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BYD Atto 3 (2023 - )

The Atto 3 is a funky five-door model from BYD, a company that is already getting very positive headlines.

Starting price:
£39,695

Why we love it:
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Quirky, funky interior with lots of tech
  • Good value for money
Where it could be better:
  • Not that engaging to drive
  • Some fiddly controls
  • Boot is quite small

Introduction

BYD Atto 3

Chinese electric cars are coming to the UK at a constant pace these days and the Atto 3 is a funky five-door model from BYD, a company that is already getting very positive headlines.

BYD is the world’s leading manufacturer of new energy vehicles (not just cars) and it was founded back in 1995. It is also renowned for its battery expertise with units put through some of the most rigorous testing processes on the planet to ensure durability and safety.

The Atto 3 is a front-wheel drive, C-segment, five-door model that comes in three flavours called SE, Comfort and Design (although SE isn’t available just yet).

All models feature a 60kWh Blade battery combined with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and can deliver between 260 and 351 miles between charges, dependent upon the style of driving and differing road types.

We opted for the range-topping BYD Atto 3 Design model for our test drive.

BYD Atto 3

The five-door BYD Atto 3 is a neatly designed hatchback that looks great from any angle thanks to its sleek lines, sculpted panels and dazzling 18-inch black and silver alloy wheels.

Eye-catching features include LED headlights with High Beam assist, LED daytime running lights and a rear single row LED light bar that extends the width of the car, a panoramic sunroof, aluminium roof rails and black wheel arch cladding.

Moving inside, the interior has a funky, modern and minimalist layout, but there is a wealth of tech included as standard. There is a two-tone dashboard with a rolling wave design, along with multicoloured powered front seats crafted from sustainable vegan leather and these can be heated to fend off the winter blues.

The main focal point is the large 15.6-inch touchscreen that can be rotated from portrait to landscape at the press of a button. The screen is slightly smaller at 12.8 inches on the SE and Comfort grades.

The vital driving data, such as speed and battery charge, can be viewed on a tiny five-inch tft screen behind the steering wheel. It looks really small, especially considering the size of the infotainment screen, but it does the job well enough.

On-board features include GPS navigation, an eight-inch sound system, DAB radio, Bluetooth, smartphone wireless charging along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It all works well enough, but the process can be over-complicated to access simple systems such as the climate control for which a few more physical switches would be preferable.

BYD claims the interior is gym-inspired with barbell-styled door handles, a kettlebell-style gear selector and free-weight styled air vents. Sounds a tad corny, but actually looks great.

A voice activated personal assistant can be summoned by saying “Hey BYD” and this can help with all manner of tasks such as finding radio stations and adjusting the temperature etc.

And special mention to the trio of strings just above the door pockets that resemble guitar strings and are just begging to be twanged!

On The Road

BYD Atto 3

Handling & Performance

The front-wheel drive BYD Atto 3 in high-end Design trim, as tested, features a 60.4kWh battery. With 204PS and 310Nm of torque, the car is certainly quick out the starting blocks with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 7.3 seconds and top speed of 99mph. But as with all EVs, the important figure is the driving range between charges and this vehicle can deliver a combined 260 miles, increasing to 351 miles of city driving where regenerative braking helps to boost the battery charge.

With quite light steering, the Atto 3 is simple to manoeuvre through tight city streets, but this feels less practical when faced with faster roads with more demanding twists and turns. However, the grip impresses and the car can deliver quick bursts of pace to overtake slower moving vehicles.

At higher speeds, the noise levels within the cabin become more noticeable, but generally it’s a refined place to be with the suspension set-up smoothing out most of the rougher road surfaces along the way.

There are four driving modes called Sport, Normal, Economy and Snow to suit driving conditions and preferences. In addition, there are two levels of regenerative braking, although even in its strongest setting, it won’t quite bring the car to a complete stop.

Driver visibility is good, but not great and that’s down to the sporty back-end design of the Atto 3 which results in a fairly narrow rear screen. That said; there are all manner of cameras and views to help with any obscured areas.

BYD Atto 3

Space & Practicality

The BYD Atto 3 is a neatly styled five-door family hatchback that stretches 4,455mm in length, is 1875mm wide, (2,050mm with mirrors), 1,615mm tall and it has a wheelbase of 2,720mm.

Up front there is ample space for the driver and passenger to sit comfortably and the powered driver’s seat makes finding an ideal position a simple process. But, despite being billed as a five-seater, the room in the back is a little less forgiving. A couple of adults will fit in provided the front seats are not pushed right back, but ideally this is a space for a trio of youngsters and the flat floor means the centre passenger won’t have to straddle a transmission hump.

The boot, which is accessed via a powered tailgate can swallow 440 litres of luggage or 555 litres up to the roof. This capacity increases to 1,338 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

Elsewhere, there are several storage compartments throughout the cabin, including a glovebox, a large area beneath the centre console, seat back pockets, front and rear cup holders, non-slip trays, a wireless charging pad, along with door bins.

There is a Vehicle to Load facility to power up external items such as lights if camping, and a heat pump is also standard across the line-up.

The BYD Atto 3 offers an 11kW 3-phase on-board charger for AC charging as standard on all but the SE trim and this gives a 0 to 100 per cent charge in 6 hours, 30 minutes. Alternatively, the battery can be boosted from 10 to 80 per cent in 44 minutes if plugged into a 150kW or 29 minutes for a 30 to 80 per cent charge.

Ownership

BYD Atto 3

Running Costs

At present, the BY Atto 3 is only available in two trims called Comfort, priced at £37,695 and Design, as tested, which costs £39,695. The entry-level SE grade is on its way with pricing to be announced. Our vehicle was generously equipped as standard so there were no added extras needed. 

With zero carbon emissions, owners will reap a variety of financial rewards such as being exempt from road tax, along with any Congestion Charge or Ultra Low Emission Zone fees. Sadly, these government-led incentives will be cut back or withdrawn completely from next year.

For any business drivers considering the BYD Atto 3 as a company car, just like all EVs, it has a very attractive Benefit in Kind tax rating of two per cent.

With a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, the vehicle is packed with features to protect occupants and other road users alike. On-board safety technology includes forward collision warning, lane keep assistance, lane change assist, automatic emergency braking, blind spot assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, door opening warning, along with a full suite of airbags and Isofix child seat anchors to the outer rear seats.

For added peace of mind, the BYD Atto 3 comes with a four-year, 70,000-mile standard warranty that extends to eight-years or 120,000 miles for the Blade battery pack.

And it’s clear to see just why BYD is so confident its Blade battery pack will prove reliable as it has been put through the most gruelling testing process such as being crushed, bent, overcharged by 260 per cent and heated in a furnace at 300 degrees centigrade. Remarkably, none of these tests resulted in a fire or explosion.

Verdict

BYD Atto 3

It’s difficult for a new manufacturer to make an impact on an already overcrowded market, but Chinese carmaker BYD seems to have got their tactics spot on.

We are getting a steady stream of cars from them and the vehicles are neatly designed and boast a wealth of technology as standard.

In addition, they are competitively priced for EVs and all feature one of the strongest and most tried and tested battery packs around.

The Atto 3 is not without its faults, but we welcome this newcomer to the arena where it will likely grow in popularity as the name becomes more familiar.

By Maxine Ashford
May 30, 2024

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