Read Caroline’s BYD Atto 3 review for everything you need to know about buying BYD’s new electric compact crossover in Ireland.

BYD is the newest car brand to arrive in Ireland and plans to sell a range of electric cars here, starting with the Atto 3.

The Chinese carmaker has partnered with Motor Distributors Limited (MDL) to bring cars to market in Ireland. MDL already distributes Mercedes-Benz cars here.

The Atto 3 is BYD’s first model to launch here. It will be followed by the Dolphin compact hatchback and the Seal four-door saloon shortly.

So BYD is serious about Ireland but should Ireland be serious about BYD? I took the Atto 3 for a test drive to find out.

The Atto 3 is a new electric compact crossover with a range of over 400 kilometres
The Atto 3 is a new electric compact crossover with a range of over 400 kilometres

What’s so special about the BYD Atto 3?

BYD stands for ‘Build Your Dreams’ and is written across the back of the new Atto 3.

Priced from around €40,000, the Atto 3 arrives into a competitive market for compact electric crossovers and hatchbacks. But already BYD design is emerging as something quite distinct and different for Irish roads.

Being a crossover-style vehicle certainly helps. The Atto 3 has a fair bit of presence because it sits a little higher off the ground than the average hatchback. Yet it’s not the most stylish model from BYD… yet. The upcoming Seal is sure to turn more heads when it arrives soon.

In its favour, Atto 3 is a substantial looking car with five seats inside and a 440-litre boot so it’s going to be practical for a lot of people.

It’s powered by a 60 kWh battery with a range of up to 420 kilometres (WLTP). That’s close to the Peugeot e-2008 (406 kilometres) and just a little way off some of the best like the Kia Niro EV (460 kilometres) and the Hyundai Kona 64kWh (484 kilometres).

The interior of the BYD Atto 3
The interior of the BYD Atto 3

Inside the Atto 3

The cabin of the Atto 3 is quite quirky in its design with some unique door handles and even guitar strings in the doors. It’s bright and colourful, with my test car featuring a blue and grey theme with red detailing.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste but it’s definitely not boring. The quality feels good with a nicely finished steering wheel and some gorgeous leather-effect seats with integrated headrests.

It’s not a cheap car but there are no rattles or squeaks and it feels well put together for a car brand that is new to the Irish market.

Infotainment is provided via a large screen (12.8-inch or 15.6-inch) that can change orientation, but I did find the light reflection made it hard to see clearly on bright days, even when switched from day to night mode. A wired Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto connection is included, and a wireless smartphone charging pad.

Equipment levels are high with three trim levels available and not much of a price walk between them. Atto 3 kicks off with the Active (from €39,078), the Comfort (from €39,546) and the Design (from €40,949).

The Atto 3 is on sale now priced from €39,078
The BYD Atto 3 on test for Changing Lanes

There’s plenty of legroom in the back of the Atto 3 thanks to a flat floor the entire width of the car and it’s wide enough for three children to sit comfortably too. The 440-litre boot is competitive for this class of vehicle and will be practical for daily life.

Driving the BYD

The Atto 3 is built on BYD’s new e-Platform 3.0 and features BYD’s own cobalt-free, Lithium Iron-Phosphate (LFP) battery called the ‘Blade Battery’.

On the road, the BYD feels solid and well-made. There’s a good seating position too and it’s easy to get comfortable in. The steering is nicely weighted and allows for a smooth drive. Ride comfort is good for an electric crossover of this size, particularly in town, with just a touch of firmness over rougher surfaces.

The Atto 3 has a 204hp motor sending power to the front wheels. At speed, it cruises well with not too much road noise. There’s plenty of power should you want it, with 0 to 100km/h completed in 7.3 seconds. There are also two levels of regenerative braking and a heat pump to improve the efficiency of the battery in cold weather.

Over a week of driving my average consumption was 17.3 kWh per 100 kilometres so it’s reasonably efficient for an electric crossover of this size.

AC charging is available up to 11kW, while DC charging is possible up to 88kW.

Rear seating in the new BYD Atto 3
Rear seating in the new BYD Atto 3

Did you like it?

BYD will start to build a presence here with the first two dealerships already open in Dublin and a third in Cork. More locations are planned, as the brand establishes itself here.

The Atto 3 is a good debut for the BYD brand. Its chunky crossover styling is what the market loves right now, while it offers plenty of comfort, equipment and space inside.

There are plenty of competitors from more established brands in the Irish market hovering around a similar price range. But the Atto 3 does have an impressive build and lots of technology on board so the newcomer is worth paying attention too.

BYD has plenty more on the way too, including the BYD Dolphin, which will start from under €30,000 in the Irish market. Then there’s the stylish Seal expected later this year. And 2024 will likely see the arrival of the BYD Han, a large and luxurious four-door saloon.

BYD is already off to a great start and the Atto 3 is definitely one to watch!

The Atto 3 is on sale now
The Atto 3 is on sale now

Model tested: BYD Atto 3 Design
Battery: 60.48 kWh
204 hp
Torque: 310 Nm
7.3 seconds
Top speed: 160 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year


Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year