BYD Dolphin Dynamic Review: Literally, It Is A Cute Dolphin

BYD Dolphin Dynamic Review: Literally, It Is A Cute Dolphin

Ronald Chua
Ronald Chua
25 Sep 2023
It carries a jovial and happy demeanour that is perfectly suited for a small hatchback and a city roundabout...
What we like:
pros
Cute & coherent design
pros
Interior space
pros
Comfortable
pros
Sprightly acceleration
What we dislike:
cons
Not a car to hurried around bends (but what for?)
cons
Build quality expected of an entry-level car

Look at the BYD Dolphin and it looks like it is smiling at you. It carries a jovial and happy demeanour that is perfectly suited for a small hatchback and a city roundabout.

In this shade of Maldive Purple, the Dolphin looks refreshing. It is one of the long awaited electric cars from BYD after having tried and awarded the BYD Atto 3 (150kW) OneShift’s Car of the Year 2022. The BYD Atto 3 (100kW) was just as impressive as its more powerful sibling which leaves the Dolphin with big shoes to fill.

What is the actual range of the BYD Dolphin?

The range of the BYD Dolphin is rated at 340km (WLTP) and 497km (WLTP-City). During the test, the BYD showed a range of 403km with a battery charge of 98%. Even after a day of hard driving (sorry, it is still an electric car after all!) and running errands on a Saturday, the Dolphin still reflected a range of 330km and a battery charge of 78% after driving the car for about 70km. This also included a lot of idling with the aircon on under the hot afternoon sun.

To those who are unsure, WLTP stands for Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure. The WLTP range is lower as the car is tested under 4 different conditions (city, town, rural and motorway) whilst WLTP-City is only tested under 2 conditions (city and town). The BYD Dolphin has a realistic range of more than 370km and is sufficient for the city commute in Singapore.

What are the advantages of the BYD Dolphin?

Adopting BYD’s ‘Ocean Aesthetics’ design concept, the Dolphin’s looks will appeal to a wide range of demographics. It exudes confidence, especially from the rear. The automotive market has seen a lot of designs that are aggressive and fierce in recent years but the Dolphin is a small electric car with a design language that will still look fresh and relevant throughout its product life.

Despite a small footprint of 4.29m, the BYD Dolphin has copious amounts of interior space due to the car’s short overhangs. With a wheelbase of 2.7m, this is larger than most small to mid-size family sedans in the market. BYD’s patented Blade Battery is positioned underneath BYD’s ePlatform 3.0 chassis, which also underpins the Atto 3.

What is the BYD Dolphin like to drive?

Very sufficient for city driving. On paper, the BYD Dolphin only has 94 hp and 180 Nm and takes 12.3s to 100km/h. Realistically, the car feels much faster than that when you accelerate from the lights thanks to the linear power delivery from the electric motors. It does not give you a shove in the back like the larger electric cars, but that is not the point of the BYD Dolphin. The car provides stress free driving around town and its brisk acceleration and cute looks will surprise many other drivers out there.

At highway speeds, the long wheelbase and soft damping ensure that the relatively short car does not jolt occupants too harshly. NVH levels are also decent for a entry-level model and it is a comfortable place to be in for the long commutes during peak hours.

It is around bends where you will quickly notice that the Dolphin was not engineered with sporting intentions in mind. Remember, this is an electric city car and it is engineered with efficiency and comfort as a top priority.

What are the features of the BYD Dolphin?

The car may be the entry-level model of the BYD line-up in Singapore but it retains many of the features found on its more expensive siblings. These include a standard suite of active safety features such as Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise control and more.

On the inside, the Dolphin also features BYD’s unique rotating 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The 360-degree surround view is also excellent and sharp and the image quality outperforms many competitors. However, in landscape mode, the large touchscreen does seem to block some of the airflow from the aircon vents.

I personally prefer the design integrity of the Dolphin’s interior as compared to the Atto 3. It feels more coherent, and the materials feel more durable than the Atto 3’s suede-like surfaces. The vegan leather seats are also of a similar feel and quality of its larger siblings.

What is the price of the BYD Dolphin?

The BYD Dolphin Dynamic retails for S$165,888 at the time of writing and it is the cheapest electric car available in the market. A result of Singapore’s COE and tax structures, the Dolphin is still a lot of money for a small electric hatchback. If I was in the market for an electric car, the BYD Atto 3 100kW retails for just S$11,000 more and is the better car especially when one is already paying so much for a new set of wheels. Don’t get me wrong, it's all about relativity and the Atto 3 is definitely a class above in the hierarchy of the BYD line-up.

Verdict

Fit-for-purpose and looks cute while at it.

Photos by New Gen Marketing

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