BYD Dolphin review: running costs & insurance
The BYD Dolphin is the cheapest electric car on sale, and should be equally inexpensive to run
Annual CC cost (20%/40%)
Aside from the soon-to-be-discontinued Smart EQ ForTwo and electric quadricycles like the Citroen Ami, the BYD Dolphin is effectively the cheapest electric car you can buy, starting from just over £26,000. While this is only slightly less than an MG4 EV, the BYD feels much more premium than that car – more on that in our ‘interior, dashboard & infotainment’ section.
BYD Dolphin insurance group
Insurance groups for the BYD Dolphin are yet to be announced, but it’s worth noting that its larger sibling, the BYD Atto 3, occupies the rather high groups 40 and 41, making it more expensive to insure than other electric SUV rivals.
BYD is a relatively unknown brand here in the UK, despite being a household name back in China. Prospective buyers will find peace of mind in the Dolphin’s four-year, 70,000-mile warranty, though. BYD’s patented ‘blade’ battery also gets its own separate cover, which extends to eight years and 125,000 miles. This is all competitive with the seven years of cover offered by Kia and beats out the three-year manufacturer warranty that spans the majority of the Dolphin’s rivals.
Service schedules for the BYD Dolphin are yet to be determined, but electric cars usually require less maintenance than petrol models due to having fewer moving parts. Despite being an unknown entity on this side of the globe, BYD already has four service centres in the UK, with plans to open more over the coming years.
Not only is the BYD Dolphin cheap to buy but, like all electric cars, it benefits from zero road tax (VED) until 2025. That’s not all, as company car drivers could pay as little as £105 per year in Benefit-in-Kind tax, given the Dolphin falls into the lowest 2% bracket. Mid-spec comfort models will only cost slightly more at £121 per year, while no matter which model you choose, all Dolphin drivers can enter the London Congestion Charge and Ultra-Low Emissions (ULEZ) zones for free.
The BYD Dolphin is a new model for the Chinese brand, so we’re yet to discover how well it’ll hold up in terms of depreciation. Things are looking promising, though; the similarly-priced MG4 is forecast by industry experts to hold onto between 50-54% of its value over three years and 36,000 miles, while the Dolphin’s larger sibling, the BYD Atto 3, is predicted to retain roughly 57% of its value over the same period – slightly above average for the class.
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 & insurance - currently readingThe BYD Dolphin is the cheapest electric car on sale, and should be equally inexpensive to run
- 4Performance, motor & driveAt 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