BYD Atto 3 long term test: report 2

Can an unfamiliar car brand show established names a thing or two when it comes to comfortable, practical and cost-effective electric motoring? We're finding out...

BYD Atto 3 Long Term contemplative

The car BYD Atto 3 Run by Chris Haining, sub-editor

Why it’s here To find out whether an unfamiliar brand can show established names a thing or two when it comes to comfortable, practical and cost-effective electric motoring.

Needs to Cope with a long motorway commute, accommodate an active lifestyle and be easy to live with day to day

Mileage 1765 List price £38,990 Target Price £38,990 Price as tested £38,990 Official range 260 miles Test range 200-234 miles

2 August 2023 – A matter of taste

Imagine going on popular TV cooking show Masterchef and presenting the judges with a toasted cheese sandwich. That’s kind of what’s happened with the BYD Atto 3. To stand out among the culinary giants, a dish has to be something out of the ordinary, especially when the talented Kia Niro EV and Smart #1 are the competing cooks, and, at first glance, the delicacies they’ve prepared look a bit more polished and mouth-watering than the Atto 3’s grilled bread and Red Leicester.

BYD Atto 3 Long Term guitar strings

Perhaps, though, as a chef with relatively little experience in the UK electric car kitchen, BYD was wise not to be too ambitious with presentation. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it; it’s perhaps a little more derivative than the Niro EV and #1, with hints of Cupra Born in the trim aft of the rear  windows, a silhouette that recalls the Jaguar E-Pace and full-width rear lights with a Mercedes-Benz EQC flavour, but it’s nothing you’d look at in disgust and have the waiter send back. In fact, I quite like how understated it is. But then I really do enjoy a cheese toastie.

The thing is, though, BYD seems to have much more imagination when it comes to fillings. In fact, inside, the Atto 3 couldn’t be more different from what rivals serve up. You notice it before you take a seat, with items in the door pockets secured not by solid plastic, but guitar-like strings, on which one can almost play Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water.

BYD Atto 3 Long Term kettle bell

Elsewhere, because I’m more at home eating baked goods than pumping iron, the interior’s ‘gymnasium’ theme is a little lost on me; I reckon the gear selector looks less like a kettle-bell handle and more like a airliner’s throttle, but the air vents, cast in cold, solid metal (and supposed to look like dumbbells), feel fantastic to touch.

Similarly, the squidgy, off-white fabric that swaddles much of the dashboard feels great on my fingertips, even if it looks a bit like the sinew you might find when slicing a steak. But, hey, what could be better to put in a grilled sandwich?

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