Video test – BYD Atto 3: the Chinese electric SUV that seeks customers from Kia and Hyundai

Tired of big Chinese electric cars with unabashed luxury!? The BYD Atto 3 compact SUV, while very well made, is simpler and more affordable. Everything about him leads us to believe that he will face Korean productions such as the Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona in Europe.

Three electric cars for Mondial

At the next Paris Motor Show, held in Paris from October 17 to 23, the brand that promises to build your dreams (BYD = Build Your Dream) will present three electric models. It is the large 7-seater SUV Tang, the luxurious long sedan Han EV and the Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus), at the wheel, on which Maxime Fontanier was able to perform some quick tests.

With its footprint bounded by a rectangle of 4.46 x 1.88 m, at a height of 1.62 m, it attacks in particular the Hyundai Kona (4.21 x 1.80 x 1.57 m ) and the Kia Niro EV ( 4.42 x 1.83 x 1.57 m). More or less anecdotally, it also seems to thumb the nose of the e-Soul (4.20 x 1.80 x 1.60 m) by presenting itself as a large toy with allusions to pop music and folk.

As with the Han EV, the front looks like the Kia EV6. The bow a bit too, which rather evokes the Seat style for the man with the cap. ” But it is still quite harmonious. We can say that this vehicle has its own personality “, he believes.

Driveline

Animating the BYD Atto 3: a permanent magnet synchronous motor that develops to the front wheels, with a torque of 310 Nm, an output of 150 kW (204 hp). It is identical to that of the first three Koreans mentioned above, excluding lower endowments.

Before spinning to its maximum speed of 160 km/h, the Chinese can shoot from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. As Maxime Fontanier could confirm in his quick test, where he even did better by 0.2 seconds. However, it will be necessary to be smarter on the accelerator to make the most of the useful energy capacity of 60.48 kWh, close to the 64 kWh of the Kona, Niro and Soul Electric.

For various reasons, BYD has taken LFP batteries with blades. Our test journalist recalls some of them in his video: ” They fit perfectly into the chassis and offer better energy density than the previously used lithium iron phosphate batteries. “.

Add to that more safety, weight gain and easier repair options. According to the WLTP mixed cycle, the range of the Atto 3 is 420 km. Against 460, 452 and 484 km respectively for the new Niro EV, e-Soul and Kona.


Replenishment

In front, at the back, in the grille, behind the logo or hidden at the level of a light block on the stern: there are no rules for installing charging sockets on an electric car. This can sometimes make the use of certain terminals problematic, especially Tesla superchargers.

Which doesn’t seem to worry BYD, which places them at the rear right of the Han EV sedan, but at the front and on the same side of the Atto 3. Close to the wing mirror, this placement is reminiscent of the hatch on Renault Kangoos with nickel-cadmium batteries from the beginning of the 2000s.

From the Combo CCS plug, you should not expect a charging power of more than 88 kW in direct current. It is little if we compare these figures with the 150 kW and more which are becoming widespread. However, we are even less happy with the 77 kW from the Kia e-Soul.

Anyway, in about thirty minutes, under ideal conditions, the energy level in the battery would increase by 30 to 80%. A reasonable deadline. The Chinese compact SUV also has an 11 kW AC charger, which should be used for charging at home or to connect to the many 22 kW terminals that are in public spaces.

440 to 1,338 liters in the boot

The non-motorized tailgate of the Atto 3 opens on a volume of 440 liters, which, according to the figures provided by BYD, can pass to 1,338 l by folding down the file in two parts of the bench. Although set back, these values ​​are close to those of the new Kia Niro EV: 475 / 1,392 l.

On the Chinese compact SUV, the frame may seem a little too high in relation to the floor level. Except that the removable part that hides the double bottom can be raised. This compartment receives a cabinet designed to store charging cables as well as standard emergency and safety equipment.

We notice the hollow surfaces behind the wheel arches, which make it possible, for example, to board a pushchair folded in the width direction. No missus under the hood. The originality of the interior cannot be seen from the trunk. For example, open a door at the back so that the presentation is clear: it is impossible to miss.

