New BYD Atto 2 compact electric SUV could be headed to UK

Launching in China soon as the BYD Yuan Up, this new all-electric crossover could be a potential rival to MINI Aceman and Volvo EX30

BYD is a scorching hot topic at the moment, having sold more electric cars than Tesla in the final months of 2023, and successfully launched three brand new EVs into the UK market in less than a year: the Atto 3 family SUV, Dolphin hatchback and Seal saloon.

But BYD has even more models already on sale in its home market, and we think the latest addition to the Chinese goliath’s line-up is more than likely to make its way to UK shores in time, with potential to become a big-seller for the brand.

It’s called the BYD Yuan Up: a small all-electric SUV and the little brother to the Atto 3 we mentioned, which is sold in China as the Yuan Plus. That’s why we suspect it could be badged in Britain and Europe as the BYD Atto 2.

Whatever you want to call it, the chunky-looking EV would bridge the gap between the Dolphin and Atto 3 nicely. If the same was true for pricing, the Atto 2 could start in the region of £30,000, undercutting potential rivals like the MINI Aceman, Jeep Avenger and Volvo EX30, putting in the crosshairs of the forthcoming Vauxhall Frontera EV. 

The first images of the BYD were shared on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which reveal a real mish-mash of design elements from the brand’s own line-up and other SUVs across the market. For instance the flowing headlight units and black bar with silver trim is very BYD-like, however, the blocks on the side sills remind us of Citroen’s trademark ‘Airbumps’. 

The tall roofline, floating roof design and bluff rear end design gives the BYD a similar look to a Citroen C5 Aircross, while the complex, intertwined tail-light arrangement is an element pinched from the BYD Dolphin. Other details we can see include flush door handles, chiselled front bumper with large air vents and short overhangs at the front and rear.

The interior design is far more conventional than the refreshingly wacky cabin of the Atto 3. At its heart is a floating touchscreen that likely boasts the some rotating party trick as the Atto 3 and Seal’s displays, while behind the steering wheel is a sizable digital driver’s display. The centre console gets a set of grab handles, inspired by 4x4 SUVs like the Ford Bronco, although the crystal gear selector is a more BMW-inspired design feature. 

We only have very basic technical details about the five-seater SUV at this stage, which surfaced online after being published by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) as part of the homologation process every car must go through in order to be sold there. 

According to the MIIT filing, the BYD measures 4,310mm long, 1,830mm wide and 1,675mm tall, and has a 2,620mm wheelbase – similar dimensions to another possible rival, the Smart #1. The filing also confirms power outputs of 94bhp and 174bhp from the car’s electric motor, and the use of the same lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery technology found in the Atto 3 and Dolphin. 

Both cars use BYD’s latest electric car architecture called the e-Platform 3.0 and its ‘Blade’ battery design, where the cells are integrated into the car’s structure, and we’re all but certain the same technology is what underpins the Yuan Up/Atto 2. Range figures and exact battery capacities are yet to be confirmed though.

While we await news about the Atto 2 coming to Europe, the next two models from BYD confirmed for the UK are the Seal U – a Qashqai-sized SUV that will be available with plug-in hybrid power in Britain – followed by a mysterious new EV due to be revealed later this year.

Click here to find out what happened when we lived with a BYD Atto 3 Design for six months...

News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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