BYD ATTO 3 Test Drive

BYD ATTO 3 Test Drive

Stylish, well made, good value & 5 Star ANCAP rating; is it the complete EV package?

Maybe you’ve heard of BYD (Build Your Dreams) after only a year on the Australian auto scene.  Already the largest EV maker in China and having launched in Australia with the Atto 3 in 2022, the company known in full as Build Your Dreams, has proved you don’t need a cute acronym to achieve success.

 

In a few short years, they have gone from an ICE car maker, to Hybrid to full EV, cars and buses, plus one of the largest battery manufacturers in the world. Now they’re in Australia, to stay.  There are now Experience Centres in major cities around Australia, where you can  go in and sit in the car, get a feel, then order online with a few months’ till delivery time.  Service is outsourced to the MyCar group.

 

This BYD Atto 3 was the first, (real) model, and it’s soon to be followed up by the Dolphin.  On the back of this early success, BYD have announced big expansion plans for Australia, so you are going to see much more.

BYD Atto 3

It started with a visit to the BYD Experience Centre

William Street, Sydney was the exotic car dealer’s boulevard in years gone by so an interesting choice for the new BYD Experience Centre.   But visiting for the first time, like most things BYD, we pleasantly surprised.

 

First impressions of the Atto 3, their first release in Australia, it’s really nice.  Coming from a VW Tiguan, and this being our first drive of an EV, it’s about the same size, an SUV style and it would provide the same sort of practicality we had.

 

There’s currently two models, starting at $48,011 for the standard range. The long range will set you back a further $3k , so why wouldn’t you.  18 inch wheels are standard, with, by all accounts unfortunately, very ordinary tyres.  Any paint choice other than standard pearlish white, like this bold blue, will cost you a further $700.  Interestingly, no black option, it would look great in black.

 

Our Experience Centre consultant was very friendly, and knowledgeable but don’t ask him (her) to take your order or for a test drive.  You configure and order your new BYD with a $1,000 deposit at the BYD website, only then can you have a test drive.  Our consultant broke the rules and took us out for drive.  Our BYD Atto 3 review was underway.

Very smooth on the road

BYD Atto 3 rearHow does it feel?  In a word – Smooth.  First time as a passenger in an Atto 3, or any EV for that matter and we felt very comfortable, it was very quiet and very smooth.

You can feel the weight of the car and the lower centre of gravity, with the blade battery pack in the floor.  It feels like it’s just cruising along, even around the back streets of East Sydney, until you floor it and it surprisingly it leaps forward.

Now you know the EV difference.  The ability to quietly loaf around town but skip past that parking car if you need to, typifies the two faces of EV’s.  We did not get a change to travel at speed, or on winding roads but around town it was sweet.  For around town, school pick-up or with the pets jumping in and out of rear, I thinks it’s the perfect entry to the EV market and we look forward to a more comprehensive BYD Atto 3 review.

This is where it starts to divide opinions

BYD Atto 3 Review

The Interior can only be described as a funky.  Electronically rotating central screen.  Soft touch, wave dash, no choice blue on white colour scheme, with contrasting red guitar string door element.  There are already unconfirmed instances of passengers playing Smoke on the Water!  Some controls are really nice, others, like the vents, are a bit too busy, on top of the control the main screen provides.  Door handles straddle protruding speakers pods!

 

Overall, it’s spacious, light and the seats really comfortable. View out and around is excellent.  There’s a standard amount of space in the rear, with split fold down seats, but no real frunk storage.  Although the interior colour scheme was not to my taste, it seems well made, no leather here and an interesting choice for the dashboard, but on par with any other world car.

Some nice details on the outside

BYD Atto 3 MirrorIt looks smart.  More than just an AI version of the perfect SUV.  There are some nice design details on the outside (some might consider some too decorative), but the form and function are also there in abundance.

 

Front is tidy, but I’m not a fan of the matt silver, faux grill panel.  The lights and vents have those familiar modern SUV style elements.

 

It’s smarter at the rear, conventional but stylish with the current trend of the full width light panel splits top and bottom.  The full name Beyond Your Dreams on the rear hatch is polarising.  Some hate it, and are dreaming up plans to remove it, others don’t care.  We don’t really care.

 

From the side, it looks like it’s moving, a good sign for any car design, but “aero” look wheels are overly intricate.  A good package all round.  But don’t just listen to us, see what Alex Inwood from Wheels Magazine has to say in a more in-depth review.

Surprisingly, though, the Atto 3 is remarkably polished to drive. It’s built on BYD’s fresh EV-dedicated platform, and while the ride and handling isn’t going to tickle the fancy of keen drivers, it won’t disappoint.

Alex Inwood, Wheels Magazine

So there’s our first impressions and review of the BYD Atto 3.  What did we think?   We really liked this car and were going to buy one.

 

Maybe, if you compared it with a similar specification ICE car, it would be expensive at around $50k,  but not by much.

It compared very well with a replacement for the VW SUV we had, regardless of the cost of the EV battery.

As an affordable entry to the EV world, or a second car for around town, it’s an excellent choice.  ANCAP (Safety Rating) have given it 5 stars.

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