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BYD Dolphin (2023 Review)

Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.

We recently joined Irish BYD distributors MDL in the beautiful surroundings of Kildare’s K Club for a first drive of the new BYD Dolphin. This is a compact C-segment hatchback measuring 4,290 mm long, 1,570 mm high, and 1,770 mm wide. It offers generous proportions both inside and out and marks the first in the Ocean series of vehicles which will be soon followed by Seal. It will be available in a choice of four trim levels to include Active, Boost, Comfort & Design but rest assure, each Dolphin is equipped with a wide range of standard specifications. Right now Irish buyers can only pick between Comfort and Design model spec but that will change to include Boost and Active later in 2024. We will delve a little deeper into the difference in spec and powertrain further into this article.


So aside from the quirky styling which has been designed very much for the European market what do we see when we look inside the cabin? Dolphin has a modern and futuristic feel with space for five occupants. Up front you get sports seats with headrests made from vegan leather. These seats have 6-way electric adjustment for the driver and 4-way electric adjustment for the front passenger. Sitting into the drivers seat the shoulder and back support is noticeable offering great comfort and peering into the rear you can see generous legroom for passengers. Those rear seats in question split 60:40 to allow the 345-litre boot to expand to 1,310 litres when both seats are folded flat. As standard there is a 3.3kW external discharge ‘vehicle-to-load’ facility which can be used to charge accessories and power external devices. This will no doubt come in very handy for those who enjoy the odd camping trip.


Just like the ATTO 3 we featured earlier on in the year the Dolphin is built on BYD’s state-of-the-art e-Platform 3.0, and powered by their highly efficient 60.4 kWh LFP Blade Battery. This setup gives Dolphin 204hp and an impressive range of 427km (WLTP) with a 30% to 80% fast charging speed of 29 minutes.


As expected safety is a top priority for the Chineses manufacturer and buyers will find an abundance of safety and advanced driver assistance features. Cutting-edge lighting technology provides a broader beam of light to enhance visibility when driving at night, with High Beam Assist, Adaptive Front Headlights and Follow Me Home lighting as standard. All models come equipped with Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Brake, Lane Departure Prevention and Emergency Lane Keeping Assist. For those long drivers from coast to coast here in Ireland you will be happy to make use of the Adaptive and Intelligent Cruise Control. A panoramic camera gives the driver 360-degrees visibility for safe vehicle manoeuvring. Additional driver aids include Blind Spot Detection System, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill Decent Control, Automatic Vehicle Hold, and Traffic Sign Recognition.


Right now pricing here in Ireland begins from €29,318 after state subsidies for the Comfort model with the 427km range. The top of the range Design trim with the 17-inch alloys and panoramic roof comes in at €31,192. Later in 2024 these two variants will be joined by the entry Active model at a staggering €25,570 with a 340km range or the Boost for €26,507 with a 309km range. This should most certainly shake things up in the C-Segment.


Our journey was short but enjoyable around Kildare’s country roads. It feels very European to drive in the sense than it is robust, well put together and handles what the twisty Irish roads have to offer with ease. Power is plentiful with 204hp on tap and the linear surge out of each bend makes most combustion powered vehicles in this segment feel slow by comparison. Naturally some of the driver aids are a little intrusive on back roads as the lane departure system fights with the drivers lane discipline but these this is easily switched off on the vibrant screen with easily navigated menus. On our return to the K Club we took time out to sit in the rear, inspect boot size and generally inspect panel gaps from each angle of the Dolphin. Thankfully everything stacks up on this new entrant from BYD and we have no doubt it will be a successful entrant to the Irish market as we embark on 2024. Right now BYD dealerships in Dublin and Cork have taken delivery of the first batch of Dolphins and we urge you to take a test drive if you are considering an electric vehicle in the coming months.




Safety Features


Not a lot really!

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