Ray Massey: Enter the Dragon! Chinese BYD produces the Atto 3

Japan was first in the 60’s and 70’s. Then came Korea in the 1990s and 2000s. China is now shaking up the UK and European car markets with new, affordable, fully-equipped family cars, in particular electric cars.

The newest kid on the block is now China’s BYD – arguably the largest global automaker you’ve never heard of. But trust me, you will. And this will cause sleepless nights for well-known competitors such as Volkswagen.

I’ve been driving BYD’s new, smart and welcoming family electric Atto 3, launched in the UK this week with first deliveries from Wednesday.

And it really is an “Enter the Dragon” situation. As for the ‘face’ of the new car – and others in the range to follow – it is deliberately modeled after a Chinese dragon.

The BYD initials stand, somewhat coyly, for “Build Your Dreams,” emblazoned across the rear hatchback. But it’s not just a car company. It’s a massive industrial conglomerate, set up in 1995, that now builds everything from buses to trains, has a turnover of over £51 billion and employs over 600,000.

Smart and affordable: the Atto 3 SUV family from Chinese auto giant BYD

Smart and affordable: the Atto 3 SUV family from Chinese auto giant BYD

Originally a rechargeable battery company, it produces its own microchips, so it’s largely unaffected by the parts supply issues affecting competitors.

Built around the new third-generation powertrain, the sleek new electric five-seater, zero-emissions Atto 3 crossover is designed as a premium model and powered by a 60.48kWh blade battery that delivers more power. power in a smaller package. It claims a range of 260 miles and 20 percent more thermal efficiency in the winter.

It accelerates quickly from rest to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. It’s more fun and engaging in ‘Sport’ mode, but there’s also ‘Normal’ for cruising, ‘Economy’ for power saving and ‘Snow’ for weather like this week. Top speed is 99 mph.

There are three trim levels: starting at £36,490 to the top-of-the-range model, starting at £38,990.

Riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, the Atto 3 is so smooth and easy to drive that hitting the speed limit can come to you faster than you think, but the in-car voice control nanny warns you if it does, and the speed limit symbol flashes on the screen as a visual alert.

There are also two regenerative braking settings, the stronger being my preference because it means less work on the actual brakes.

It has a sporty and spacious interior with “vegetable leather” trim, power-adjustable front seats, a 440-litre work boot that expands to 1,338 liters with the rear seats down, and a large panoramic glass roof.

Ray has been driving BYD's smart and welcoming new family electric Atto 3, which was launched in the UK this week with first deliveries from Wednesday.

Ray has been driving BYD’s smart and welcoming new family electric Atto 3, which was launched in the UK this week with first deliveries from Wednesday.

The new front-wheel drive, zero-emissions Auto3 five-seater crossover is powered by a 60.48kWh blade battery.

The new front-wheel drive, zero-emissions Auto3 five-seater crossover is powered by a 60.48kWh blade battery.

It claims a range of 260 miles and 20 percent more thermal efficiency in the winter

It claims a range of 260 miles and 20 percent more thermal efficiency in the winter

It accelerates quickly from rest to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds

It accelerates quickly from rest to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds

It features a sporty and spacious interior with upholstery

It features a sporty and spacious interior with ‘vegan leather’ trim and power-adjustable front seats

It's more fun and engaging in a situation

It’s more fun and engaging in ‘Sport’ mode, but there’s also ‘Normal’ for cruising, ‘Economy’ to save power and ‘Snow’ for weather like this week

The BYD initials refer, somewhat coyly, to

The BYD initials stand, somewhat coyly, for “Build Your Dreams,” emblazoned on the back of the hatchback.

There are three trim levels: starting at £36,490 to the top-of-the-range model, starting at £38,990

There are three trim levels: Active from £36,490, Comfort from £36,990 and the top of the range Design – which I’ve been driving and which arrived later in the spring, from £38,990.

Packed with safety technology, it earned a maximum of 5 stars in EuroNCAP crash tests.

