BYD Dolphin review: performance, motor & drive
At home in the city, the Dolphin’s light steering and soft suspension makes it easy to drive at a relaxed pace
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The BYD Dolphin offers what can be described as an ‘adequate’ driving experience; while it’s not particularly comfortable or sporty in any way, buyers should be satisfied with how easy the Dolphin is to drive and how the electric motors provide all the power you could really need to zip around town without any fuss.
BYD Dolphin 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
In time, there will be a trio of motors available to BYD Dolphin buyers. However, the first batch of cars are all high-spec Comfort or Design versions – and all come with the most powerful motor, putting out 201bhp and 310Nm of torque. Those figures, incidentally, are identical to a base-spec Volkswagen ID.3.
That's enough power to send the BYD Dolphin from 0-62mph in just seven seconds, and while there is a short delay between planting your right foot and the car launching forward, it still feels pretty fast. In fact, at times, the car can struggle to control its prodigious power – especially out of junctions or tight corners where you'll occasionally find the steering wheel wriggling about in your hands.
In 2024, entry-level versions of the Dolphin will arrive with a smaller battery pack and the choice of either 93bhp and 174bhp electric motors. BYD is yet to provide any performance statistics on either of these models, however, we doubt the base ‘Active’ 93bhp model will be winning any drag races - probably taking over 10 seconds to reach 62mph. 'Boost' models with their 174bhp output should feel much nippier, though, especially given the smaller, lighter battery.
During our time with the BYD Dolphin, we were pleasantly surprised by the car’s composure. Higher-spec models get a more complex rear suspension setup, and ride really nicely as a result, with just enough travel in the springs and dampers to hide the very worst road imperfections. There is a bit of body roll through faster changes of direction but the seats are well bolstered meaning you don't feel like you're being thrown around too much.
An MG4 is more dynamic – helped by its rear-wheel-drive layout – but few Dolphin buyers will be disappointed by the way the BYD drives. The steering is light and lacks feel, but there is plenty of precision and the compact footprint means the car is perfectly easy to place on the road.
One thing we’d wish for would be a stronger regenerative braking system. As it stands there are two settings: Standard and High. Neither offers much in the way of retardation; unfortunately, those who favour a one-pedal setup will be left wanting.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe BYD Dolphin may be one of the cheapest electric cars on sale, but it delivers in many areas – making it something of an EV bargain
- 2Range, battery & chargingBase Dolphin models offer a solid range considering the budget price tag, while top-spec cars have the ability to travel even further
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe BYD Dolphin is the cheapest electric car on sale, and should be equally inexpensive to run
- 4Performance, motor & drive - currently readingAt home in the city, the Dolphin’s light steering and soft suspension makes it easy to drive at a relaxed pace
- 5Interior, dashboard & infotainmentThe Dolphin’s funky interior and long equipment list help set it apart from rivals
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe BYD Dolphin is spacious for a supermini and can even function as a small family EV
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe BYD Dolphin uses tried-and-tested tech and while a safety rating is pending, it gets lots of driver assistance tech as standard