Say hello to…
…the BYD Dolphin, the second car from new Chinese entrant BYD after the Atto 3. The Dolphin is a family hatchback that will rival the MG 4, Volkswagen ID3, Smart 1, Nissan Leaf and an increasing number of other EVs.
The BYD Dolphin is available in four specification levels that not only impact the equipment, but also the power of the motor and the size of the battery.
Active includes a 44.9kW battery and a 95hp motor and standard equipment includes a heat pump, 16-inch alloys, metallic paint, auto lights, powered door mirrors, vegan leather seats, infotainment screen, two front USB sockets and digital driver’s display.
Boost includes a 44.9kW battery and a 176hp motor, the only additional equipment over Active are 17-inch alloys.
Comfort cars are powered by a 204hp motor linked to a 60.4kW battery, additional equipment includes power-fold door mirrors, heated front seats, two rear USB sockets and an uprated stereo.
Design uses the same motor and battery as the Comfort model but adds a panoramic roof, privacy glass and wireless phone charger.
Is The BYD Dolphin Suitable For My Fleet
BYD will be pushing at an open door in terms of fleet as by offering an electric car in the fleet heartland of the family hatchback. As you’d expect from a new Chinese brand, it undercuts the list price of established brands such as Volkswagen with the ID 3 and Vauxhall with the new Astra EV. However, it is priced above the MG 4.
In terms of practicalities, the Dolphin has an impressive amount of room inside. The rear seat legroom is particularly good with enough room for tall adults. The boot is on a par with the rest of the class at 345 litres.
If there’s a weak point for fleets it’s the maximum charge speed, which at 88kW is not great. Plus, the Active and Boost trim levels only have 60kW DC charging. The best rivals are well above 100kW. As a result the 10-80% charge time for the 60kWh battery car is likely to be around 30 minutes.
Leasing A BYD Dolphin
BYD claims it has been liaising with the RV guides ahead of the car’s arrival in the UK to maximise residual values, so that the competitive list price is reflected in competitive lease rates.
Driving A BYD Dolphin
Visually, the BYD Dolphin appears smaller than its rivals, however this an illusion. The car is 26mm longer than the latest VW ID3. However the front light design makes the car look narrower than it really is.
Get in and the first impression is one of good quality materials. The 12.8-inch infotainment screen is impressively bright and hi-res and the software is usefully logical.
While the look and feel of the interior is mostly very good, the central controls below the screen are difficult to operate and don’t feel as good quality in term of their fit as they feel slightly loose.
The seats are comfortable and supportive.
Driving the Dolphin, which sounds like an odd phrase, is all about comfort. The car offers a good feeling of familiarity and ease of use. The ride is good on British roads and while the suspension errs on the softer side of things, body roll when cornering isn’t excessive. The car also feels stable at motorway speeds.
What lets the driving experience down is front wheel scrabble under power. This is particularly noticeable in the wet when pulling out of junctions or on roundabouts. The traction control keeps everything from getting completely out of hand, but it’s something rivals don’t suffer from. BYD is aware of the issue and is promising a switch to better tyres in the near future.
The Dolphin offers a single level of brake regeneration over the zero-resistance regular mode. It doesn’t offer one-pedal driving, but the regen on offer is easy to adapt to and blends well with the physical braking when you come to a stop.
Overall BYD has delivered a very competent car. It sits neatly between the more expensive, VW ID3 and the better value (and better driving) MG 4. The Dolphin has a better looking and feeling interior to the MG and offers an impressive level of kit on the top two trim levels.
FleetandLeasing.com Verdict On The BYD Dolphin
Fleets should take note, there’s a lot to like about the BYD Dolphin as a high value electric family hatchback.
- Model: Dolphin Design
- Power: 204hp
- Torque: 310Nm
- Max speed: 99mph
- 0-62mph: 7.0s
- Official efficiency: 61.4mpg
- CO2 emissions: 0g/km
- BIK tax band 2023/24: 2%