Priced from under £26k, the small electric family car offers a great value alternative to its more pricey contemporaries, such as the Peugeot, Vauxhall, Citroen, and MG.
The top spec version has a 60.4 kWh battery and is expected to land in the UK as early as October this year, with the other lesser versions arriving March of 2024.
The BYD Dolphin range offers motorists a lot of bang for their buck. The base package includes a 45kWh battery (due in Q1 2024) that promises up to 211 miles of range, as well as a 12.8-inch touchscreen, vegan leather seats, alloy wheels, and 360-degree cameras. Those looking for more power can purchase the Dolphin Boost, which has a more powerful 174bhp motor and more features – though the range is slightly reduced to 193 miles. Regardless, this car presents a compelling alternative to the established players in the market.
We strongly believe that when selecting from the line-up, the Dolphin Comfort should be considered. It boasts the same 60kWh battery and a 201bhp motor as its larger BYD Atto 3 SUV counterpart, however, it can travel up to 265 miles with just one top-up. Furthermore, it has a faster charging option, heated front seats, front parking sensors and a more modern stereo – and all this is available for less than £30k
This makes the Dolphin a great choice for UK buyers who are looking for a low-cost urban runaround..
Handling & Efficiency
The Dolphin’s ride quality is impressive, even on bumpy roads. All but the cheapest Active models come with multi-link rear suspension, which helps the car absorb bumps and ruts with ease. This makes the Dolphin a great choice for UK buyers who are looking for a low-cost urban runaround that can also handle rough roads.
The Dolphin is surprisingly refined for a car of its type, with well-suppressed road noise and only a little wind noise around the door mirrors. Acceleration from the single front motor is strong, both from a standstill and when overtaking. However, this can sometimes lead to torque steer, as the front wheels struggle to maintain grip. The body also has a tendency to roll through the bends when using all the available power, but the car rarely feels unwieldy. The steering is a little light and lacks feel, but it is direct and makes the car easy to place on the road.
The brakes were easy to modulate, but those who prefer the efficient driving style of a one-pedal setup will be disappointed. Even the stronger of the BYD’s two regenerative braking settings only scrubs a small amount of speed, so it’s almost not noticeable.
However, we found the Dolphin to be remarkably efficient over our 100-mile test route. We easily achieved 4 miles per kWh on the motorway and on a long, challenging section of hills. We think you could easily get 5 miles per kWh in more mundane driving, and the standard-fit heat pump should help in the colder months.
Once inside the Dolphin, it’s hard to believe the budget-friendly price tag. The materials are tough yet have subtle texture on the dashboard and doors that lends an air of luxe.
Once inside the Dolphin, it’s hard to believe the budget-friendly price tag. The materials are tough yet have subtle texture on the dashboard and doors that lends an air of luxe. Colour abounds, and the faux-leather on the seats and steering wheel adds a pleasant softness to the most-touched surfaces. Even the buttons feel more substantial than those on the MG4.
The BYD’s infotainment system comes with a neat party trick – the ability to rotate up to 90 degrees – but there’s much more to appreciate. Its software is noticeably more responsive and sleek than those found in Vauxhall or Peugeot models. Though the menu layout could be improved for better user-intuitiveness, its functionality is still available if you need it.
Occupying either the driver or passenger seat, we felt a lack of height adjustability which resulted in a lack of proper thigh support when travelling for longer distances. However, visibility was adequate and space was plentiful in both the front and back.
The Dolphin is a well-rounded electric car that offers a lot of value for money. It is affordable, efficient, spacious, and packed with technology.
The Dolphin can be recharged at speeds of up to 88 kW, which means that a 30-80% top-up can be achieved in 29 minutes. Models with the smaller battery can only be charged at 60 kW, but they can still achieve an 80% charge in roughly the same amount of time.
The Dolphin is a well-rounded electric car that offers a lot of value for money. It is affordable, efficient, spacious, and packed with technology. It also has a fast charging capability, which is a major plus. The Dolphin is a serious contender in the electric car market, and it should leave mainstream brands worried.
You can view all the BYD Dolphin models here: BYD Dolphin
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