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 being very well made, is simpler and more affordable. Everything about him lets us think that he is coming to face Korean productions like the Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona in Europe.

Three electric cars for the 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. It’s about gros SUV 7 places Tangof the luxurious long sedan Han EVand of Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus) at the wheel of which Maxime Fontanier was able to carry out some quick tests.

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

As with the Han EV, the front looks like a Let’s EV6. The stern a little too, which rather evokes for the man with the cap the Seat style. ” But it’s still quite harmonious. We can say that this vehicle has its own personality “, he believes.

Powertrain

To animate the BYD Atto 3: a permanent magnet synchronous motor which develops for the front wheels, with a torque of 310 Nm, a power of 150 kW (204 hp). It is identical to that of the first three Koreans mentioned above, excluding lower endowments.

Before spinning to its maximum speed of 160 km / h, the Chinese can shoot down the 0 to 100 km / h in 7.3 s. As Maxime Fontanier was able to confirm in his quick test, during which he even did better by 0.2 seconds. However, it will be necessary to be wiser on the accelerator to make the most 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 has adopted bladed LFP batteries. Our test journalist recalls some of them in his video: “ They fit perfectly into the chassis and offer better energy density than the lithium iron phosphate batteries used so far. ».

Add to that more safety, weight gain, and easier repairability. 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.


Recharge

At the front, at the rear, in the grille, behind the logo, or hidden at the level of a lighting unit at the stern: there are no rules for installing charging connectors on an electric car. This can sometimes make the use of certain terminals problematic, in particular Tesla superchargers.

Which does not seem to be a concern for BYD, which places them at the rear right on the Han EV sedan, but at the front and on the same side on the Atto 3. Close to the exterior mirror, this location is reminiscent of that of the hatch on Renault Kangoos with nickel cadmium batteries from the early 2000s.

From the Combo CCS connector, we should not expect a charging power greater than 88 kW in direct current. It is little if we compare these figures with the 150 kW and more which are becoming widespread. However, we have even less good with the 77 kW of the Kia e-Soul.

Anyway, in about thirty minutes, under ideal conditions, the energy level in the battery would rise by 30 to 80%. A reasonable deadline. The Chinese compact SUV also has an 11 kW AC charger which will be used for domestic charging or to connect to the many 22 kW terminals that stand in the public space.

440 to 1,338 liters in the trunk

The non-motorized tailgate of the Atto 3 opens on a volume of 440 liters which can pass, according to the figures communicated by BYD, to 1,338 l by folding down the file in two parts of the bench. Although set back, these values ​​are close to those of the new Kia Niro EV: 475/1,392 l.

On the Chinese compact SUV, the sill may seem a little too high compared to 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, allowing for example to board a stroller folded in the direction of the width. No frunk under the hood. The originality of the interior cannot be seen from the trunk. For example, you have to open a door at the back so that the presentation is obvious: it is then impossible to miss it.

Sit in the back

If the finish is neat on the BYD Atto 3, the materials are not super luxurious, unlike the previous Chinese cars that we have presented to you recently. What does the piece that serves as an armrest in the door panels look like? A big ring-shaped wrench, maybe.

On the other hand, the musical reference comes from this guitar whose body is formed with the grille of the loudspeaker. The ropes are used to keep objects placed a little high in the storage compartment. ” That’s funny! They are granted “promises Maxime Fontanier who was about to play a little piece for us, just before remembering that his trial time was running out.

Circular in shape, the latch that opens the door from the inside may be reminiscent of that of the Citroën Ami 8 to some old car enthusiasts. The action to be taken to release the mechanism is in any case the same. ” I really like the interior layout. “Admits the man with the cap.

The seat is long and soft in the rear seats. Access to the center one is facilitated by the absence of a service tunnel at floor level. The space is sufficient. Passengers will have at their disposal ventilation nozzles, two sockets (USB + USB-C) and various storage spaces.


The driver’s point of view

The thick, lined seals that surround the doors and their frames also bear witness to the BYD Atto 3’s manufacturing quality at the front. The originality even slips into the dashboard.

« Some will find it a bit kitsch, a bit shellfish. At least it changes a little from what we are used to seeing », Estimates the specialized journalist. ” I feel like it’s a big toy. I’m glad to see this car he dares, manipulating the ventilation nozzles in alignment with brake discs or CDs.

If the similarities with the Han EV are not necessarily obvious, the two cars exhibit two common attributes. First of all, the arrangement around the drive selector where we find the same useful shortcuts, in order to quickly modify, for example, the regeneration power, the driving mode (Sport or Comfort), or even the ventilation.

And then the central 15.6-inch touchscreen tablet which can be put in portrait or landscape mode. As Xpeng and Tesla, BYD is developing its own OS, open in its case to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


A very good finish for a compact SUV

The steering wheel of the BYD Atto 3 is specific, even if we find the same ergonomics of the controls, with, on the left, those dedicated to driving aids, and, on the other side, the buttons to intervene on the multimedia system. Planted on the casing of the steering column, the digital instrumentation appears clear and simple.

The screen is not smothered here by an entourage too rich in high-end materials. It’s sober, airy, efficient. All important information is clearly visible. There is no risk of being mistaken between instantaneous speed and power, contrary to what Max Freyss pointed out when trying on his side you beings 3 (article and video to come).

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

« In terms of general presentation, not only is it very original, but we have a lot of different materials. For the compact vehicle category, the finish is very good. It is even slightly higher than what Hyundai and Kia offer. », compare Maxime Fontanier.

Small turns of the wheel

No controlled suspension above the 18-inch wheels of the BYD Atto 3. The manufacturer did not give our tester much time to discover the machine. This did not prevent the latter from quickly letting go: “ It works pretty well, though, in Sport mode. We have responsiveness ».

With light steering on a raised vehicle, high torque and drive through the front wheels: the man in the cap advises to be careful on wet roads, as with all SUVs of the same configuration. Due to a rather typical comfort damping, therefore relatively flexible, the filtration is perceived as correct.

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

And what happens when you want to urgently stop the 1,750 kg machine? ” It slows down quite a bit! It even brakes very hard, and I didn’t even hit it like crazy. I expected less than that “replies the journalist now a great connoisseur of Chinese electric cars.


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

Prices

BYD does not intend to announce the price of its 3 electric models for the French market too much before the Paris Motor Show. If it has already proven itself with Chinese motorists, the Atto 3 should therefore be marketed here before the end of this year 2022.

« I would bet on a price comparable to that of a Hyundai Kona or a Kia Niro. Which would not be surprising because of the level of manufacturing quality and the services which are very close », concludes Maxime Fontanier.

He gives an appointment in a few months, for more extensive tests and comparisons when the 3 BYD electric cars will be available in France.

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