The crossover segment is now one of the biggest and most competitive around, with a seemingly unlimited supply of new models coming to market.
One of the most recent to join the fray has been the Hyundai Bayon – the brand’s new entry-level crossover, designed to slot beneath the Kona in its range. Based on the same platform as the i20 supermini, it promises to become a popular model in Hyundai’s range.
But it faces some tough competition – not least from the Nissan Juke. This was the original compact crossover, and even more than a decade later it remains a hugely popular option. But which should you go for? Let’s put them head-to-head.
It’s safe to say that compact crossovers aren’t typically bought for their driving pleasure, and neither the Bayon or Juke are what you’d call fun to drive. That said, both are easy cars to drive and live with, which is hugely important in this segment.
With the close links to Hyundai’s i20, the Bayon handles well, while as it sits lower to the road, it feels quite nimble and not as cumbersome as crossovers. It’s also comfortable, while overall refinement is credible too. Moving over to the Juke, if you value a high-set driving position, this Nissan’s loftier ride height will immediately make it more appealing, while it still handles well by class standards too. The disappointment with the Juke lies in the dim-witted automatic gearbox (choose the manual if you can), while the larger wheels it come with does give it an overly firm ride, particularly around town.
Both of these crossovers come with quite a limited range of engine choice, with the Juke available with a single turbocharged 112bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, while the Bayon is also kitted out with a turbocharged 1.0-litre, though with the option of 99bhp or 118bhp power outputs.
Let’s start with the Juke, which is available with either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission. It can go from 0-60mph in 10 seconds, while Nissan claims it can return up to 47.9mpg, with 134g/km CO2 emissions.
Over to the Bayon, which features mild-hybrid electrification as standard, and also gets the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes across both power outputs. In terms of performance, it’s marginally slower than the Juke – 0-60mph taking 10.5 seconds – though it will be cheaper to run. Hyundai claims 53.3mpg, with 120g/km CO2 emissions.
The need to stand out is really important in the crossover class, and the Nissan Juke is arguably the model that has the most style on its side. Though not everyone will like the way it looks, with its chunky round headlights and impressive personalisation, it’s easy to see why so many choose the Juke.
The Hyundai Bayon goes far from unnoticed, though, with its front end really standing out – mainly due to its large grille area, split headlights in the bonnet and funky LED lights that gives it plenty of street cred. There are a great range of colours to choose from as well, while the boomerang-shaped LED rear lights are a particular highlight.
If you’re looking at a compact crossover because a standard supermini is just too small, both this Nissan and Hyundai will certainly appeal.
In fact, despite being cheaper to buy than Hyundai’s Kona crossover, the Bayon is actually roomier – with a boot measuring 401 litres, or 1,205 litres with the rear seats folded. The rest of the cabin isn’t the roomiest, though should be plenty for most.
It’s a similar story in the Juke, as though this new car is bigger than before, it still sits on the more compact end of the spectrum, with rear space quite tight for adults. While the Juke 422-litre boot is larger than the Bayon’s with the rear seats upright, with them folded it becomes smaller.
On paper, the Nissan Juke looks better value for money than the Bayon, with its £19,200 starting price undercutting the Hyundai’s £20,520 starting price.
However, the standard kit on the Juke is quite poor, as you don’t even get alloy wheels or a touchscreen – you’ll need to upgrade to the Acenta version for this. While high-end Jukes do get plenty of equipment, the Hyundai remains the better value option, and also comes with a longer five-year warranty.
Both the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Bayon are very closely matched in the compact crossover class – each offering customers a stylish look, relatively efficient and affordability.
While both are credible options, the Hyundai Bayon just has the edge over the Juke, with its better driving experience and greater standard equipment being enough to give it the edge.Enquire on a new Hyundai Bayon