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BYD Atto 3 (100kW) review: Surprisingly sensible, relatively affordable

BYD Atto 3 (100kW) review: Surprisingly sensible, relatively affordable

Note: This feature was first published on 27 June 2023.

The newest version of the Atto 3 qualifies it for a cheaper Cat A COE.

Electrical motoring on a budget

Because of the unique way in which our COE is structured, the prices of cars have always been inextricably linked to their power output. The more powerful a car, the more it’ll cost because registering it will require a pricier Category B COE. One way to get around this predicament is to introduce lower-power versions of cars so that they’ll qualify for a less costly Category A COE. And this is exactly what BYD’s newest Atto 3 is about.

The TL;DR version:Minor range and interior styling issues aside, the Atto 3 packs a load of features and is a surprisingly sensible choice for anyone who's looking to get an affordable (relatively speaking) electric SUV.

The Atto 3 isn't bad-looking but it does look quite generic and same-same.

This new version of the Atto 3 has been detuned so that it meets the requirements for a Cat A COE. How much power? The hint is in the name – Atto 3 (100kW). Power is down from 150kW to 100kW. This simple move allows BYD to sell this version of the Atto 3 for about S$23,000 less – which translates to savings of around 11%. But apart from the detuned motor, did BYD do anything else to get prices down?

The surprising answer is no. The 100kW is visually indistinguishable from the 150kW. They come in the same colours, have the same head and tail lights, the same wheels, and even their interiors are identical. You don’t miss out on any features, too – safety features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, 360-degree cameras, and camera warnings are all intact. Really, the only difference is the less powerful electric motor.

The new 100kW version of the Atto 3 is visually indistinguishable from the 150kW version. There's no difference in equipment, trim, and there isn't even a "100kW" badge that gives the game away.

If you pore through the spec sheets, you’ll notice the 100kW Atto 3 is significantly slower than the 150kW version to 100km/h, but those numbers are misleading because this 100kW version is actually fairly rapid up to 50-60km/h. In reality, this Atto 3 is perfectly suited for our roads, particularly city-driving, where low-end torque delivery is more important than horsepower. With 310nm of torque to spare from zip (interestingly, the same as the 150kW version), the Atto 3 feels sprightly and eager whenever you take off from the traffic lights. It’s only beyond highway speeds that its performance starts tapering.

On the outside, it’s not a bad-looking car, but it does look somewhat generic and samey. You can see a bit of Hyundai Kona and Tesla Model Y in it. Whether that’s a good thing or not, you’ll have to decide for yourself. The insides, however, can be divisive. Let’s start with the seats, which are unusually sporty and snug for a family crossover SUV. It’s certainly plush and mostly comfy but doesn’t quite square with the character of the car. And then there’s the quirky design of components like the door bins and centre aircon vents. The former has strings running through them which are apparently inspired by the Chinese gu zheng, while the latter has been styled to look like dumbbells.

The interior is quite unconventional, to say the least.

The quirky interior design choices don’t stop there. The Atto 3 must have the tiniest instrument cluster I’ve seen. It’s a mere 5 inches in size, and it’s tacked on top of the steering wheel column. There are smartphones with larger displays, and it means those hard of sight might have a tough time reading it. The infotainment display, however, is large. It’s nearly 13 inches in size and is motorised, so it can rotate and be read in either portrait or landscape modes. Though it may sound superfluous – gimmicky, even – but using it in a portrait orientation lets you see more of what’s “ahead” when you are using the built-in navigation app.

@hwztech One of the coolest features of the BYD Atto 3 has to be its rotating infotainment display. Stay tuned for our full review. #hwzsg #hwz #byd #atto3 #electriccar #bydsingapore #motoring #automotive #infotainmentsystem #tech ♬ Summer day< PrevPage 1 of 1 – BYD Atto 3 (100kW) review: Surprisingly sensible, relatively affordablePage 1 of 1 – BYD Atto 3 (100kW) review: Surprisingly sensible, relatively affordablePage 1 of 1 Page 1 of 1 – BYD Atto 3 (100kW) review: Surprisingly sensible, relatively affordableNext >

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