- Great performance
- Packed with top-level technology
- Modern design
- Comfortable and forward-thinking interior
The car its makers hope will be an electric dream machine has arrived in the UK in the shape of the BYD ATTO 3.
BYD is a huge Chinese conglomerate created in 1995 and, with a turnover of more than £50 billion, employing some 600,000 workers.
The ATTO 3 is its first venture into Britain and is an all-electric SUV crossover of similar proportions to a Ford Kuga and priced from £36,490.
In addition to the base level Active model two other trim specifications are available – Comfort which is priced from £36,990 and a range topping Design grade costing from £38,900.
Powertrain and Performance
In the new world of zero emission SUVs, the ATTO 3 is very competitively priced and has a 201bhp motor which gives it a 0 to 62mph time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 99mph.
The full charge range is claimed to be 260 miles and, from a fast charger, replenishing the battery to 80 percent can be done in 29 minutes.
A complete charge from a domestic supply will take a little under 10 hours, while from an 11kW home charger, that can be shortened to six and a half hours.
The charging point is located behind a flap on the front off-side wing.
BYD started out as a battery company, and it has built up a lot of expertise over the years with the 60.48kWh battery that is fitted to the ATTO 3 designed to offer up to 20 percent more efficiency in cold weather – a factor which can seriously affect some other EVs.
Our drive saw range drop from 260 miles to 193 miles after a 70-mile mixed journey taking in motorway work, regular roads and city driving – so no complaints – and the ATTO 3 is simple to drive with no unnecessary distractions as can be the case with other high-tech EVs.
The ATTO 3 is front-wheel drive and comes with four drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, and Snow – and on our drive, the three main modes did what they said on the tin, but conditions were not right to experience the snow setting.
Sport mode is nicely responsive and the car handles well, while Normal and Eco modes increase the amount of braking regeneration, although we found it not sufficient to allow for single pedal driving. We also found that paddle shifters were not a feature in the ATTO 3.
The layout of controls on the centre console is neat and modern, while the gear selector is a horizontal rocker control with a nice and positive action.
Design and Practicality
The ATTO 3 is a good-looking vehicle with a bold, aerodynamic nose set off by a pronounced bumper and air scoop arrangement below a silver strip that flows under the bonnet between the LED headlamps.
The same is true at the rear and overall it is well proportioned with a 440-litre boot expanding to 1,338 litres with the rear seats folded.
The company slogan is Build Your Dreams, and that legend is emblazoned across the tailgate below the rear window.
Inside, the car is roomy and comfortable with a good amount of rear legroom while the instrumentation is state of the art.
Technology and Equipment
On the top range Design model we tried, the central display screen, from which most of the onboard features are operated, is a large 15.6 inches, and it can be rotated electronically from horizontal to vertical.
Graphics are first class and in navigation mode the map display is superb and easy to operate. Other functions include Internet connectivity, in-car entertainment, and ventilation, among others.
Smaller 12.9-inch screens are fitted to Active and Comfort versions, while all models in the ATTO 3 range have 5-inch TFT instrument panels fixed behind the steering wheel.
A wireless phone charging pad, cupholders and a fair-sized, covered central storage box armrest are fitted, while there are a few quirky touches such as unusually shaped door releases and red ‘guitar string’ restraint bands across the door pockets.
Safety systems are plentiful – the ATTO 3 has gained a top five star safety rating from Euro NCAP – and include traffic sign recognition, cross traffic alerts, lane keeping and lane change assist and hill descent control as well as blind spot detection and front and rear collision warnings.
There is also a warning system where the car speaks to you should you exceed the speed limit.
Other standard features on all models include vegan leather upholstery, an electric tailgate, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.
There is plenty to commend the ATTO 3 and for an EV costing less than £40,000 it is good enough to cause a stir among competitors.
At the moment the car is available from Stratstone dealerships in Birmingham and Milton Keynes, with BYD having plans to increase its UK outlets to some 100 by 2025 including a prestige site in London’s Mayfair.