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BYD Dolphin (2023) review: nice and cheap, but these details could be just a little bit better -

With a price of less than 30,000 euros, the electric BYD Dolphin scares its smaller and more expensive European competitors. But there is also room for refinement on many small details.

What stands out about the BYD Dolphin (2023)?

BYD has already launched five models in just over a year; in addition to the Atto 3 WORLD and the Dolphin are the Tang, Han and Seal WORLD. Chinese brands seem to care less about family design. The Dolphin looks very different from the frivolous Atto 3, and the larger Seal is a completely different car.

The designers did not allow themselves much frills, the Dolphin looks unobtrusive and stocky. But appearances are deceiving, because the Dolphin is slightly longer than a Volkswagen ID.3. It shares its platform with the Atto 3. Its biggest competitor is the approximately equally expensive one MG4.


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What are the advantages of the BYD Dolphin (2023)?

With its starting price alone, it is interesting for the Dutch buyer. For 29,990 euros you cannot buy anything decent from the European, Korean and Japanese competition - and then you are also entitled to the SEPP subsidy of almost 3,000 euros. This will be maintained in 2024.

Moreover, for that money you get a car that is very well equipped. You don't have to pay anything extra for a heat pump - a final item on the standard equipment for European brands. Climate control, adaptive cruise control, 16-inch alloys and metallic paint are also standard on all versions. BYD is also proud of its in-house produced batteries. Because of the long, thin shape, BYD calls its cobalt-free batteries 'blades'. BYD says its blade battery can hold more than 50 percent more energy than traditional battery types.

We further compliment the seats with sufficient lateral support and pleasant suspension comfort; an electric car with a battery pack in the bottom is often a bit stiffly damped, but the Dolphin smoothly overcomes speed bumps. On the back seat, without the center tunnel that limits space in fuel cars, two adults who are not too tall can sit comfortably.

We drive the BYD Dolphin Comfort, with a 60.4 kWh battery (range: 427 kilometers) and an electric motor with 204 hp. All electric cars are fast and quiet, the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes place silently in just 7 seconds. You can set the degree of braking energy recovery, but even in the highest setting you cannot brake using the engine alone and you have to brake with the brake pedal.

What are the disadvantages of the BYD Dolphin?

On the highway, the front-wheel drive Dolphin is quiet and comfortable, but sporty drivers will not get their money's worth. The steering is a bit weak and numb. Furthermore, it is mainly details. The Dolphin has a series of physical buttons on the dashboard that are so touch sensitive that you often turn the radio off instead of louder or softer. In the infotainment system, the texts are sometimes so sloppily translated that you have no idea what is meant (see middle photo below).

The misses also apply to the ADAS safety systems, which are either overzealous or not fully awake. For example, the traffic sign recognition regularly indicates an incorrect speed, so that you always receive an annoying warning beep. The collision warning is alert like a worried mother and carries out an emergency stop a little too eagerly, even though you have actually seen the cyclist or car on the priority road.

And then there is a phenomenon that occurs more often in Chinese cars: the temperature indicated on the display does not correspond to the perceived temperature. Normally we are comfortable at 20 degrees, but in the Dolphin we tend to gather the heads of the district. We have to set the temperature to at least 23 degrees to make it somewhat pleasant. Moreover, demisting the windows is not fast enough for a modern car. And if we say salt to every snail: the sound of the stereo system is tinny.

What can we say about the price of the BYD Dolphin?

The price of the BYD Dolphin is 29,990 euros. In technical terms you have to make concessions, the entry-level Dolphin has a modest engine with 95 hp and a small battery of 44.9 kWh, which still manages to squeeze out a range of 340 kilometers. Three-phase charging is not possible, that is only possible from the BYD Dolphin Boost (price: 32,990 euros, power 177 hp). Fast charging is possible in both cases with a rippling 60 kW.

The price of our 204 hp and 310 Nm strong test car (Dolphin Comfort) is 35,490 euros, still an acceptable amount. At Fastned you can fast charge the Comfort with 88 kW, which is below the usual average. Charging the battery from 10 to 80 percent takes 40 minutes. In addition to the Comfort, there is one more variant. That is the richerly equipped Design (36,990 euros) with the same technical specifications.

What do I think of the BYD Dolphin?

The BYD Dolphin's shortcomings do not seem insurmountable: the Chinese have probably managed to fine-tune the safety systems, make the translation department work a little more precisely and fine-tune the buttons on the center console. The price of the BYD Dolphin is a strong selling point, as are its suspension and seating comfort and its space.

This post was last modified on December 1, 2023 9:12 am


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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