How to pronounce the name of this new brand? “Bide” Where “Baillede” ? The Chinese manufacturer’s officials have decided: it will be “Be Why Di”. Because Byd is the contraction of “Build your dreams” and for the brand, the dream resembles the three electric cars that will be unveiled at the next Paris Motor Show. Visitors to the Porte de Versailles will discover from October 17, the Tang SUV, a huge 4.87 m baby and the large Han sedan.
Two cars which are not really favored on the old continent and are destined rather for an American and Chinese career. Is Europe the kingdom of the compact SUV, the Peugeot 3008 or the Hyundai Tucson? So Byd concocted a third thief that is especially for us. And we were able to take the wheel for a few laps of a closed road around The Hague in the Netherlands.
But before switching on the ignition, a tour of the owner is essential. The general line of the machine is softer than that of a 3008, and less fun than that of a Citroën C5 Aircross. Byd did not want to upset the drawing board by proposing a car with a revolutionary style. His in-house design office has shown wisdom, with soft lines, able to blend into our landscapes. Wise lines which nonetheless remain harmonious in its 4.45 m. The lights, all led, are perfectly integrated into the chrome front face of the same plastic as those found on the third uprights.
Sage outside, extravagant inside
But this harmonious exterior, but all in all very classic, contrasts with a much more radical interior. Inside this Atto 3, all elements are treated in an original way. From the door handles reminiscent of the Citroëns of the sixties, to the dashboard in the shape of a shell, to the side pockets in the shape of a guitar, with its taut strings, the designers have let loose. This extravagance surprises when you discover it and makes you smile. Will it go out of style with everyday use? This is sometimes the problem of a design that is too assertive. In any case, if this interior can wear out the look, it should not wear out at all. Because not only are the materials used and the foamed plastics attached almost everywhere of very good quality, they are also perfectly assembled.
On the controls side, the screen fixed in front of the steering wheel is small, but delivers all the information essential to driving. The others are returned to the large 15.6-inch screen which can, with a simple pulse, switch to vertical mode, Byd’s little specialty. But if all the controls for air conditioning, infotainment or engine settings (sport, comfort or regeneration) are available via this panel, they can also be controlled using keys located on the central console.
Well treated in this breathtaking cabin, the driver can also count on smiling passengers, because they are particularly pampered. The back seat has surprisingly deep seats and there’s plenty of legroom. The trunk is not sacrificed for as much, and with its 440 l, figure in the good average of the kind. An additional hatch hides the charging cables that will allow the Atto 3 to connect to direct current up to 88 kW and to AC up to 11 kW. Result: 29 minutes are needed to reach 80% of the battery capacity, which reaches 60.4 kWh.
This battery, signed Byd, which is one of the world’s specialists in the genre, does not use conventional cells like most of its competitors, but blades which save space in height and partly explain the space available to edge. They also offer better efficiency, which the manufacturer estimates at 89.6%. These blades are attached to the floor of a new platform, called 3.0. Is it able to collect the 204 hp of the engine (also signed Byd) and its 310 Nm? Yes and no. Placed at the front (it’s a traction) the block offers a 0 to 100 km / h in 7.3 seconds and tears very correctly the 1,750 kg of the crew.
On the other hand, in the sequences of turns, certainly few on the test route, the SUV has a tendency to nod. Nothing really bad, but the American influence had its effect on the engineers in charge of developing the running gear. There is no point in switching to “sport” mode to correct this defect, since the suspensions are not controlled.
However, this softness of the suspensions is in no way prohibitive. After all, a family electric SUV isn’t really meant to make big attacks in the switchbacks of the Turini and if it climbs them, it’s only to admire the landscapes. Perfectly manufactured and perfectly in tune with the expectations of customers of this type of machine, it could well shake up the nascent market of zero-emission compact SUVs. Provided that its prices are attractive. To know them, you will have to wait a few more weeks since they will not be communicated before the Paris Motor Show.