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BYD Atto 3 2023 review: Extended Range

  • DrivetrainPermanent magnet synchronous motor / FWD
  • Battery capacity60kWh
  • Battery typelithium iron phosphate
  • Range420km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 Combo CCS
  • DC charge rate80kW
  • AC charge rate7.0kW
  • Motor output150kW/310Nm
  • Efficiency16kWh/100km
Complete Guide to BYD Atto 3

When I first saw a 'Build Your Dreams' car I wasn't sure I was looking at the model name or the car brand. I remember watching it pass me in the city and craning my neck to make sure I did, in fact, read the name correctly.

Having your car brand called 'Build Your Dreams' was always going to be a hard one to live up to, however, BYD has managed to defy a lot of expectations with the Atto 3 Extended Range.

Especially by giving it a longer driving range (hurrah) and competitive price tag. Both of which are important factors, especially given it's well-known rivals, the MG ZS EV Long Range and Nissan Leaf e+.

So what makes it stand out? I've been driving it for the last week with my family of three to find out.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

There's something appealing about BYD's simple and straightforward marketing and purchasing strategy - what you see, is what you get.

There are only two models to choose from, the Standard Range and, our model, the Extended Range. As the name suggests, our model has the longer driving range but there's not that much difference in the specifications between the two outside of that.

One colour - 'Ski White' - is no cost, while 'Parkour Red', 'Surf Blue', 'Boulder Grey' and 'Forest Green' cost $700 extra.

You do get a decent number of features for your cash, like heated front seats, electric front seats, synthetic three-tone leather trims, adjustable ambient lighting and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Image: Glen Sullivan) You do get a decent number of features for your cash, like heated front seats, electric front seats, synthetic three-tone leather trims, adjustable ambient lighting and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Our model will now cost $51,011 to purchase (before on-road costs), that's a $3630 price hike since the start of the year! Even with the new price, it's more affordable than its nearest rivals with the MG priced at $55,990 and the Leaf e+ at $61,490.

However, you do get a decent number of features for your cash, like heated front seats, electric front seats, a panoramic sunroof, synthetic three-tone leather trims, adjustable ambient lighting, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and some decent tech (more on that later).

Powered tailgate and 'lock charging port' function. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Powered tailgate and 'lock charging port' function. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

All external lights are LEDs, with headlights having an automatic function and there are two levels of regenerative braking to choose from.

There are some great practical features, too, like a darkened headliner, powered tailgate and 'lock charging port' function (in case you need to leave you car while it's on charge).

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

The exterior is quite understated and you might not necessarily pick this out as being an EV at first glance. It has a nice-looking profile that immediately identifies it as a medium SUV and it should appeal to owners who want something that looks smart but won't stand out on the road.

There are some cool design elements like the textured chrome panelling on the C-pillar and bonnet, which enhances the BYD badging. The LED strip lighting for the daytime running lights and tail-lights do lean more towards the futuristic vibe that EVs usually showcase.

It has a nice-looking profile that immediately identifies it as a medium SUV. (Image: Glen Sullivan) It has a nice-looking profile that immediately identifies it as a medium SUV. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The interior is where the fun has been had but it's likely to be divisive. The three-tone synthetic leather trims have some pizzazz but not everyone will like the black, white and navy combo.

That said, I like the contrasting red detailing on the piping, stitching and elastic door pocket cords.

The LED strip lighting for the daytime running lights and tail-lights do lean more towards the futuristic vibe that EVs usually showcase. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The LED strip lighting for the daytime running lights and tail-lights do lean more towards the futuristic vibe that EVs usually showcase. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The curvy dashboard features a white panel that looks like a flexed muscle (and not in a Magic Mike way!). The air vents remind me of the Echo Base on planet Hoth in Star Wars, which will always be cool to me, but my husband thinks they look like stacked drink coasters.

