If you don’t care what badge your car wears, and can put up with a gimmick or two, there is a lot to like about the BYD Atto 3. It’s refined, comfortable and features a well built interior that’s bursting with technology and quirky elements, and offers a departure from the gloomy all-black cabins many other electric SUVs are sticking with.
The Atto 3 is perhaps not as polished in some areas as we’d like, and the ‘Build Your Dreams’ name stamped across the rear is probably not one of the features buyers will be quick to show off. But if you’re in the market for a family EV, the BYD ought to be on your radar.
Our choice: BYD Atto 3 Comfort
About the BYD Atto 3
You’d be forgiven for not knowing much, or indeed anything, about the BYD brand – or ‘Build Your Dreams’, to use its full name. Its parent company was founded in 1995 and BYD Auto established in 2003. Unlike other brands, BYD has always produced its own cars, although some have had very similar looks to existing models from other manufacturers.
Quick growth has seen BYD become one of China’s ‘big four’ car makers, and it was the country’s best-selling car brand in the first quarter of 2023. The Atto 3 is BYD’s first model available to order in the UK, but it’s already confirmed that the Dolphin family hatchback and Seal saloon – also fully electric cars – will be landing on British shores very soon.
Car group tests
The Atto 3 uses BYD’s latest bespoke EV underpinnings, called e-Platform 3.0. This set-up can support front, rear and four-wheel drive, along with up to 800V electrics for ultra-rapid charging. In the case of the Atto 3, though, you get more conventional recharge speeds and a single motor driving the front wheels only. But the SUV does use BYD’s own ‘blade’ battery design, which is integrated into the car’s structure and claimed to save weight and space.
The 60.5kWh battery in all Atto 3s sold in the UK is good for a claimed range of 260 miles – just shy of its key rival, the Kia Niro EV, which we pitted head-to-head against the BYD. The less expensive but much more conventional MG ZS EV is another direct competitor, offering slightly more range and boot space, while the incoming all-new Hyundai Kona Electric will certainly give the Atto 3 a run for its money.
Speaking of which, with prices starting from close to £36,500 and rising to £39,000 for a top-of-the-range model, the Atto 3 must also contend with electric family SUVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq iV.
There are no options for buyers to choose from, just five paint colours and three trim levels called Active, Comfort and Design, with very few differences between them. Standard kit on all models includes LED headlights and a rear light bar, two-zone climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels, vehicle-to-grid charging, an eight-speaker stereo, an air-purification system, rhythm-reactive ambient lighting, a panoramic roof, keyless entry & starting, electric front seats with artificial leather upholstery, and a rotating central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It’s a 12.8-inch display in Active and Comfort models, and 15.6 inches in top-spec versions.
Frequently Asked Questions
The BYD Atto 3 is a comfortable and refined electric SUV packed with excellent technology, as well as a few gimmicks that we fear may put some potential buyers off.
During our own testing of the Atto 3 on UK roads, it returned 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour, which equates to a real-world range of 212 miles – 18 per cent down on the BYD’s 260-mile official claim.
The BYD Atto 3 earned Euro NCAP’s maximum five-star crash safety rating in 2022, thanks in part to the
autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring fitted as standard.
Four outlets at existing franchise chains in Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Stockport and Glasgow currently sell the Atto 3, but BYD hopes to have 20 to 25 retailers in place across the UK by the end of 2023.
For an alternative review of the BYD Atto 3, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com…