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BYD Dolphin undercuts MG4 to become one of the UK’s cheapest EVs

Chinese electric car maker BYD has unveiled its new hatchback to rival the Vauxhall Corsa Electric

BYD Dolphin - front dynamic

Few people in the UK have heard of the Chinese car maker BYD but that’s about to change. The BYD Atto 3 SUV is already on sale and comments have been made regarding both its slightly silly name and the ‘Build Your Dreams’ legend emblazoned across its tailgate.

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Well, BYD is back with another entry into the UK car market, one that arguably boasts an even more ridiculous name. The BYD Dolphin has arrived but rivals could soon be laughing on the other side of their faces as a starting price of just £25,490 makes it the UK’s second cheapest electric car.

Sitting below the Atto 3 in the brand’s lineup, the BYD Dolphin is a small electric family car to rival the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric, Peugeot 208 and Ora Funky Cat. It’s also a competitor for the MG4, which up until the Dolphin’s arrival held the position as the UK’s second-cheapest EV, beaten only by the tiny Smart EQ fortwo.

At launch, three powertrain setups will be offered; entry-level Dolphin Active models will get a 44.9kWh version of BYD’s patented ‘blade’ battery pack, as well as a 94bhp electric motor. This, the maker claims, will offer a range of up to 211 miles. Step up to the ‘Boost’ model and this adds more sophisticated rear suspension and ups power to 174bhp, although range drops slightly to 193 miles.

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Top-spec Dolphin Comfort and Design cars get an even more punchy 201bhp motor on the rear axle, as well as a larger 60.4kWh battery for a range of up to 265 miles. Performance figures for the BYD Dolphin range are yet to be revealed, but the Chinese brand has stated that the electric hatchback’s 88kW DC rapid charging capability will allow for a 30-80% top-up of the battery in 29 minutes. A heat pump for added efficiency in the winter months and an 11kW AC on-board charger also come as standard.

Despite its funky name, the BYD Dolphin is far from the most head-turning EV, with a relatively subtle exterior design – the only real highlights being the rear light bar and cheesy ‘Build Your Dreams’ script on the bootlid.

Inside, things couldn’t be more different; the BYD Dolphin’s interior certainly has wow-factor, with vegan leather upholstery, heated seats and plenty of flashy bits of trim. No doubt the highlight, however, is the standard-fit central touchscreen which can rotate from landscape to portrait orientation at the press of a button. 

More standard kit includes a multitude of driver aids such as blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree camera. BYD also says the Dolphin’s 345-litre boot should be able to fit four cabin suitcases and can be expanded to 1,310 litres by folding the 60:40-split rear seats.

The BYD Dolphin is set to go on sale later in the summer, with prices ranging from £25,490, all the way to £30,990 for top-of-the-range Design models. First deliveries are expected to arrive towards the end of 2023.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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