Sit in the back

If the finish is nice on the BYD Atto 3, the materials are not super luxurious, unlike the previous Chinese cars that we have presented to you recently. What does the piece that acts as an armrest in the door panels look like? Maybe have a large ring spanner.

On the other hand, the musical reference comes from this guitar whose body is shaped with the speaker grill. The ropes are used to hold objects slightly higher in the storage space. ” It is fun! They are granted “promises Maxime Fontanier, who was about to play a little bit for us, just before he remembered that his probationary period was about to expire.

The circular shape that opens the door from the inside may remind some old car enthusiasts of the Citroën Ami 8. The action to be taken to release the mechanism is the same in all cases. ” I really like the interior layout. “Admits the man with the cap.

The seat is long and soft in the back seats. Access to center one is facilitated by the absence of a service tunnel at floor level. The space is sufficient. Passengers will have ventilation nozzles, two plugs (USB + USB-C) and various storage spaces at their disposal.


The driver’s point of view

The thick, lined seals that surround the doors and their frames also testify to the BYD Atto 3’s production quality up front. The originality even slides into the dashboard.

Some will find it a little kitsch, a little seafood. At least it changes a little from what we are used to seeing », assesses the specialized journalist. ” I feel like it’s a great toy. I am happy to see this car he dares, manipulate the ventilation nozzles in line with brake discs or CDs.

If the similarities to the Han EV are not necessarily obvious, the two cars share two common characteristics. First of all, the layout around the drive selector, where we find the same useful shortcuts, to quickly change, for example, the regeneration power, the driving mode (Sport or Comfort) or even the ventilation.

And then the central 15.6-inch touchscreen tablet, which can be set in portrait or landscape mode. Like Xpeng and Tesla, BYD is developing its own OS, which in its case is open to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


A very good finish for a compact SUV

The steering wheel of the BYD Atto 3 is specific, although we find the same ergonomics of the controls, with on the left those dedicated to driving aids and on the other side the buttons to intervene on the multimedia system. Planted on the steering column cabinet, the digital instrumentation appears clear and simple.

The screen is not suffocated here by an entourage too rich in high-end materials. It’s sober, airy, efficient. All important information is clearly visible. There is no risk of confusion between instant speed and power, contrary to what Max Freyss pointed out when he tried the Seres 3 for his part (article and video to come).

Available for the 2 front passengers: electric adjustment of the comfortable seats, an induction charger for smartphone, sockets (12 V, USB and USB-C) under the floating console, 2 cup holders and the usual storage compartments under the central armrest, in the door trim and in the glove compartment.

In terms of general presentation, not only is it very original, but we have a lot of different materials. For the compact vehicle category, the finish is very good. It is even slightly higher than what Hyundai and Kia offer. “, compares Maxime Fontanier.

Small spins

No controlled suspension over the 18-inch wheels of the BYD Atto 3. The manufacturer didn’t give our tester much time to discover the machine. This did not prevent the latter from quickly letting go: ” However, it works quite well in Sport mode. We have responsiveness “.

With light handling on a raised vehicle, high torque and drive through the front wheels: the man in the cap advises caution on wet roads, as with all SUVs of the same configuration. Due to a fairly typical comfort damping, therefore relatively flexible, the filtering is perceived as correct.

A slightly soft brake pedal, and the perception of difference between regenerative braking and mechanical braking when it takes over!? Maxime Fontanier finds here somewhat the same impressions as in the large BYD Han EV sedan.

And what happens when you want to urgently stop the 1,750 kg machine? ” It slows down quite a bit! It even brakes very hard and I didn’t even hit it like crazy. I expected less than that “answers the journalist, now a great connoisseur of Chinese electric cars.

also read
Video test – BYD Han EV: The Chinese electric sedan between Tesla Model 3 and Model S

Prices

BYD does not intend to announce the price of its 3 electric models for the French market too much before the Paris Motor Show. If it has already proven itself with Chinese motorists, the Atto 3 should therefore be marketed here before the end of this year 2022.

I’d bet on a price comparable to a Hyundai Kona or a Kia Niro. Which would not be surprising given the level of manufacturing quality and the services that are very close », concludes Maxime Fontanier.

He gives an appointment in a few months, for more extensive tests and comparisons, when the 3 BYD electric cars will be available in France.

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