mReview: 2023 BYD ATTO 3 100 kW - Better, With Less

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How do you make an already attractive option even more tempting for potential customers? Simple – you lower its starting price. But how can you do so without any major sacrifices?

In the case of the BYD ATTO 3, you lower its power output so it qualifies for Category A COE. At launch, the Chinese electric SUV had a power output of 198 bhp, some 50 bhp over the 148 bhp limit of Category A COE. At the time of publishing (September 2023), you’d be forking out an additional $27,000 for the luxury of having the additional power.

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By dropping the power to below the Cat A threshold, you’d make the car more affordable, but still preserve all of the traits that made the car a hot seller to begin with have been preserved, but without significant compromises to the overall driving experience.

Unchanged Aesthetics

Park the 100kW and 150kW cars side by side, and you’d not be able to tell the difference. The Category A and B cars are virtually indistinguishable from one another, and the changes are just limited to the difference in the power output.

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On the outside, the ATTO 3 adheres to the Dragon Face 3.0 design language that BYD has refined, though you cannot deny that there are strong Audi-inspired vibes throughout the car. This is due to the fact that BYD now engages the services of former Audi designer Wolfgang Egger.

In the cabin, there’s sufficient head and knee room for five adults, with the glass roof really helping to create an added sense of airiness. BYD opted for an organic yet musical-themed interior, with a rotating infotainment screen fitted to the centre of the dashboard that has now become a BYD signature.

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Whilst there is a chronic lack of buttons that you’d need to utilise on a daily basis, crucially, all of the mission-critical functions are still controlled via centre console-mounted switches. The logical layout of the UI on the infotainment screen for the rest of the in-car comfort controls makes you miss having physical buttons slightly less. However, it can still be tricky to operate these controls whilst on the move.

What’s Really Different?

With 66 bhp less, you’d expect the 100kW car to feel significantly more laboured off-the-line. You’d definitely feel a 30% reduction in power, as it is fairly significant. However, it appears that BYD has only taken power off up top.

There’s little difference to the driving experience within the confines of our city streets. In all honesty, there really wasn’t much of a difference when you are already up to expressway cruising speeds too. Changes are really the most noticeable when you are attempting to pass someone on the expressway. Where the 150kW car could fairly effortlessly outdrag most conventional ICE economy cars, you’d have to plan your overtakes more carefully in the 100kW car.

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There’s a bonus to this reduction in peak power though. Where the original car scrambled for traction on the factory-shod Batman tyres, the dip in power now means the car is significantly better behaved if you are aggressive on the throttle, as the power no longer overwhelms the grip on offer.

Could You Really Do Better With Less?

Modern cars drip with excess. But the 100kW ATTO 3 is proof that you do not always need big power to create a competent daily driver. It builds on the COTY-winning traits of its 150kW twin, but at a more attractive price point.

Vantage Automotive has also added a new variant to the ATTO 3 line-up. The new car, dubbed the CarbonEdge, now comes with blacked out roof and C-pillars, as well as new black upholstery and trim pieces throughout the car!

BYD Atto 3 100kW Specifications
Price: $176,888  VES Band: A1
Permanent Magnet
Synchronous Motor
Charging Rate:
80 kW (DC), 6.6 kW (AC)
132 bhp, 310 Nm
Driven Wheels:
6.7 km/kWh
9.7 s
Top Speed:
160 km/h
Battery Capacity:
60.5 kWh
4,455 mm x 1,875 mm x 1,615 mm
  2,720 mm
Cargo Capacity:
440 litres

Photo Credit: Acube Creative (@weareacube)

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