Dolphin to make

waves in EV market

BYD Dolphin, 2023, front, action
BYD Dolphin, 2023, front
BYD Dolphin, 2023, nose
BYD Dolphin, 2023, side
BYD Dolphin, 2023, rear
BYD Dolphin, 2023, charging
BYD Dolphin, 2023, interior
BYD Dolphin, 2023, centre console
BYD Dolphin, 2023, facia controls
BYD Dolphin, 2023, display screen, horizontal
BYD Dolphin, 2023, display screen, vertical
BYD Dolphin, 2023, vent
BYD Dolphin, 2023, rear lights
BYD Dolphin, 2023, boot
BYD Dolphin, 2023, badge
BYD Dolphin, 2023, front seats, upholstery
BYD Dolphin, 2023, steering wheel
BYD Dolphin, 2023, rear seats
BYD Dolphin, 2023, door trim
BYD Dolphin, 2023, wheel

EV giant BYD is showing its mettle with the arrival of its Dolphin mid-sized hatchback in the UK.

It's the Chinese company's second model to go on sale in Britain following the launch of the Atto 3 SUV earlier in 2023 and forms part of BYD's huge global expansion plans.

The Dolphin is slightly longer than the likes of a Vauxhall Corsa Electric and uses BYD's home-grown Blade battery to give it a fully charge range of up to 265 miles.

For an electric car in this class that's an impressive distance and having just put the Dolphin through its paces we have no reason to doubt that.

In fact, the Dolphin has the potential to be a game changer in the electric market.

Come next year BYD will be fitting the new model with a less powerful battery and that version will be priced from £26,195 - almost a bargain among the current crop of EVs.

However, the first Dolphins to come to Britain will be in higher specification with a 60.4kWh battery that gives it greater range.

Recharging - done via a port on the front off-side wing - can be done from 30 to 80 per cent capacity in under half-an-hour from a fast charger, while a full charge from a home charger takes a little over six hours.

The Dolphin we sampled was the range-topping Design version priced from £31,695 - some £1,500 more than the Comfort model BYD is also offering with the 60.4kWh battery.

All versions of the Dolphin are well equipped and come with a range of safety aids including forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, rear collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and rear cross traffic brake, lane departure prevention and emergency lane keeping assist as well as adaptive cruise control and an intelligent cruise control system.

There's also blind spot detection, electronic stability control, traction control, hill decent control, automatic vehicle hold and traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed limit control.

The Design trim also adds a panoramic sunroof, privacy glass in the rear and wireless phone charging as well as a vehicle-to-load facility which allows for the car to be used to power external devices.

Top speed of the Design model is 99mph with a 0 to 62mph acceleration time of seven seconds and on the road the Dolphin is brisk enough with good ride and handling characteristics.

Four drive modes are available - eco, sport, normal and snow - which adjust the car accordingly giving plenty of options.

On the road, the Dolphin goes about its business in an unflustered manner. There's minimal road noise and little disruption when it comes to poor surfaces.

As the first model in BYD's new Ocean series the Dolphin's styling inside and out has been inspired by the marine mammal with plenty of curves in the design. There's even a wave pattern in the rear light signature.

The car measures 4.29 metres long, 1.77 metres wide and 1.57 metres high with a 2.7 metre wheelbase giving a good amount of space inside.

Boot capacity ranges from 345 litres to a maximum of 1,310 litres which is bigger than most of its EV rivals.

The interior is a classy affair with artificial leather in the trim and upholstery and a two-tone colour scheme which echoes exterior finish. There's also a two-tone colour effect on the wheels which is another stylish touch.

All models feature a 12.8-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash which can rotate from horizontal to vertical at the touch of a button and gives a splendid view of maps and other functions.

A five-inch TFT instrument sits on top of the steering binnacle and provides the necessary information about range, battery charge, speed and the like.

Below the central screen is a bank of seven touch controls for the heated rear window, hazard warning lights, drive modes and the like. At the ends of this panel are the gear selector on the right and the volume control for the audio.

The centre console is another stylish affair that includes cup holders, controls for the parking brake and auto hold function and the traction setting.

All versions of the Dolphin come with a heat pump which helps to improve the thermal efficiency of the battery by up to 15 per cent in the winter - and BYD says the Blade battery is designed to overcome the shortcomings of other EVs which can see a marked drop in range in cold weather.

With the centre console being such a dominant feature of any car interior, the BYD designers should be congratulated at what they have achieved.

Not only does it set off the cabin in fine fashion it is also practical, providing a good amount of storage space between the front seats.

In fact, there are more than 20 storage spots on board as well as USB ports front and rear and a good amount of legroom in the rear for a car of such proportions.

In every way the Dolphin has plenty of potential and is good enough to send warning signs to European brands that Chinese EVs can be serious alternatives.

All come with a six year, 93,750 mile overall warranty with the motor covered for eight years. The battery is guaranteed for eight years and 125,000 miles.

The Dolphin range will be completed next year with the arrival of Active and Boost trims fitted with 44.9kWh batteries giving them anticipated ranges of 211 and 193 miles respectively.

FAST FACTS

Dolphin to make waves in EV market

Price: £31,695

Mechanical: 204ps motor driving front wheels via automatic transmission

Max Speed: 99mph

0-62mph: 7.0 secs

Combined MPG: 265 miles

Insurance Group: 0

C02 emissions: TBA

Bik rating: 2%

Warranty: 6yrs/93,750 miles, 8yrs/125,000 miles battery

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