Build Your Dreams – what more could a driver ask of his vehicle? In the BYD Atto 3, not much.
Car Reviewed: BYD ATTO 3 EV all-electric Design
It even has its own quasi-gym in the cockpit with vegan leather, two-tone upholstery, vents that look like free weights, handles that resemble barbells and a gearstick like a kettlebell.
BYD may be a little-known company in the UK, but it has been involved in the tech industry since 1995 and the automotive industry since it acquired its first car company in 2003.
If you have ever used a smartphone or iPad, its components somewhere along the line will have been made by BYD. It also makes electric buses and trucks, forklifts and is even involved in rail transit in China.
Its cars sell in a few other markets in Europe, notably Norway, but now it is making the big jump into the UK, followed by places like Spain, Portugal and Italy.
The first offering is its all-electric Atto 3 on a new platform with a new Blade battery system and the kind of confidence that will make people sit up and take notice.
It is a compact SUV on 18ins wheels with a Chinese-inspired dragon nose, electric tailgate and integrated rear spoiler.
Inside, the lovely interior in top-of-the-range Design trim has a wonderful 15.6ins screen in the middle. What makes this so different is that you can rotate it at the touch of a finger to either portrait or landscape – whichever you prefer.
It is slightly quirky but quite delightful and will also respond efficiently to voice control. ‘Hey, BYD put down the driver’s window’ – and it does!
The small but perfectly formed instrument cluster sits atop the steering wheel – oh and did I mention the guitar strings which keep things in the door buckets safe?
But what of the drive? Here the Atto comes into its own; it is rapid, smooth, silent and heroic.
Whether in Eco Normal or Sport mode, it is full of confidence.
It takes corners, curves and roundabouts in its stride, opens up beautifully on the open road and scarcely bats an eye at farm tracks, no matter how rutted.
It does not shout at you if you tend to go too fast. Instead, a very polite woman (with an American accent) tells you- ‘You are over the speed limit’.
The Atto has a range of 260 miles with charging from 6 hours overnight to 44 minutes on a fast charge.
But really, the charge is an Asian one and a clever one. For should you order one of these new electric cars, you will get it in two weeks.
BYD makes all its batteries, electric controllers, power trains and, yes, semi-conductors, so there is no need to wait for parts and no need to wait for cars.
Six pioneer dealerships are opening now for the Atto, around the UK – full of promise.
Maggie Barry is an Award winning journalist, she regularly travels in Europe and beyond to test drive cars. A former lecturer in journalism and motoring editor of Media Scotland she has written for and contributed to the Daily Record and Sunday Mail among others. She is on the panel judging the Scottish Car of the Year and Women’s World Car of the Year. She lives near Glasgow with her husband and several cars.
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