’s battery.

Talking of charge, we found the UX’s real world range to be closer to 170 miles, though this figure will always depend on driving style, terrain, whether you use items such as the heater and the outside temperature.

To look at, the sleek electric UX is definitely one of the most stylish compact SUVs available.

Lexus UX 300e review

In fact, it looks like no other car in its class with bold, sculpted lines, a full-width rear lightbar, roof spoiler and that unmistakable Lexus mesh front grille.

Slightly lower than most competitors and sporting a coupe-like profile, it’s full of innovative features including wheel arch mouldings which not only protect the bodywork, but also have a secondary aerodynamic function, just like the rear lights and the special alloy wheels.

Inside, it oozes class. There’s plenty of room up front, though it’s not as spacious in the rear as some rivals, no is there much space to stick your feet under the front seats, thanks to the batteries below.

Lexus UX 300e review

Luggage capacity is a useful 367 litres (more than the hybrid UX) expanding to 1,278 litres with the rear seats folded.

The cabin itself is stylish, beautifully finished and very Lexus with superb attention to detail. Up front it’s very driver-centric with the instrument panel, switchgear and infotainment screen subtly angled away from the passenger.

Despite its batteries, the UX 300e feels light on the road and even swifter than the official acceleration figures suggest. In fact, in the wet, the traction control system struggles to stop the front wheels spinning if you really go for it.

Lexus UX 300e review

There is a Sport mode, but the difference isn’t that dramatic, and while body control in faster corners is fairly good, the overwhelming sensation is one of comfort and refinement, which again, is very Lexus.

Like many electric cars, the brakes aren’t massively responsive, though the steering is light, making it easy to drive around town.

The 300e is packed with safety and driver assistance systems, and when the hybrid UX was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 it achieved a maximum score of five stars.

Lexus UX 300e review

And for extra peace of mind, it comes with the standard Lexus three-year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty for the car, plus an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

Perhaps the 300e’s biggest challenge is its price point and range. For instance, it costs significantly more than the e-Niro and Kona Electric (which both have a range closer to 300 miles) and is even nudging the bigger Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3.

Verdict: Refined, comfortable and offering a premium experience, the all-electric Lexus UX 300e is a class act. With a range best suited to urban ownership, it’s easy to drive and stands out from the crowd, but it’s also up against some serious competition.