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

Tired of big Chinese electric cars with insolent luxury!? The BYD Atto 3 compact SUV, while very well built, is simpler and cheaper. Everything about him makes us think that he will face Korean productions like Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona in Europe.

Three electric cars for Mondial

At the next Paris Motor Show to be held in Paris from October 17 to 23, the brand that promises to build your dreams (BYD = Build your Dreams) will line up three electric models. These are the big 7-seater SUV Tang, the luxurious long sedan Han EV, and the Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus) on the wheel where Maxime Fontanier was able to make some quick tests.

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

Like the Han EV, the front looks like a Kia EV6. The rear is a little too, which rather evokes for the person with the cap the Seat style. ” But it’s still quite harmonious. We can say that this car has its own personality “, he believed.

Power train

To animate the BYD Atto 3: a permanent magnet synchronous motor developed for the front wheels, with a torque of 310 Nm, a power of 150 kW (204 hp). It is the same as the first three Koreans mentioned above, minus the lower endowments.

Before spinning at its maximum speed of 160 km / h, the Chinese can shoot from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.3 s. As Maxime Fontanier was able to confirm in his quick test, where he was better by 0.2 seconds. However, it is necessary to be smarter with the accelerator to take advantage 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 adopted bladed LFP batteries. Our test journalist remembers some of them in his video: ” They fit perfectly into the chassis and offer better energy density than the lithium iron phosphate batteries used until now. “.

Add to that extra safety, weight gain, and quick recovery. 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, the e-Soul and the Kona.


Refill

On the front, on the back, on the grille, behind the logo, or hidden at the level of a rear light block: there are no rules for installing charging connectors in an electric car. This can sometimes make the use of some terminal problems, in particular the Tesla supercharger.

Which doesn’t seem to be a concern for BYD, which places them behind the right of the Han EV sedan, but in front and on the same side of the Atto 3. Near the exterior mirror, this location reminds of that. in the hatch of Renault Kangoos with nickel cadmium batteries from the early 2000s.

From the Combo CCS connector, you should not expect a charging power of more than 88 kW in direct current. It’s small if we compare these numbers to 150 kW and more that have become widespread. However, we have a less good 77 kW in the Kia e-Soul.

However, in about thirty minutes, under ideal conditions, the battery’s energy level rises from 30 to 80%. A reasonable deadline. The Chinese compact SUV also has an 11 kW AC charger to be used for domestic charging or to connect to the many 22 kW terminals standing in public spaces.

440 to 1,338 liters of trunk

The non-motorized tailgate of the Atto 3 opens a volume of 440 liters that can pass, according to the figures announced by BYD, to 1,338 l by folding the file in both parts of the bank. Although restored, these values ​​are close to the new Kia Niro EV: 475 / 1,392 l.

In the Chinese compact SUV, the sill seems too small compared to the floor level. Except that the removable part that hides the double bottom can be raised. This compartment receives a locker designed for storing charging cables as well as standard emergency and safety equipment.

We notice the hollow surfaces behind the wheel arches, which allow for example to ride a stroller folded in the width direction. No frunk under the hood. The originality of the content is not visible from the trunk. For example, you need to open a door in the back so that the presentation is clear: it is impossible to miss it.

Sit in the back

If the finish of the BYD Atto 3 is smooth, the materials are not particularly luxurious, unlike the previous Chinese cars that we presented to you recently. What does the piece that serves as the armrest on the door panels look like? There’s a big key ring, maybe.

On the other hand, the musical reference comes from this guitar whose body is formed using a loudspeaker grid. Ropes are used to keep things relatively high in the storage compartment. ” Funny! They are given “Maxime Fontanier promised to play a small piece for us, before remembering that his test time was almost here.

The round shape, the latch 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 any case. ” I really like the interior layout. “The man with the hat admitted.

The seat is high and soft in the back seats. Access to the center is facilitated by the absence of a service tunnel at floor level. The space is enough. Passengers have available ventilation nozzles, two sockets (USB + USB-C) and various storage areas.


The driver’s point of view

The thick, linear seals surrounding the doors and their frames also confirm the build quality of the BYD Atto 3 from the front.

Some will find it a little kitsch, a little clammy. At least it changes a little from what we are used to seeing », estimated the special correspondent. ” I feel like a big toy. I am glad to see this car he dares, maneuvering the ventilation nozzles along the brake discs or CD.

If the similarities with 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 easily change, for example, the power to change, the driving mode (Sport or Comfort), or even ventilation.

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


An excellent 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, the buttons to intervene in the multimedia system . Planted in the casing of the steering column, the digital instrumentation appears clear and simple.

The screen is not restricted here by an entourage that is very rich in high-end materials. It is strong, airy, efficient. All important information is clearly visible. There is no risk of mistaking between quick speed and power, contrary to what Max Freyss pointed out in testing the Seres 3 for his part (article and video to come).

Available to the 2 passengers sitting in front: electric adjustment of the comfortable seats, induction charger for the smartphone, sockets (12 V, USB and USB-C) under the floating console, 2 cupholders and the usual space storage under central armrest. , on the door trims and the glove box.

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

Little spins

There is no controlled suspension on the 18-inch wheels of the BYD Atto 3. The manufacturer did not give our tester much time to discover the engine. This did not prevent the latter from being quickly released: ” It works well, however, in Sport mode. We are responsive “.

With the light steering of a raised car, high torque and driving the front wheels: the man in the hat advises to be careful on wet roads, like all SUVs of the same configuration. Due to an average comfort damping, therefore quite flexible, the filter is considered correct.

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

And what happens if you want to stop the 1,750 kg engine immediately? ” It’s slowing down a bit! It even braked really hard, and I didn’t hit it like crazy. I expected less than that “replied the journalist who is now a great expert on electric cars in China.

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

Prices

BYD did not intend to announce the price of its 3 electric models for the French market before the Paris Motor Show. If motorists in China prove it, the Atto 3 should go on sale here before the end of 2022.

I’ll bet the price is comparable to the Hyundai Kona or Kia Niro. Which is not surprising because the level of quality of manufacture and services is very close », concluded Maxime Fontanier.

He gave an appointment in a few months, for more tests and comparisons if the 3 BYD electric cars are available in France.

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