Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

BYD ATTO 3 Review

The BYD ATTO 3 – a new car and a new car brand name to many UK motorists – is a spacious family SUV with a 260-mile driving range, a competitive price, and it’s good to drive.

  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
  • BYD ATTO 3
Green Car Guide Rating: 8/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:    BYD ATTO 3
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 260 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   88 kW

Summary

  • BYD ATTO 3 is a good all-round family SUV
  • Driving range of 260 miles is better than many rivals
  • Practical size
  • Competitive price

Background

Many car buyers in the UK won’t have heard of BYD, but it’s a very interesting organisation. BYD was founded in China in 1995 with 20 employees as a pioneer in battery technology. Just 28 years later it’s one of China’s largest privately-owned enterprises with more than 230,000 employees over six continents. BYD has an impressive mission: to change the world by creating a complete, clean-energy ecosystem that reduces the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. The company has pure electric buses driving in over 20 countries and in 100 major European cities, but no mainstream BYD car has been on sale in the UK so far – however that’s about to change with the arrival of the BYD ATTO 3. In case you’re wondering, the ATTO 3 takes its name from an attosecond, which is a very short period of time.

BYD ATTO 3BYD ATTO 3

Design & Engineering

One of the key features of the BYD ATTO 3 is its 60.48 kWh LFP ‘Blade’ Battery, which BYD claims sets new standards in battery safety, energy density and space utilisation. This powers a 204 PS electric motor which drives the front wheels.

The BYD ATTO 3 is an SUV that’s a practical size for a family, with a 440-litre boot, or 1,338-litres with the rear seats folded down. The interior has detailed design elements based on the concept of sports and fitness.

The interior door handles are an unusual circular shape positioned high up on the door trim; once you know where they are, they’re actually in quite a convenient place.

The car has badging saying BYD, BYD Design, and Build Your Dreams (this is what BYD stands for), but it doesn’t feature the model name of ATTO 3 anywhere.

BYD ATTO 3BYD ATTO 3

BYD ATTO 3 Driving Experience

Many motorists may be unsure about buying an electric car from a Chinese brand that they’ve never heard of, and may be concerned about the driving experience, so let’s address this head-on: the BYD ATTO 3 is good to drive.

One of the highlights is the comfortable ride quality – although there is a slight pay-off with a lack of the normal tight body control that is typical of most EVs through corners. Then you’ve got the responsive acceleration thanks to the instant torque. And there’s refinement thanks to the absence of a noisy petrol or diesel engine, along with near-silence, although there’s a slight synthesised noise when you’re driving, which, unlike most other EVs, doesn’t appear to be linked to inputs on the accelerator.

And another feature that is common to many EVs is that the ATTO 3 is easy to drive. This is particularly of benefit around town, but the car is also a very competent and comfortable motorway cruiser.

Although the ATTO 3 is an ‘SUV’ (or maybe a large family hatchback), it’s only front-wheel drive; in common with most front-wheel drive EVs, there’s always the risk of wheelspin from standstill in the wet thanks to all the torque.

There’s a choice of three drive modes: Eco, Normal and Sport (and a separate button for snow) and the best thing is that – unlike most cars – the ATTO 3 stays in the same drive mode that you’ve selected next time you start the car, which saves you having to go through the selection process all over again.

There’s a gear selector that you can actually move – unlike an increasing number of EVs, which just have buttons or switches – and under the gear selector there’s a button marked with an electric flash symbol which allows you to select standard or high brake regeneration. Like the drive mode, the regen level that you’ve selected is retained next time you start the car.

There were no issues with lane departure warning interfering with the steering – which is unusual and very welcome.

The ATTO 3 has a party trick. It has a large 12.8″ touchscreen (or an even larger 15.6″ touchscreen in top of the range ‘Design’ spec), and at the touch of a button on the screen or steering wheel – or on your spoken command – the touchscreen rotates from its landscape format to a portrait format. This is an interesting feature but we’re not too sure of the benefit, as the landscape format was preferable.

The touchscreen has a permanent Apple CarPlay button, which is much better than having to delve into menus to display information from your phone. There are no separate heating and ventilation controls, so when your phone is projecting on to the screen, you lose the ability to easily control the heating and ventilation. And there are a few hidden-away controls – if you want to view these, you need to swipe the touchscreen. Perhaps the most hidden-away feature is the USB socket, which is well and truly hidden under the centre console.

There’s a small driver’s display screen that sits on top of the steering column, and it moves with the steering column when you adjust it. Perhaps it’s just us, but this display appears to be on a slight angle rather than being level.

A bit more space for the driver’s legs would be welcome, as your left knee can end up hitting the centre console and your right knee can end up hitting the driver’s door handle.

BYD ATTO 3BYD ATTO 3

BYD ATTO 3 Electric Range and Charging

The BYD ATTO 3 has a WLTP combined electric driving range of 260 miles, which is good for this size of car in this price bracket. But what was even better, and unusual, is that the car appeared to be averaging the same 260 miles in real-world driving. The ATTO 3 comes with a heat pump as standard, which should minimise any loss to the range in cold weather.

The ATTO 3 has a maximum rapid charging rate of 88 kW. BYD quotes a time of 29 minutes to charge from 30%-80% at a rapid DC charger, and 44 minutes for a 10%-80% charge. Interestingly, the company also quotes a time of 80 minutes to charge from 0%-100% at a rapid DC charger.

A 7 kW 1-phase AC charger should give a charge of 0%-100% in 9 hours 42 minutes, and 6 hours 30 minutes for a 0%-100% charge on an 11 kW 3-phase AC charger (11 kW charging isn’t available on the Active trim level).

How to charge an electric car

BYD ATTO 3BYD ATTO 3

Price And Model Range

The BYD ATTO 3 starts at £36,490 for the entry-level Active model, rising to £36,990 for Comfort trim, and £38,990 for the top-of-the-range Design model.

Prices and specifications correct at time of review

BYD ATTO 3BYD ATTO 3

Conclusion

If you have any concerns about what it’s like to drive an electric car from a Chinese brand that you’ve not heard of, then our experience of the BYD ATTO 3 should reassure you. It’s perfectly good to drive – with very comfortable ride quality in particular, the whole package is a practical size for a family car, and it’s competitively priced. Visually the ATTO 3 looks similar overall to other cars in this sector; based on the evolving styling of cars from China, we’d expect the design to become more targeted at European tastes with the next iteration. But it’s probably the battery that makes the ATTO 3 stand out. Although it doesn’t charge particularly rapidly (with an 88 kW maximum rapid charging rate), the official range of 260 miles is better than many rivals in this segment and at this price point. Of course it shouldn’t be a surprise that the battery is impressive, because battery technology is the core USP of BYD. The BYD ATTO 3 is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.

Car facts and figures BYD ATTO 3 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 260 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 3.98 miles/kWh / 156 Wh/km
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): 2%
  • Price:   From £36,490
  • Insurance group:   TBC
  • Power:   204 PS
  • Torque:   310 Nm
  • Max speed:   99 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   7.3 seconds
  • Weight:   1,750 kg
  • Towing capacity: TBC
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor