Build Your Dreams, or BYD for short, is probably not the first brand you think of when the thought of electric vehicles enters your brain, but the 2023 Atto 3 Extended Range, at just over $51,000 plus on-roads, should at least be on your shopping list.
Built by the third largest car maker in China, it’s a name that might be newish to the local market, but it’s one that you’re definitely going to see more of. That’s especially so following the introduction of their Seal and Dolphin models.
The latter is Australia’s most affordable EV, by just $100. Now back to the car at hand. The BYD Atto 3 is easy to drive, roomy, and comfortable. Offered only in front-wheel drive, it has a single electric motor that produces 150kW and 310Nm.
That’s the same whether you choose Standard or Extended Range. Claimed range in the version we’re testing here is 480km. It comes in five colours; Ski White, Parkour Red, Boulder Grey, Surf Blue and Forest Green. It’s not complicated.
For what it’s worth, that’s one of BYD’s unique selling points. It also uses blade battery technology. In simple terms, they’re supposed to be stronger and more reliable than traditional automotive batteries.
Inside, the driver and passenger sit in sporty-looking seats. They’re a nice blend of support and long-haul comfort. There’s a faux-leather wrapped steering wheel, and plenty of storage, with dual cup holders and space beneath the central tunnel.
It does feature what look like bass guitar strings on the door pockets. They will actually hold a drink bottle, and is just another thing that makes the the BYD Atto 3 unique, or quirky, almost kooky. There’s a decent central cubby for storage.
You’ll also find dual USB ports (one of each variety), as well as a wireless phone charger. Weirdly, Apple CarPlay is wired and Android Auto is wireless. Everything feels surprisingly good quality despite a heavy use of synthetic materials.
The 8-speaker sound system is decent, with DAB+ digital radio, voice assist, navigation and Bluetooth. Couple that with three-tone trim, a massive panoramic sunroof, and some LED ambient lighting, and you’ve got an interior that feels quite fun, especially at night.
The compact instrument display in front of the driver is simple but effective. Digital speed and a range of trip computer options are prominent and easy to read. The 12.8-inch infotainment display is impressive, easy to use and features large icons.
Climate controls are located at the base of the screen, making it easy to change your temp on the move. The navigation system, which likes to find non-existent speed cameras in school zones, and warn you about them, can be annoying.
The BYD Atto 3 has a 5-star ANCAP and raft of safety tech, including autonomous emergency braking, lane departure and blind spot assist, front and rear sensors, adaptive cruise control, a surround view camera and tyre pressure monitoring.
Boot space is a reasonable 440-litres, and with two levels of floor, you can maximise the luggage space. Dropping the second row seats gives you 1,340-litres of storage. There’s no spare tyre though, so prepare to make do with a compressor and a can of messy goo.
In another one of those odd touches, there’s a power board in the boot, giving you the option to charge a laptop, or light. Speaking of charging, on a 7kW AC wall box, a full charge can be achieved in around 12 hours.
DC fast charging for the Extended Range model (at 80kW) sees it reaching 100 per cent in about 50 minutes. On the road, the ride and handling are good, but won’t blow your mind. A smooth, quiet and comfortable vehicle, it’s a good daily driver.
Like all electric cars, it jumps away from traffic lights faster than average vehicles, and it does it silently. It’s capable of spinning the front wheels from a standing start, and that’s partially a result of the amount of power on offer from the electric motor.
Standard tyres don’t really help that cause either. If there’s a downside to the BYD Atto 3, it’s that at pace, it tends to feel quite floaty, which you get used to, but it’s oddly a little unnerving at the same time.
The 2023 BYD Atto 3 also comes with one of the weirdest warranty setups on earth. Officially, it’s covered by a 6-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 12 months roadside assist – but it’s far more technical than that – read on.
The electric motor, high-voltage assembly and motor controller are supported by an 8-year or 160,000km warranty. The lights, tyre pressure monitoring module, suspension and ball joints; 4-years or 100,000km.
We’re not done yet, the 12V battery, one-year or 12,000km. The infotainment system, shock absorbers, wheel bearings, USB charging ports and AC/DC charging port assembly; 3-years or 60,000km. Oh, and there’s two service plans.
You can find out more about the 2023 BYD Atto 3 on their website. If you’re interested in buying one and need finance, talk to CreditOne. What also makes the BYD Atto 3 an interesting prospect is the fact it’s exempt from fringe benefits tax.
You also don’t have to pay GST on the purchase price (an instant saving), if you take out a novated lease. To learn more, visit Novated Lease Australia.
Our test vehicle was provided by BYD Automotive Australia for review purposes. Due to some technical issues, we’re using supplied images.