The rotary door handles are a total vibe and the adjustable ambient lighting manages to tie it all together but while it's great that BYD has had fun in here, not all of it lands for me.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

As soon as you slide in, you're pleasantly surprised by how roomy it feels. I have plenty of leg- and headroom in both rows for my 168cm (5'6") height. Which is impressive given the massive panoramic sunroof.

Both front seats are heated and electric with the driver's side sporting a six-way adjustment, while the passenger is only four-way.

However, due to the sports-like seat style, the headrests are fixed which may annoy taller drivers. There is no lumbar support either and, trust me, you'll notice it on a longer trip. Ouch.

Up front, the individual storage is good with an extra deep middle console and a shelf that sits underneath the 'e-shifter'. Plus, there is a glove box and a handy utility tray that houses the wireless charging pad.

The back seat is very comfortable and individual storage is adequate for the odd passenger with two map pockets and four device pockets available.

  • 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Interior 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Interior
  • 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Interior 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Interior

The drink bottle holders and cupholders (two in each row) are a tad skinny, though, and two regular-sized takeaway coffee cups will overlap at the lid.

Charging options are good throughout with each row getting an USB-A and USB-C port, the front also gets a 12-volt socket.

However, the ports are hidden in the shelf of the middle console and I'd prefer to have the media port up top as it's wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The 12.8-inch touchscreen multimedia system looks massive on the pared back dashboard and it rotates, allowing you to choose portrait or landscape mode. However, this function is disabled while using Apple CarPlay.

360-degree view camera system. (Image: Glen Sullivan) 360-degree view camera system. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The system is pretty simple to use and the graphics are clear but a lot of functions are buried in sub-menus. Like the heated seat function. I honestly kept forgetting it had them.

I like to drive with the headlights on, as a defensive driving technique, but that dims the screen during the day so much you can't really see it.

The Dirac sound system with eight speakers is sufficient but I noticed the sound quality on my calls was a bit tinny.

The 5.0-inch digital instrument panel's positioning on the steering wheel means you don't miss having a head-up display but the alignment is off by a millimetre or so. Just enough to annoy someone with mild OCD.

  • 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Boot 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Boot
  • 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Boot 2023 NYD Atto 3 EV Long Range I Boot

The boot space is the highlight for me, though, with its 440L of capacity. You can bump that up to 1340L with the rear seats folded and the rear seats have a 40/60 split-fold.

You'll be making do with a puncture repair kit as there isn't a spare tyre but the powered tailgate was super handy this week on my grocery run.

Curiously, there is no 'frunk' storage, despite there being plenty of room for one.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor?

The Atto 3 Extended Range is a full EV with a single motor powered by a 60.48kWh lithium-ion blade battery. It is a front-wheel drive and has a maximum power output of 150kW and 310Nm of torque.

The Atto 3 Extended Range is a full EV with a single motor powered by a 60.48kWh lithium-ion blade battery. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Atto 3 Extended Range is a full EV with a single motor powered by a 60.48kWh lithium-ion blade battery. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

So, it’s not the most powerful on the market but will certainly get you from A to B with ease and you can go from 0-100km/h in just 7.3 seconds.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time?

Let’s talk charging. The Atto 3 has a Type 2 Combo CCS charging port and the on-board DC charger has up to 80kW of capacity.

What does that mean? Well, if you were to plug it in at home on a 7.0kW AC charger, you'd be able to go from flat to a full charge in roughly 10 hours.

Plug it into a 50kW fast charger, and you'd see that time drop to around one hour to get from 10 to 80 per cent charge. However, that capacity means it can't accept the faster 350kW charging speeds on ultra-fast chargers.

The Atto 3 has a Type 2 Combo CCS charging port and the on-board DC charger has up to 80kW of capacity. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Atto 3 has a Type 2 Combo CCS charging port and the on-board DC charger has up to 80kW of capacity. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The official energy consumption is 16kWh/100km and my on-board figure was 14.7kWh.

