How do you pronounce the name of this new brand? “Stay” Where “Baillede” ? Those responsible for the Chinese manufacturer have decided: it will be “I Know Why Say”. Because Byd is the contraction of “Build your dreams” and for the brand, the dream resembles the three electric cars that will be presented at the next Paris Motor Show. Visitors to the Porte de Versailles will discover from October 17 the Tang SUV, a huge 4.87m baby and the large Han sedan.
Two cars that are not very favored in the old continent and are destined rather for an American and Chinese race. Is Europe the kingdom of compact SUVs, the Peugeot 3008 or the Hyundai Tucson? So Byd invented 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 turning on the ignition, an owner tour is essential. The overall line of the machine is smoother than a 3008, and less fun than a Citroën C5 Aircross. Byd did not want to upset the drawing board by proposing a car with a revolutionary style. His internal design studio has shown wisdom, with smooth lines, capable of blending in with our landscapes. Wise lines that nevertheless remain harmonious in its 4.45 m. The lights, all LED, are perfectly integrated into the chrome front face made of the same plastic as those found on the third uprights.
Wise on the outside, extravagant on the inside
But this harmonious, but ultimately very classic, exterior contrasts with a much more radical interior. Inside this Atto 3, all the elements are treated in an original way. From the door handles reminiscent of 1960s Citroëns, to the clamshell dashboard, to the guitar-shaped side pockets with their taut strings, designers have given free rein. This extravagance surprises when you discover it and makes you smile. Will it go out of style with daily use? This is sometimes the problem of a design that is too assertive. In any case, if this interior can wear down the look, it shouldn’t wear down at all. Because not only are the materials used and the foam plastics glued almost everywhere of very good quality, but they are also perfectly assembled.
On the controls side, the screen fixed in front of the steering wheel is small, but it provides all the essential driving information. The others return to the large 15.6-inch screen that can, with a simple press, switch to portrait mode, Byd’s little specialty. But if all controls for air conditioning, infotainment or engine settings (sport, comfort or regeneration) are available through this panel, they can also be controlled using keys located on the center console.
Well treated in this impressive cabin, the driver can also count on smiling passengers, because they are particularly pampered. The rear seat has surprisingly deep seats and there’s plenty of legroom. The trunk is not sacrificed as much, and with its 440 l, it is in the good average of the class. An additional hatch hides the charging cables that will allow the Atto 3 to connect to DC power up to 88kW and AC up to 11kW. Result: It takes 29 minutes to reach 80% of the battery capacity, which reaches 60.4 kWh.
This battery, signed by Byd, which is one of the world specialists in the genre, does not use conventional cells like most of its competitors, but blades that save space in height and partly explain the space available for edging. 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 capable of collecting the 204 hp of the engine (also signed Byd) and its 310 Nm? Yes and no. Placed in the front (it is a traction) the block offers a 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and starts the 1,750 kg of the crew very well.
On the other hand, in the turning sequences, admittedly few in the test drive, the SUV has a tendency to pitch. 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 by no means prohibitive. After all, a family electric SUV isn’t really meant to make big attacks on the Turini’s curves, and if it climbs them, it’s just to admire the scenery. Perfectly built and perfectly in tune with customer expectations for this type of machine, it could well revolutionize the nascent zero-emission compact SUV market. As long as their prices are attractive. To know them, we will have to wait a few more weeks since they will not be communicated before the Paris Motor Show.
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