BYD Atto 3 First Drive Review: Astonishingly awesome to punch Hyundai Kona Electric?

After driving the newly-launched BYD Atto 3 electric SUV in Chennai around the East Coast road, here are the excerpts of our experience.

Building dreams is not always easy. It takes a lot more than just chalking out the route to reach the final destination. Well, a new car brand of Chinese origin - Build Your Dreams, is eyeing to have a large share of the electric vehicle space in the Indian market. The carmaker made its entry in the Indian passenger vehicle space with the E6 MPV. Now, the carmaker has launched its second product in the country, called the Atto 3. The electric SUV goes against the Hyundai Kona Electric with roughly similar specs and pricing. Well, should you put your money on it? The answer is wrapped in a quick read here.

BYD Atto 3 Review: Design & Dimensions

Stare at the BYD Atto 3, and it attracts emotions. After all, the design is neat. It doesn’t look like a loudly-designed electric car, coming from the future. The Atto 3 looks like a car that is easy on the eyes. The nose of the Atto 3 gets slim LED headlamps, which sit on either side of a brushed aluminium-finished ribbon, housing the BYD moniker. A lightbar connects the LED DRLs, and lower down the chin, a sharply-designed bumper is used. It does get some black faux air curtains, to cut down the visual heft.

Around the sides, a rather appealing design for 18-inch alloy wheels is used. The rims don a dual-tone finish. Moreover, the roofline tapes down gradually towards the rear end. And the C-pillar features a silver insert, making the Atto 3 look great. While BYD has used black cladding around the sides, body-coloured inserts are used to ensure that Atto 3 doesn’t miss out on the colour punch.

The rear fascia of the BYD Atto 3 boasts a sense of cohesion with the front end. The tail lamps are slim units, and they too are connected through a light bar. The bumper does get air vents, which are of course fake, and this reminded me of the nose’s suit. Talking of dimensions, the BYD Atto 3 tapes in at 4,455 mm in length, 1,875 mm in width, and 1,615 mm in height. These numbers do give the Atto 3 a much-needed road presence.

BYD Atto 3 Review: Interior & Features

There are three ways to get inside the BYD Atto 3 - use the key fob, door-mounted request sensor, or via an NFC card. While the first two are commonly seen on vehicles, the last one is borrowed from the hotel industry. Well, we tapped the NFC card on the ORVM, and the cabin of the Atto 3 treated us with its stylish theme. It uses multiple textures, contours, and colours to keep things distinctive here. To start with, the steering wheel is nice with a slew of buttons. It comes with two-way adjustability, and the 5-inch instrument cluster display is mounted on the steering column itself.

The centre portion of the dashboard gets a humongous 12-inch touchscreen infotainment unit, which is pivoted to be used in either portrait or landscape fashion. The touch response from the screen is good, and so is the audio output from the speakers. Lower down, the centre stack of the dashboard, dumbbell-inspired AC vents can be seen, and the transmission lever is inspired by an aircraft’s thrust lever. Buttons surround the lever, and they service multiple functions and are well within the reach.

The feature list further includes multiple airbags, Level-2 ADAS, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, automatic climate control, wireless phone charger, powered tailgate, PM 2.5 & CN95 filters and more. Talking of space, there’s enough of it in both rows. Thanks to the under-floor-mounted battery pack, the floor is flat, all throughout. Front seats are designed like those seen on sports cars, and they are snug and comfy. The rear bench is not bad either. It offers enough support and cushioning. Boot space on the BYD Atto 3 stands at 440 litres, and it can be increased to 1,340 litres by folding down the second-row flat.

BYD Atto 3 Review: Performance & Range

The electric SUV comes with a 60.48 kWh battery pack. The motor on the BYD Atto 3 boasts a peak power output of 150 kW and 310 Nm. Resultantly, the SUV can do the 0-100 kmph sprint in just 7.3 seconds, while it has an electronically-limited top speed of 180 kmph. The Atto 3 is a confident cruiser and can do triple-digit cruising all day long. Helping it do this exercise is the suspension setup, which is tuned to offer a balance of both comfortable ride and tight handling. Also, the side wall of the tyres helps in absorbing bumps. Furthermore, Atlas Batman tyres proved sticky on wet surfaces of cyclone-affected Chennai.

Also, the BYD Atto 3 gets an ARAI-claimed range of 521 kilometres. Yes, the claim stands true to a high extent, as the Atto 3 could clock 208 km with around 60 per cent charge still remaining. Another highlight of the Atto 3 remains its single-pedal driving character, as it gets two regenerative braking modes. Also, there are three driving modes in total. The braking setup includes rotors on all corners that inspire a lot of confidence in sketchy situations.

BYD Atto 3 Review: Final Words

The BYD Atto 3 did leave us impressed. The electric SUV is capable of making itself distinctive in terms of aesthetics. In fact, the interior is loaded to the brim. However, the theme will remain a hit or miss as per individual’s taste. The powertrain too has the potential with enough grunt at its disposal and a very practical range of 521 kilometres. Also, the fast charging can juice it up from nil to 80 per cent in just 50 minutes. The absence of a spare wheel does invite some concern. Overall, it is a package that not even remotely feels like it has originated from dragonland. Thus, tough competition to the Hyundai Kona Electric is guaranteed with a price tag of Rs 33.99 lakh, ex-showroom.