BYD Dolphin : The Chinese City Car Challenging the Competition

BYD Dolphin is the new compact electric car that’s making waves. Coming from China, this rival to the Renault Mégane E-Tech and Volkswagen ID.3 promises a combination of advanced technology, competitive pricing, and energy efficiency. After a week of testing, here is our detailed review of this promising vehicle.

Exterior Design

The BYD Dolphin features compact but optimized dimensions. It measures 4.29 meters in length, 1.77 meters in width, and 1.57 meters in height, with a wheelbase of 2.70 meters. These proportions give it a modern and sporty look. The exterior design is inspired by the “Ocean Aesthetics” concept, with flowing lines and a rounded profile reminiscent of a dolphin leaping out of the water. We particularly appreciated the short overhangs, which enhance its dynamic appearance. Adaptive front headlights and stylish rear lights add a touch of elegance.

Interior Design

Inside, the Dolphin stands out with its sleek and functional design. The cabin is spacious for a compact car, featuring ergonomic seats upholstered in vegan leather, providing optimal comfort for long journeys. The front seats are heated and electrically adjustable, making it easy to find an ideal driving position. The dashboard is dominated by a motorized central screen that can rotate between horizontal and vertical formats, although some display bugs persist. The ambiance is bright, thanks to the panoramic sunroof with double glazing, which offers effective thermal and acoustic insulation. We did find that the Android system is not yet fully optimized.

Different Powertrains

The BYD Dolphin offers several powertrain configurations. Our test model was equipped with a 60.4 kWh blade battery and a permanent magnet synchronous motor delivering 204 hp. This setup allows acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7 seconds. Other versions include a 44.9 kWh battery available in two variants: one with 95 hp and another with 176 hp, offering a wide range of performance options to suit various needs.

Range and Charging

One of the Dolphin’s strong points is its range. With the 60.4 kWh battery, BYD claims a WLTP range of 427 km, a figure we found quite realistic during our week-long test. In mixed use, we recorded an average consumption of 14.9 kWh/100 km on the road and 19.5 kWh/100 km on the highway at a steady 130 km/h. Charging is another positive aspect, with a maximum DC charging power of 88 kW, allowing the battery to go from 10% to 80% in 44 minutes, and AC charging up to 11 kW.

Driving Experience

On the road, the Dolphin offers a pleasant and dynamic driving experience, though some aspects need improvement. The Linglong tires proved disappointing, lacking grip and causing torque steer during acceleration. The driver assistance systems, though comprehensive, are sometimes too intrusive, particularly the collision avoidance system and lane-keeping assist. However, the suspension comfort is remarkable, making rides on bumpy roads enjoyable.

Comparison with Competitors

Compared to its direct competitors, the BYD Dolphin stands out for its attractive price and generous standard equipment. Compared to the Renault Mégane E-Tech and Volkswagen ID.3, it offers competitive range at a much lower price. However, the quality of some components, such as the tires and driver assistance systems, falls short of European standards.

Price in Belgium

In Belgium, the BYD Dolphin is offered at very competitive prices. The Comfort version with a 60.4 kWh battery is priced at 35,240 euros, while the Design version, which adds a panoramic sunroof and wireless smartphone charger, is offered at 36,740 euros. These prices include rich standard equipment, making the Dolphin accessible to a wide audience.

Conclusion : Pros and Cons

After a week behind the wheel of the BYD Dolphin, here is our assessment:

Attractive price : A competitive price for a well-equipped electric car.
Low consumption : Especially on the highway, where it proves very efficient.
Suspension comfort : Pleasant on bumpy roads.

Mediocre tires : Lack of grip and insufficient performance.
Intrusive driver assistance systems : Systems sometimes too authoritative and annoying.

In summary, the BYD Dolphin is an interesting option for those looking for an affordable and well-equipped electric car. With a few adjustments, particularly to the tires and driver assistance systems, it could truly establish itself as a serious contender in the European electric vehicle market.

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