The BYD Atto 3, launched yesterday as the first model of the Chinese EV specialist in Malaysia, is quite some car for RM150k. The exterior design is modern and neat, but it’s the SUV’s cabin that has the most fascination points. From its highly sculpted muscly dashboard to the twist door handles and “guitar strings” door pockets – the Atto 3 has a certain wow factor.

And that’s before you adjust the air con hoops, rotate the centre touchscreen from landscape to portrait, and sink into those super comfy seats. There’s more, as you’ll see in the walk-around video below. In it, Hafriz Shah – a man who has experienced plenty of cars – shows his surprise as he points out the BYD’s unique touches.

Official distributor BYD SD Motors Malaysia (BYD SDM, part of Sime Darby Motors) is offering two variants of the Atto 3, the Standard Range with a 49.92 kWh battery offering 410 km of range (NEDC, 345 km WLTP), and the Extended Range with a 60.48 kWh battery, rated for 480 km (NEDC, 420 km WLTP).

The SR is priced at RM149,800 while the ER will set you back RM167,800. Prices for this CBU EV are duty exempted, on-the-road excluding insurance. The final prices are slightly lower than the pre-booking estimates of RM150k and RM170k. A “Grand Launch Special” introductory package adds on a free portable home charger, free V2L extension cable and RM1,000 worth of public charging credit.

Both in-house Blade EV batteries are connected to a front-mounted electric motor rated at 204 PS/310 Nm. 0-100 km/h acceleration is 7.3 seconds for both. This means that only range and kit separates SR and ER.

The Atto 3 is built on 400V architecture and supports AC charging (Type 2) up to 7 kW as well as DC fast charging (CCS2), the latter at a max rate of either 70 kW (SR) or 80 kW (ER). At the higher input rate, 0-80% state of charge can be reached in 45 minutes. The car has a V2L function to power other devices.

By the way, if you’re wondering about the Atto 3’s size, it’s larger than a Proton X50. At 4,455 mm long and 1,875 wide, the BYD EV is 125 mm longer than Proton’s B-segment SUV, and 75 mm wider. The Atto 3’s 2,720 mm wheelbase is 120 mm longer than the X50’s. The EV’s 440L boot is 110L larger than the our ICE benchmark. By the way, the 1,750 kg ER is 70 kg heavier than the SR.

Equipment wise, the Atto 3 SR comes with a panoramic sunroof, heated electric wing mirrors, 5.0-inch digital instrument panel, faux leather seats, six-way powered driver’s seat (four-way for passenger), 360-degree camera, tyre pressure monitor, electronic parking brake with auto hold, LED headlamps and rear lights and adaptive front lights.

Also on are a 12.8-inch rotating touchscreen (landscape or portrait, not angle), auto air con and an NFC key card (wave at wing mirrors). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is wireless – the former is onboard now while AA will be available in Q2 2023. Spotify is already present, though. You’ll also get a built-in dashcam and six speakers.

The ER adds on an electronic tailgate, multi-colour gradient rhythmic ambient lighting on the door handles (single colour on the SR) and eight speakers with “Dirac HD” sound, PM2.5 air filter and a wireless phone charger. From the outside, the ER can be differentiated by its 18-inch wheels and 215/55 Batman tyres. Yes, Batman. The SR rides on 215/60 R17 rubber.

Safety wise, it’s very comprehensive on this five-star Euro NCAP rated car, and both SR and ER get the same kit. Six airbags plus an centre side airbag for the driver (inside shoulder), full ADAS with stop and go for the ACC and door open warning are standard. Isofix child seat mounts are on the two outer rear seats.

So, what do you think of the BYD Atto 3? Rivals in the entry-level full EV arena are the Hyundai Kona Electric (RM156k to RM208k) and perhaps the base 58 kWh Lite version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (RM207k). Great Wall Motors’ Ora Good Cat was launched last month, priced from RM139,800 to RM169,800. Older EV names that have been somewhat forgotten include the latest Renault Zoe (RM163k) and the OG of EVs, the Nissan Leaf.

Click to enlarge spec sheet

Once again, the Atto 3 starts from RM149,800 for the Standard Range while the Extended Range goes for RM167,800. The factory warranty is six years or 150,000 km, while the in-house LFP Blade EV battery’s separate warranty is for eight years or 160,000 km. There’s another separate warranty for the drive unit – eight years or 150,000 km for the motor, motor controller, DC assembly and electric control assembly.

Lastly, there are five colours – Ski White, Boulder Grey, Forest Green, Parkour Red and the signature Surf Blue in the video – and the interior is in a breezy Eclipse Blue/Hazy Grey combo.

The BYD Grand Launch event is open to the public from today till Sunday, and you can come over and experience the Atto 3 for yourself, as well as BYD’s tech showcase. Details here. The Seal and Dolphin EVs, which are set for a late-2023 debut, are also in the big white dome. Click the links to read more.

GALLERY: BYD Atto 3 Extended Range

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