BYD Atto 3 review: Chinese brand’s first UK arrival makes a strong first impression
New kid on the block BYD has hit the ground running with its all-electric family SUV, combining quirky design with a comfortable ride in the Atto 3
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.
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.
BYD Atto 3 Design long term test
Our editor-at-large John McIlroy has been living with the BYD Atto 3 as part of our long-term test fleet. Just like many UK buyers, he originally wondered how this all-electric newcomer would compare to its many established rivals. Six months after the Atto 3 arrived on his driveway, John now believes that the BYD could actually teach the competition a thing or two.
There are some apparent teething troubles with this SUV newcomer, though, with a plethora of sub-menus and some interior creaks and squeaks causing frustration. You can read the full long term test here...
For an alternative review of the BYD Atto 3, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com…
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingNew kid on the block BYD has hit the ground running with its all-electric family SUV, combining quirky design with a comfortable ride in the Atto 3
- 2Motors, performance and driveMajoring on comfort rather than sportiness, the Atto 3 is at its best around town and at a cruise
- 3Range, charging and running costsA 260-mile range and 80kW rapid charging speeds are fine, but we expect more in 2023
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Atto 3’s anonymous styling conceals a bold, funky interior packed with technology
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Qashqai-sized Atto 3 offers plenty of passenger space, but the boot could be better, given that it’s a family EV
- 6Reliability and safetyA five-star Euro NCAP rating bodes well for safety, but BYD’s servicing network has a long way to go