BYD Atto 3 2024 long-term test


There are also a few quirks that have thrilled my children, such as door pockets whose sides are made not of plastic but a trio of tuned guitar strings (they really to play three distinct notes). There’s a huge rotating 15.6in touchscreen, too.

The trim is pretty quirky. Sit behind the wheel and just count the finishes: ‘vegan leather’ in not one but three different colours and a dash that blends a brushed metal effect with rolling curves in blue, black and white, with a small binnacle ahead of the driver and that vast central screen dominating proceedings. 

As someone who is something of a stranger to the gym, I had to be informed that this environment was the inspiration for the interior styling. But even I got the hint with BYD’s colour names, which are a rather lame attempt to cement these active associations, with Surfing Blue, Skiing White, Climbing Grey and my car’s Parkour Red. It doesn’t make me want to start leaping from railing to railing (not with my knees), but it at least is a very attractive shade.

Try not to be blindsided by the gimmickry, though, because the Atto 3 is a properly practical car. The cabin is far more generous for space than those of many of its rivals, and it feels remarkably well-screwed together. There’s a decent split-level boot back there too, albeit with a horribly flimsy cover that reminds me of an early ’80s Vauxhall. 

The sense of quality and solidity is further enhanced on the road. The BYD is a really sweet-riding machine, helped by its big doughnut tyres. The powertrain offers effortless rather than astounding pace, and while the chassis won’t win any prizes for entertainment, it is as competent as the rest of the package. 

I have had one slight problem, albeit when the car was being used the tracking photography (snapper in the boot, harnessed up, shooting out the back as the subject car follows). That meant having the electric tailgate open for a sustained period while I drove around at relatively low speeds, but it was enough to really confuse the poor Atto 3, and afterwards, the boot refused to open fully or shut properly – which was doubly annoying because it disabled other systems, such as the cruise control, at the same time. 

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