How do you pronounce the name of this new brand? “Bidet” Where is it “Baillede” ? Officials of the Chinese manufacturer have decided: it will be so “Be because of”. Because BYD is the contraction of “Build your dreams” and for the brand, the dream recalls the three electric cars that will be unveiled at the next Paris Motor Show. From October 17, visitors to the Porte de Versailles will discover the Tang SUV, a huge 4.87m child and the large Han sedan.
Two cars not exactly favored in the old continent and destined rather for an American and Chinese career. Is Europe the kingdom of compact SUVs, the Peugeot 3008 or the Hyundai Tucson? So BYD invented a third thief that’s just for us. And we were able to take the wheel for a few laps of a closed road around The Hague in the Netherlands.
But before switching on the ignition, a visit from the owner is essential. The overall line of the car is softer than that of a 3008 and less fun than that of a Citroën C5 Aircross. BYD did not want to overturn the drawing board by proposing a car with a revolutionary style. His in-house design studio showed wisdom, with smooth lines, able to blend in with our landscapes. Wise lines that nevertheless remain harmonious in its 4.45 m. The lights, all led, are perfectly integrated into the chromed front of the same plastic as those found on the third uprights.
Wise on the outside, extravagant on the inside
But this harmonious, but all in all very classic exterior contrasts with a much more radical interior. Within this Act 3 all elements are treated in an original way. From the door handles reminiscent of 1960s Citroën, to the shell-shaped dashboard, to the guitar-shaped side pockets, with its taut strings, the designers went wild. This extravagance surprises when you discover it and makes you smile. Will it go out of style with everyday use? This is sometimes the problem of overly assertive design. In any case, if this interior can wear down the look, it shouldn’t wear out at all. Because not only are the materials used and the foam plastic attached almost everywhere of excellent quality, but they are also perfectly assembled.
On the control side, the screen fixed in front of the steering wheel is small, but provides all the essential information for driving. The others are returned to the large 15.6-inch screen that can, with a simple pulse, switch to portrait mode, a small BYD specialty. But if all controls for air conditioning, infotainment or engine settings (sport, comfort or regeneration) are available via this panel, they can also be controlled via the buttons located on the center console.
Well cared for in this breathtaking cabin, the driver can also count on smiling passengers, because they are particularly pampered. The rear seat has surprisingly deep seats and there is plenty of leg room. The trunk is not sacrificed much, and with its 440 l, it figures in the good average of the species. A further hatch hides the charging cables that will allow Atto 3 to connect to direct current up to 88 kW and alternating current up to 11 kW. Result: It takes 29 minutes to reach 80% of the battery capacity, which reaches 60.4 kWh.
This battery, signed by BYD, which is one of the world specialists in the genre, does not use conventional cells like most of its competitors, but blades that save space in height and partly explain the space available on the edge. They also offer improved efficiency, which the manufacturer estimates at 89.6%. These blades are attached to the floor of a new platform, called 3.0. Is it able to collect the 204 HP of the engine (also signed by BYD) and its 310 Nm? Yes and no. Placed at the front (it is a traction) the block offers a 0-100 km / h in 7.3 seconds and rips the 1,750 kg of crew very correctly.
In the sequences of curves, however, certainly few on the test track, the SUV tends to nod. Nothing really bad, but the American influence had its effects on the engineers tasked with developing the gear. There is no point in switching to “sport” mode to correct this defect, as the suspension is not controlled.
However, this suspension softness is by no means prohibitive. After all, an electric SUV for families is not made for making big assaults in the hairpin bends of the Turini and if you climb them it is only to admire the landscapes. Perfectly built and perfectly in tune with customer expectations of this type of car, it could shake up the nascent zero-emission compact SUV market. Provided that its prices are attractive. To know them we will have to wait a few more weeks as they will not be announced before the Paris Motor Show.