Safety and driver assistance features include: front and rear collision warning; Cross Traffic Alert; Automatic Emergency Braking; Lane Keeping Assist; and Emergency Lane Change; Hill Descent Control, Blind Spot Detection, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Other features include a rotating electric touchscreen (15.6-inch in trim, 12.9-inch in other models); panoramic sunroof; “vegan leather” trim; heated front seats; and an electric tailgate.

There are a few tricks: the Tesla-style dashboard touchscreen can rotate from landscape to portrait; The dashboard and center console controls take design inspiration from a high-tech gymnasium with bell-shaped door handles, kettle-bell-shaped gear selectors and air vents designed to look like free weights; Small door openings include strings designed to remind you of a guitar. But honestly it’s good enough without the gimmicks.

There are five exterior colors: ski blue, ski white, climber gray, parkour red, and exploration green.

Starting in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Milton Keynes, BYD’s dealer network in the UK already includes Pendragon, Lookers, Arnold Clarke and LSH Auto Holdings and is set to grow from 30 showrooms by the end of the year to as many as 100 by the end of the year. 2025.

More details at: via deurope.com/

Does it fit in my garage? BYD Auto 3

building: Shenzhen, China

For sale: now

First births: From Wednesday 15 March

Model variants and prices

active: £36,490

comfort: £36,990

design: £38,990

Length: 4455 mm

an offer: 1875 mm

Width (with mirrors): 2050 mm

to rise: 1615 mm

Wheelbase: 2720 mm

curb weight: 1750 kg

Gross vehicle weight: 2160 kg

driving: Front-wheel drive

battery: 60.48 kWh BYD Blade

power: 150 kW / 204 hp

battery weight: 420 kg

0 to 62 mph: 7.2 seconds

maximum speed: 99 mph

electric range: 260 miles

consumption: 3.98 miles per kilowatt hour

CO2 emissions: zero

Four driving modes: Sport, Casual, Economy and Snow

Wheels: 18 inch alloy

Boot space: Rear seats in place: 440 liters; Rear seats folded: 1,338 liters

shipping times

7kW Domestic AC Wall Charger: 9 hours 42 minutes; 11 kW three-phase AC charger: 6 hours 30 minutes

150kW DC Charger: 10% to 80%: 44 minutes; 30% to 80%: 29 minutes; 0 to 100%: 80 minutes

EuroNCAP crash test: The highest rating is 5 stars

Five star crash test rating for the new Mazda MX-30

Mazda’s new MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV plug-in hybrid has been awarded a maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests (euroncap.com/en).

It scored 91 per cent for protecting adults, 87 per cent for protecting child occupants and 68 per cent for protecting vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.

It also achieved top scores in the side crash tests, as well as full marks in the crash test based on a crash test on children aged six and 10, for both frontal and side impacts.

Safety first: Mazda's new MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV plug-in hybrid SUV earned a maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests

Safety first: Mazda’s new MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV plug-in hybrid SUV earned a maximum five-star rating in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests

It now matches the highest score achieved by the all-electric MX-30 e-Skyactiv EV variant, which was tested in 2020.

“Both MX-30 derivatives score impressive results in all four Euro NCAP test categories,” said Mazda.

Revealed at the Brussels Motor Show in January, order books for the R-EV plug-in hybrid are now open for first deliveries in the summer. Prices start at £31,250.

Drivers aren’t sure what to do if the car skids

With millions of motorists facing icy and snow-covered roads this week, new research by Halfords shows that 69 per cent of UK motorists don’t know what to do if their car slips in icy conditions.

And only one in three are sure they know what to do if their vehicle starts to skid on a slippery road. Adding to the concern, more than a quarter (26 percent) do not know if their car is rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.

Snow joke: Only one in three are confident they know what to do if their vehicle starts to skid on a slippery road

Snow joke: Only one in three are confident they know what to do if their vehicle starts to skid on a slippery road

‘What drivers should do if their car’s slip is fundamentally different in a front-wheel-drive vehicle versus a rear-wheel-drive vehicle,’ Halfords notes. This means that many may end up doing the opposite of what they should if they start to lose control.

He adds, “Rear-wheel drive vehicles – common in premium brands such as BMW and Mercedes – are more likely to lose grip in icy conditions.”

More details at: www.halfords.com/tyres/advice/driving-on-ice.html

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