BYD logo

The BYD Dolphin is a competitively-priced  five-door hatchback that is fully electrified. There is a wide choice of trim levels and customers can select from two differing batteries that will affect the driving range and performance of the car.

BYD Dolphin Design side
BYD Dolphin Design rear
BYD Dolphin Design interior

The good

Style, practicality, range and value for money

The bad

Brand snobbery may put buyers off

Tech Specs

Price from
Combined Fuel up to
Up to 265 miles range
0-62 from
7.0 seconds
max speed up to
co2 from

Test Drive

BYD Dolphin Design (2024)

BYD, or Build Your Dreams as they are officially known, is a Chinese carmaker that specialises in electric-only vehicles and they are certainly making a great impression on British motorists.

We were initially introduced to the brand with the Atto 3 SUV and this was swiftly followed by the BYD Dolphin – a five-door hatchback with plenty of appeal. And it’s that car we are testing in range-topping Design specification.

Customers can choose from four trim levels called Active, Boost, Comfort and Design with the entry-level cars featuring a 44.9kWh battery with an estimated driving range between charging of 211 miles for Active and 193 miles for Boost. Both Comfort and Design models are equipped with a larger 60.6kWh battery pack and can deliver up to 265 miles between charges.

Prices start from £26,195 and rise to £31,695, which was the cost of our test car and there were no unexpected hidden extras to factor in either.

The Dolphin is a neatly styled model that, according to BYD official sources, is “distinctive from every angle, due to its rounded profile and side silhouette resembling the graceful lines of a leaping dolphin”. We couldn’t quite see that image to be honest, but we could see an eye-catching car with its own character and distinctive looks.

It featured two-tone paintwork, sweeping light clusters with LED daytime running lights, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, the full name BUILD YOUR DREAMS spelt out across the rear light bar and 17-inch tri-colour alloys.

The interior is thoroughly modern and surprisingly upmarket for the asking price with vegan leather upholstery throughout. The seats can be heated and are power-adjustable making it easy to find that perfect driving position.

The main nerve centre is a 12.8-inch infotainment screen that can be rotated 90 degrees from landscape to portrait at the press of a button. This is the access point to on-board features such as the sat nav, six-speaker Dynaudio Performance sound system with DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connection and lots more besides. In addition, the intelligent voice assistant can be summoned by saying “Hi BYD” and it can help with a number of tasks too.

Behind the steering wheel is a compact five-inch driver information display which clearly shows data such as driving range, battery charge and current speed.

So, the front-wheel drive BYD Dolphin looks great from any angle and boasts a wealth of on-board tech, but how does it cope when put through its paces on the road? The answer is very well indeed.

Our model featured the 60.4kWh battery pack and a 204PS electric motor with 310Nm of torque which resulted in a 0-62mph sprint time of just 7.0 seconds and a maximum speed of 99mph.

While most owners will not be thrashing the car with hot-hatch expectations, it’s reassuring to know it has that instant turn of pace if needed, such as joining a motorway with fast-moving traffic or overtaking slower cars.

We tested the Dolphin on a varied road route incorporating country lanes, motorways and busy town centres, and the WLTP-tested range of 265 miles seemed really accurate and close to the mark.

The car was nicely balanced through twisting B roads with good grip and little sign of body sway provided tight bends were not attacked too eagerly. It cruised effortlessly at 70mph on motorways and the light-ish steering was really practical in busier settings with lots of manoeuvring.

There are drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport with Sport adding an edge to the performance while Eco will see the best efficiency.

The car’s suspension is fairly soft so it tends to absorb bumps and dips well and, while the cabin is well insulated, you will notice more wind and tyre rumble noise at higher speeds.

One thing worth mentioning is the brake pedal. It does take a little getting used to as you seem to press down quite hard before it bites and the brakes come into force. And the other slight gripe was the active lane keep assist set-up which is fairly aggressive and will drag you back into your lane.

On a practicality front, the Dolphin is like the TARDIS inside with bundles of space up front for a couple of six footers to stretch out and ample room in the back for another two adults (three at a squeeze). It would be ideal for a trio of youngsters though and there are two Isofix anchors in the back and one in the front passenger seat to secure child seats.

The boot, accessed via a manual tailgate, can swallow 345 litres of luggage which increases to 1,310 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats lowered. Our car had a removable rubber mat that would be really handy if you are carrying muddy gear and there are plenty of additional storage options throughout the car. These include a large area between the front occupants, a glovebox, door bins, seat back pockets, non-slip trays and a wireless charging pad.

On the subject of charging, the car features an 11kW 3-phase on-board charger for AC charging as standard which gives the Dolphin Design’s 60.4kWh battery a zero to 100 per cent charge in 6 hours, 12 minutes. Alternatively, it can also be fast-charged with a maximum of 150kW and this will result in a 30 to 80 per cent boost in 29 minutes or zero to 80 per cent in 43 minutes.

With families in mind, the BYD Dolphin needs to be a safe choice and its wealth of safety kit and driver assistance aids helped it secure a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Features include predictive collision warning, front cross traffic alert and brake, rear cross traffic alert and brake, blind spot detection, emergency lane keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and plenty more besides.

All in all, the BYD Dolphin is a cracking family car that is big on style and technology, drives well, has an impressive range between charges and even comes with an attractive price-tag that won’t break the bank.