2022 BYD Atto 3 Review : That’s it! Atto boy!

By Clifford Chow, 02 September 2022

2022 BYD Atto 3 Review : That’s it! Atto boy!

Singapore - If you ever think that Teslas are too expensive and that you are feeding some sort of a cult, and that the Koreans, while more attainable, are too mainstream. Well, perhaps the path to electrification for you, an old wise man once said, is to go Build Your Dreams.

The Chinese automotive manufacturer has come a long way, from its days of reverse-engineering, and has emerged as a major player in producing EVs. With the all-new Atto 3, it is clear that BYD has pulled all of its “ace cards”, to bring us what is possibly their best offering yet; and if you like a car which is loaded with features, read on.

Designers at BYD have done a fabulous job with the compact SUV’s exterior. There are lines where lines should be at, and overall, it is visually pleasing. 

But, with it being Chinese, it is just so easy to find that little bit of overkill. This time, it is on the bootlid, with the brand’s acronym spelled out. It feels almost like when a company boss hovers over the designer’s shoulder and insists on adding unnecessary extras.

2022 BYD Atto 3 - inside

On the inside, there is a sense that BYD actually tries too hard here, taking inspiration from sports and music. You get treadmill-inspired grooves on them quirky door handles, and on the central armrests. The air-conditioning vents are inspired by gym weights parked side-by-side… the latter, if you were to ask me, looks more like plates or bowls, on a rack after you’ve washed them. Cue Mr. Ping and his noodle shop… yum yum.

The inspiration from music is the bit we had some fun with though. The side pockets in the door cards, actually have tuned cords letting you play your favourite earworms, when waiting at the lights. Dívko dívko toulavá…

2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Go pull some strings!
2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Go pull some strings!

Quirks aside, the Atto 3 is very well equipped. At the middle of the dashboard, there is a 12.8-inch infotainment screen, which you can rotate if you have a preference of having your screen in portrait mode. Placed against something like the Tesla Model Y, the Atto 3’s screen is as big… as big should be; rather than Tesla oversized. There are A and C USB ports, and a wireless charging tray to keep devices charged. And there is that excess of 31 different flavours of interior lighting, which can pulse to the music from your playlist - again… Dívko dívko toulavá…

If you were to “swish” around the infotainment’s interface, you would find that the operating system’s firmware is impressively smooth and graphics load quickly. If you dig further, you might also stumble upon English terms lost in translation - like “Comfort Parking”, which absolutely has nothing to do with the deed. 

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have not yet been installed in the firmware, but this will come as an over-the-air update which will happen somewhere in the fourth-quarter of 2022. The update will also include Smart Voice Assistance, which is quite similar to voice activation systems in Lexus (the newer ones), Mercedes-Benz and BMWs. 

We can tell that passenger accommodation is also high-up in the design brief. The front seats have supportive bolsters, and will cradle you for miles, while at the rear, we have a flat floor, meaning that the middle passenger can sit easy, and not deal with a draft up the nuts.

Cargo space is decent too. You get 440 litres, which can be expanded to 1340 litres with the rear seats folded.

2022 BYD Atto 3 - the drive

Unfortunately, with the reworked EV rules, the Atto 3, with its single motor producing 201hp and 310Nm, still remains a Category B COE car; meaning that this bread-and-butter EV would still set you back in the neighbourhood of $180k*.

Like all electric vehicles, the Atto 3 feels brisk when taking off, having enough torque to chirp and steer its driving wheels. It reaches 100km/h in a respectable 7.3 seconds. As a point of reference, the 64.0kWh Hyundai Kona does this in around 8 seconds, while the 39.2kWh version (I’m doing this to shamelessly leave this blue thing here) in 9.9 seconds.

But while the Hyundai Kona hooks itself into a turn with the tenacity, reminiscent of a mild sports car; the Atto 3, makes it clear that it does not like quick direction changes. You will quickly feel the car’s weight responding to physics, just as you were to pitch the car into a quick turn. The Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension are tuned to deliver a comfortable driving experience, rather than taking on hairpins up and down hilly tarmac noodles.

2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Air purification
2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Air purification

If comfort is really your thing, the Atto 3 “pillows” the road ahead quite well, even though the suspension has to handle 1750kg of battery and car. At highway speeds, you will get a bearable measure of wind noise from the wing mirrors, but nothing unpleasant. The Atlas Batman tyres (yeah I kid you not… they really are Batman tyres) offer decent everyday driving traction. I like that they are not excessively-thundery over rougher surfaces.

With an official power economy of 14.9kWh/100km, the Atto 3 will be able to do mid 400kms between charges, translating to three to four days of range anxiety-free driving.

2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Atlas Batman tyres
2022 BYD Atto 3 Singapore - Atlas Batman tyres

In a country where not only EVs, but motor transport in general does not come cheap, the BYD Atto 3 would probably be more of a thing for early adopters (and fleet buyers), rather than the mainstream. So competition would not come from similar-sized EVs alone, but also from a rather saturated range of SUVs/Crossovers. Some of them have fuel-sipping hybrid tech, like the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid and Toyota RAV4.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

2022 BYD Atto 3

Battery 60.5kWh, Li-Ion
Electric Motor 201hp, 310Nm
Electric Range up to 480km (NDEC)
0-100km/h 7.3secs
Top Speed 160km/h (electronically limited)
Efficiency 14.9kWh/100km
VES Band A1

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