It has an official driving range of 480km NEDC (420km WLTP), which is better than some on the market but I got major range anxiety this week!

It feels like it chews through its power. Since it's school holidays, I’ve been doing mostly longer open-road drives and have had to charge it three times already! Over three road trips, I've averaged a little over 200km of driving and saw my percentage go from 100 down to an average of 34 per cent at the end of each trip. 

Driving – What's it like to drive?

The driving lets this down for me. It's not as zippy as other EVs I've sampled and can even feel a bit sluggish when you accelerate from a full stop. However, it has enough kick for open-road driving, if you're desperate.

Desperate is the key word, though, because this is a total city-slicker. Around town, it handles itself well in tight streets and corners (that 11m turning circle is a charm) but isn't as confidently placed on the road at higher speeds.

And if you happen to be driving on the open-road on a blustery day, it's no fun at all. It shifts and squirms in the lane, with the cabin noise rising to din levels.

The Atto 3 earns back a couple of points for being stupidly easy to park. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Atto 3 earns back a couple of points for being stupidly easy to park. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Ride comfort is generally good with suspension that feels cushioned but not floaty around the city. Different story on the open-road!

The controls and e-shifter are all well-placed in the middle console but I'd prefer the start-button to be located somewhere else. I mistook it for the ‘Park’ button a few times, which annoyed me.

The regenerative braking can be adjusted to two levels, low and high. Even on the highest setting, it doesn’t have a big physical presence but there's enough to know it's working.

The Atto 3 earns back a couple of points for being stupidly easy to park. The 360-degree view camera system is super clear and I didn’t have to be too choosy with car spaces either because of its size.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

This has a good list of safety features coming as standard, like blind-spot monitoring, lane departure alert, lane keeping aids, rear cross-traffic alert and braking, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, 360-degree view camera system, as well as front and rear parking sensors.

It has autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning and features car, pedestrian, cyclist and junction turning assistance. It's operational from 4.0-85km/h (up to 150km/h for car detection).

The Atto 3 was awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2022 and has seven airbags, including a front centre airbag.

If you have a couple of kids, you’ll like the ISOFIX child seat mounts on the rear outboard seats and three top tethers, but two seats will fit best. 

Curiously, there is evidence of ISOFIX mounts on the front passenger seat which need to be removed for our market, instead of just being 'disabled'.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

BYD backtracked from its original warranty launch offer of seven years/unlimited km and the Atto 3 now comes with a six-year/150,000km main warranty.

But the battery has an eight-year/160,000km warranty, which is more in line with the market.

You can choose between two servicing plans – 'Light’ for those who do under 12,000km per year and a ‘Standard’ plan for those who do more. 

Given my open-road and charging experience, I'd say it's a good bet you'll be on the light plan.

On the light plan, services are capped at $189 per year for five-years or up to 60,000km – whichever occurs first.

On the standard plan, which spans eight-years or up to 160,000km, you can expect to pay an average of $299 per service. 

Both plans are fairly affordable but the recommended servicing intervals are every 12 months/20,000 which is a term you often see on a fuel-based car, not an EV.

  • DrivetrainPermanent magnet synchronous motor / FWD
  • Battery capacity60kWh
  • Battery typelithium iron phosphate
  • Range420km (WLTP)
  • Plug TypeType 2 Combo CCS
  • DC charge rate80kW
  • AC charge rate7.0kW
  • Motor output150kW/310Nm
  • Efficiency16kWh/100km
Complete Guide to BYD Atto 3

Like its interior design, you may find the BYD Atto 3 Extended Range to be a divisive experience. On the one hand, I like how well it handles in the city and the playful design.

The car feels roomy and the boot is a good size but this is not an open-roader. If you plan on doing weekend escapes in this, think again. This is a car that likes the city and will complain if you venture outside of its limits.

I do like the affordable price tag, considering it's an EV, and the features you get but that open-road ride needs improvement.

$51,011

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

3.3/5
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