On the occasion of the Paris Motor Show 2022, Business News tested the two flagship models of the Chinese brand Build Your Dreams (BYD), namely the large 4×4 SUV Tang and the long sports sedan Han. Here are our impressions.
It was in Paris, near the Porte de Versailles, that we tested the electric Tong. A very impressive 4×4 by its appearance. If the model is known in Tunisia since it has been distributed by Helios Cars for three years at a price of 149,900 dinars, its electric counterpart is still slow to penetrate our market. A matter of time, a few months at most, we’re assured by BYD officials we met at the show.
From the outside, the 4×4 is not very original and goes (almost) unnoticed among the various large SUVs circulating in Tunisia, especially Chinese ones. BYD would benefit from being creative for its Tang, just as it did for its Han model, a true automotive gem.
Inside, we completely change the universe. The interior is worthy of the biggest European or Japanese brands. High-quality leather, materials that are pleasant to the touch, an unrivaled finish, an impressive tablet (a little too much, according to the representative of a competing European brand) in the center of the dashboard and even a camera on the inside of the cabin that allows all passengers to make videos or video calls.
The vehicle has 31-colour ambient lighting throughout the cabin. A premium sound system with twelve speakers.
With its seven seats and a huge cargo space of 1655 liters behind the front seats (630 liters with the seats not folded down), the Tang offers extraordinary possibilities for group trips by bringing all the equipment.
As the representative of the brand, present with us at the test drive, explains to us, Tang is sold with all available options. The only choices offered to customers are the colors and nothing else. It has everything in series! it changes us from other brands that offer options in the catalog with prices that can increase the final price by 50% or more.
Let’s get to the point, how does the Tang behave on the road? The electric model offered is, like all other electric cars, silent.
The road grip is light, and the driver has two options for driving, sporty and standard. It changes the sensitivity of the accelerator and brake. BYD Real-Time Electric All-Wheel Drive automatically switches between two modes: Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) for better fuel efficiency and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) for better traction.
It should be pointed out that the chassis is German and includes an all-aluminum independent front and rear suspension system.
If there is nothing to say about the stability, we are amazed by the acceleration of the machine. It goes from 0 to 100 in 4.6 seconds.
Such acceleration requires good braking, and here too the Chinese brand has chosen European technology. Tang has a braking system made by German Bosch and calipers made by Italian Brembo, giving a braking distance of 36m from 100 km/h to 0 km/h.
What about the battery? Electricity is still very timid in Tunisia, despite the free customs duties announced in the Finance Law from 2022. Customers are wondering about reliability and above all about charging points.
What you should know is that Tang is sold with a charging station that can be installed in the garage or parking lot of your home or business.
According to the manufacturer, its batteries have passed a series of extreme tests under strict conditions, making it one of the safest batteries in the world. BYD is the first car manufacturer in the world to have comprehensive expertise in three key electric vehicle technologies: batteries, electric motors and electronic controls.
If you have another home, you will have to provide another charging station and it will cost between €1500 and €2000, explains the BYD representative who was present at the test drive. For Tunisia, we are not there yet, the legislature and Steg (which has the monopoly on the sale of electricity) are not yet ready.
Specifically, according to the catalog, the electric Tang has a range of 400 kilometers. We can therefore easily make a Tunis-Gafsa or a round trip Tunis Sousse. Once Tunisia gets enough charging stations, it would be an excellent investment because electric cars do not require regular maintenance (engine oil changes, etc.) and only consumables need to be changed (brakes, shock absorbers, etc.).
After all this is spread out, what about the after sales service and warranty? Can we trust a hitherto unknown Chinese brand in Tunisia and is its Tunisian dealer ready?
According to the explanations from the French representative of BYD, Tang is guaranteed for five years. Its batteries have an eight-year warranty.
The Tunisian dealer, Helios Cars (owned by Rafik Ben Ayed), enjoys a good reputation and has brought back former competition executives who have good press in the Tunisian market.
The question of the Chinese car is back? According to what we observed at the Mondial de l’auto, and according to the observations of various specialized journalists, BYD does not really look like other Chinese manufacturers. Far from there.
To recommend or advise against a brand, we systematically go to its Euro Ncap tests and check its presence in the European market.
It is clear that BYD’s direct competitors, namely Haval and Chery, are not present in a large part of Europe and do not appear in the draconian tests of Euro Ncap! What to wonder what they are doing in Tunisia and how they were able to penetrate our market.
BYD, on the other hand, is at the top of the Euro Ncap chart and some of its models have exactly the same 5 stars as a few from Mercedes and BMW. As for the prices, they are very low and beat European brands without a doubt.
From this observation, easily verifiable, there is no picture! BYD may be Chinese and “made in China” may have a bad press in Tunisia, this brand is the exception and undeniably proves to be one of the best quality/price ratios on the market.