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BYD Dolphin

DOLPHIN DISPLAY (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The BYD Dolphin aims to revitalise the segment for small EV hatches. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 36

Chinese maker BYD gets serious about the British market with this small EV hatch, the Dolphin. It looks better value and more practical than the established class alternatives. And there are a few quirky touches too.

Backgroundword count: 206

It's about time we had a wider range of more affordable supermini-sized EVs and at last, it looks like the choice is widening. Here's the BYD Dolphin, a cheerily named contender to take on established class favourites like the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and the Peugeot e-208. As well as impending new ones like the Honda e:Ny1 and the reborn Renault 5. Theoretically, it ought to be called the 'Atto 2' because it slots in below the mid-sized Atto 3 Crossover in the Chinese maker's range. But having chosen that conservative naming policy for the Atto 3, the brand has subsequently decided that a more youthful, exuberant feel is needed for its EVs. Hence this Dolphin, which sits above a small citycar-sized EV model so far only available in China (the Seagull). Keeping with the marine theme, BYD also has the Seal mid-sized EV saloon. But Dolphins are our focus here. What's this one like? Let's see. This of course is just the start of BYD's product offensive, overseen by UK dealer network that'll grow from around 30 to about 100 outlets by 2025. By then, we may also be seeing this Shenzhen-based company's Yangwang premium EV brand, which will bring us luxury sports cars and SUVs.

Engines and Tech Specword count: 287

Small hatches may have got vastly more expensive as EVs, but they've also got a lot faster too. With the top two spec levels, 'Comfort' and 'Design', the Dolphin's front-mounted motor puts out more power than most likely owners will possibly need - 204PS, with 310Nm of torque - and dispatches 62mph in just 7s. It draws from a 60.4kWh battery good for a WLTP-rated range of 265 miles. Two variants with a smaller 44.9kWh battery sit at the bottom of the range, the entry-level 'Active' version using a 95PS motor and offering 211 miles of range. The mid-level 'Boost' 44.9kWh model has a 176PS motor and offers 193 miles of range. Both the available batteries feature a uniquely-dense 'Blade'-style construction. Underneath the car is the same modular 'e-Platform 3.0' chassis used by the brand's larger Atto 3 and Seal models. And, like all EVs, this one makes a noise at low speeds. The difference here though, is that you can alter the sort of low-speed noise it makes - either a conventional ambient hum or, more joyfully, a sound like a tinkling ice cream van. Which you'll either find endearing or annoying. Don't expect anything particularly dynamically engaging on the move, but multi-link rear suspension is fitted above base trim and the Dolphin does give you three drive modes - 'Sport', 'Normal' and 'Eco' - which alter throttle response and steering weight. You'll need 'Sport' of course to make the car feel in any way energetic. Or to approach the modest top speed of 100mph; that's for most models; the base 'Active' version manages just 93mph. Across the range, expect the usual impressive EV refinement. And ride quality tuned appropriately for comfort, rather than careering about.

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£28,000.00 (At 22 May 2023)

£35,000.00 (At 22 May 2023)

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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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