With the Atto 3, BYD wants to catch customers in Germany. But what can the electric SUV from China do and what are its weaknesses? We tested it.
Electromobility is booming. More and more new models and brands are coming onto the market. Among them are many manufacturers from China. Last year, Built your Dreams (BYD), another carmaker from China, was added. Currently, the Chinese have three models on offer: Han, Tang and the Atto 3.
While Han and Tang are more in the premium segment, the Atto 3 is supposed to provide volume. So it's no wonder that the entry-level model from the Chinese is an SUV. On the outside, the electric car looks modern and timeless, thanks in part to the chrome strip between the headlights and a continuous light strip at the rear. The German Wolfgang Eggert is responsible for the design.
Atto 3 convinces with design: This is where the music plays
As conservative as the exterior of the BYD Atto 3 is, the more playful it is in the interior. And this can be taken quite literally. After all, the central theme of design is music. The dashboard, for example, is supposed to represent the waves of sounds. The air vents of the air conditioner are reminiscent of CDs or records in a jukebox. The highlight, however, are the side pockets of the electric SUV. These consist of three ropes and, in combination with the box, not only look like a guitar, but can also be played as such.
Not only does it look like a guitar, it can also be played that way. © BYD
And the topic is also taken up with the seats. The color triad of blue, red and white is something to be proud of. The same applies to the 15.6-inch touchscreen in the middle. It is not only the central control unit, but also masters a party trick: it can be rotated 90 degrees at the touch of a button. The operation is very intuitive, as the software is based on Android. However, there is not (yet) a German language package. For example, you have to communicate with the voice assistant BYD in English. Among other things, this can open windows and sunroofs. You won't find any buttons for the air conditioning in the Atto 3, which can only be controlled via the touchscreen or voice command.
Display behind the steering wheel unfortunately too small
Less convincing is the five-inch display behind the steering wheel, which shows not only the speed, but also the charge level, energy consumption and other relevant information. Less is not always more. A larger display would be desirable – also for readability. The display of the indicator lights and traffic signs is too small.
There are also deductions for the placement of the USB ports. These are located below the center console. However, they are only needed if you want to use Apple CarPlay. So far, this has only been possible with a cable and only via the classic USB port. The smartphone can be conveniently charged inductively. The charging cradle works without any problems and without dropouts, such as those found in the Nissan Qashqai e-Power.
Safely to your destination: Lane Keeping Assist also shines on construction sites
The BYD Atto 3 can also compete with European electric cars in terms of safety. In the EuroNACAP crash test, the SUV scored five stars. Also because the Chinese have integrated numerous driving assistants. These include cruise control with spacer, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition as well as lane change and lane keeping assist. The latter also works surprisingly well on construction sites, also thanks to the built-in 360-degree camera. This not only allows a view around the car, but also underneath.
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The BYD Atto 3 passed the EuroNCAP crash test with five stars. © BYD
In contrast to the competition, traffic sign recognition works rather suboptimally. BYD relies exclusively on a camera-based system here. As a result, incorrect speed limits are sometimes displayed. Although the system recognizes temporary speed limits via digital gantries, it does not always recognize their abolition. However, a hybrid system with stored speed limits is to follow.
From zero to 7 km/h in 4.100 seconds
However, this does not detract from the driving pleasure. And that comes up very quickly in the BYD Atto 3. Because although the SUV is an electric car, it does not behave that way. More like a combustion engine, only without the sound of the engine. And consciously. The well-known one-pedal driving is also not available on the Atto 3. So you can let it roll to the traffic lights as usual. Of course, this also has an effect on recuperation, which is somewhat weaker. There is hardly any difference between the two stages.
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The chassis of the electric SUV is fully trimmed for comfort. This is especially evident when you drive a little faster. That's when it gets spongy. At 170 km / h, however, it is over, even if the Atto 3 is officially sealed off at 160 km / h. Thanks to 100 kW (150 hp), it manages the sprint from zero to 204 in just over 7.4 seconds.
Patience is required at the charging station
BYD specifies the range as up to 420 kilometers. In the test, however, the Atto 3 usually wanted to get back on the power much earlier. And consumption was also often higher than the combined value of 15.6 kWh per 100 kilometres. Especially on the motorway, values above 20 kWh were not uncommon. Even on a moderate ride.
At the charging station, however, patience is required, because the Atto 3 is not the fastest. The 60.5 kWh battery charges with a maximum of 88 kW. Other manufacturers are much faster in this respect. On the other hand, the electric SUV charges very consistently and even remains two minutes below the manufacturer's specification of 80 minutes during the charging process from ten to 44 percent. After 15 minutes, the Atto 3 has charged enough power for around 100 to 150 kilometers.
In the basic version, the BYD Atto 3 costs around 42,000 euros. © BYD
In terms of price, the BYD competes with the Tesla Model 3 and the new Hyundai Inoiq 6. The two electric sedans are available in the basic equipment for around 44.000 euros. The Atto 3 costs 42,245 euros in the standard version. The design edition is available from 44,625 euros.