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2021 Hyundai Bayon is a subcompact crossover with an extroverted design

Hyundai is stretching the boundaries of its design language as it marches into new segments. It released a pair of dark sketches to preview a subcompact crossover named Bayon that it developed for the European market.

Although the Bayon’s full design remains under wraps, the sketches confirm that it’s not merely a Xerox copy of a bigger crossover, like the futuristic-looking Tucson. It gets a style of its own characterized by a wide air intake, thin strips of LED daytime running lights mounted relatively high on the front fascia, and three-piece headlights positioned a little lower. Out back, we see boomerang-shaped lights connected by a light bar and a black hatch.

The rest of the Bayon’s design, including its proportions, remain shrouded in darkness. We’re expecting more of a hatchback on stilts than a scaled-down Jeep Wrangler, however. It will likely be positioned as an alternative to the i20, one of the cheapest and smallest models in Hyundai’s European range, so it will be even smaller than the 159-inch-long Venue. Power will almost certainly come from a gasoline-burning three-cylinder engine.

Hyundai will launch the Bayon during the first half of 2021. It identified Europe as the model’s target market, and it didn’t reveal whether we’ll see it in the United States. When it lands, it will compete against the born-again Ford Puma and the Toyota Yaris Cross, among other models. Neither crossover is currently available in America.

What’s in a name?

Bayon brings the bayonet to mind, but Hyundai didn’t name its new soft-roader after a knife you can attach to the muzzle of a rifle. Both trace their origins to Bayonne, a picturesque city located near the Atlantic in France’s Basque Country. It’s known primarily for its ham, for its harbor, and for its historic monuments, including several centuries-old churches. What product planners may not have realized is that Bayon — written exactly the way Hyundai spells it — is also the name of a much smaller town located on the opposite end of France in Alsace.

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