car news car tests

Review – BYD Dolphin, too good to be true?

June 23, 2023

BYD new? Well no!

Nice of you to read this BYD Dolphin review. Out of nowhere, BYD seems to have jumped out of the water before coming ashore on European soil. The Chinese brand is also pushing hard in the Netherlands. But a truly new player it is not. Indeed, BYD has been a well-known player in the world of electric cars for years. The company is comparable in size to Toyota and produces millions of cars a year. So really, it was time for BYD to do something with passenger cars in Europe.

The brand – BYD stands for Build Your Dreams – began in Europe with a BYD Atto 3, a counterpart to the Volkswagen ID.3. Next came the BYD Han – a cheaper Tesla Model S – and the BYD Tang, as a hefty electric SUV. In turn, the BYD Seal is a counterpart to the Tesla Model 3. But for many Dutch people, those cars are out of reach. Why? Simple: too expensive.

BYD's lineup: Tang, Dolphin, Seal, Atto 3 and the Han.

Affordable electric car

The Netherlands is waiting for an affordable electric car. Dacia understood this well and came up with a Spring Electric. You could first drive it for about 18 grand, later it became 21 grand. With must-have options – such as 30 kW fast charging – you’re already at 25 grand. Nice thing about Spring, but a bit simple.

The MG 4 Electric was already more in the right direction. A spacious adult hatchback, but in terms of ease of operation, there is still room for improvement. Now that BYD is coming out with an affordable electric EV – the Dolphin – we are extremely curious about that car. Because 29,990 euros for a BEV with standard heat pump, decent interior space, a decent infotainment system, fast-charging capabilities and a decent range: that must be music to many people’s ears, right?

Lineup BYD Dolphin

Of course, such a relatively low starting price always communicates nicely in the brochure, but as a consumer you have to look carefully at exactly what you are buying. There are important caveats to be made about the BYD Dolphin. Before we do, let’s mention prices. That helps to get a good idea of the lineup. The private lease rate is based on a term of 72 months and 5,000 kilometers per year, including VAT.

BYD DOLPHIN Active 45 kWh

BYD DOLPHIN Boost 45 kWh

BYD DOLPHIN Comfort 60 kWh

BYD DOLPHIN Design 60 kWh

Well, you have that overview now. So the two top versions – the Comfort and Design – already have a price tag of 36 to just under 38 grand. Now comes some points of interest. For the BYD Dolphin, there is a choice of two so-called Blade Batteries of 45 kWh and 60 kWh. A heat pump is standard on all versions, which is top notch.

The instrument panel is familiar from the Atto 3.

Range BYD Dolphin

The 45 kWh battery has a WLTP range of 340 km for the Active variant and 310 km for the Boost version. The larger 60 kWh boosts that driving range to 427 km (WLTP). Excellent numbers. Fast charging is possible, but there is a difference with what charging power it can do. The Active and Boost can fast charge at 60 kW, which is still acceptable. The more expensive Comfort and Design achieve 88 kW.

Active and Boost have one major drawback: single-phase charging

So what is there to complain about? There is an important reason to leave the Active and Boost. Those can charge at a normal charging station only with 7 kW single-phase. In view of residual value but especially in view of ease of use to charge quickly, you better go for an electric car that can charge at a normal charging station with 11 kW three-phase. Only Comfort and Design can do that. Okay, so not 30 grand but pay at least 36 grand so? Yes, exactly. To anticipate the pain: you can use SEPP subsidy on all versions. That can save a few thousand euros on the purchase price or private lease rate.

A long wheelbase!

Adult driving

So the stated starting price seems like a strong point of the Dolphin, but in practice you have to be very aware of what you are buying. Fortunately, there is also a lot of positive to report about this BYD. Because except for that one-stage point, this is a car where you can only be happy. It is on the same e-Platform 3.0 of the Atto 3. This results in a very mature ride. In fact, the car’s suspension is very comfortable. Some people may find it a little too soft, but we like it. You really unwind in the car. Although, due to various safety systems, you regularly hear beeps. For example, if you drive just two kilometers per hour too fast, briefly touch a solid line or drive a little too short past a roadside bollard. Fortunately, some can be disabled. It is often the result of legally required systems, and there is little BYD can do about that. With most systems off anyway: not a single creak or rattle in the car. This car gives a very solid feeling!

BYD Dolphin dimensions

The BYD Dolphin has a length of 4.27 meters, a width of 1.77 meters and a height of 1.57 meters. The wheelbase is 2.70 meters, which is hefty. As a result, the Dolphin can accommodate five people and the luggage compartment has a capacity of 345 liters. The rear seats can be folded down at a 60:40 ratio, increasing the luggage space to a maximum of 1,310 liters. The seats have a fine seat and provide adequate body support.

The boot.

Driver assistance systems

Things like 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 are all standard. On request, you can also get it with adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera. BYD has also considered systems such as blind spot monitoring, electronic stability control, traction control, Hill Decent Control and traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed limitation. In short: the complete package.

As you have already seen with the prices: the BYD Dolphin comes in Active, Boost, Comfort and Design versions. The Active and Boost have become less interesting by definition because of the single-phase charging option. Had that been three-phase, BYD would have been golden.

The front of the BYD Dolphin.


The Active comes standard with a 70 kW (95 hp) electric motor, metallic paint, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting, vegan faux leather, power seat adjustment, keyless entry/start and Climate control. Even a rotatable 12.8-inch touchscreen is standard, as is a 4G data connection. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included.


The Boost has a 130 kW (177 hp) electric motor, considerably more power. Other extras compared to the Dolphin Active are the multilink rear suspension and 17-inch bi-color alloy wheels. But yes, again: single-stage.


Then on to the Comfort and Design versions. The Comfort comes with the most powerful electric motor in the range: 150 kW (204 hp). It has all the features already mentioned, as well as extras. Think power folding door mirrors, front seat heating, six speakers and two dual USB C ports with 60 W connections.


The top model of the range is the Design. That one still has two-tone paint, a panoramic roof with power blinds, rear privacy glass, a wireless charger for smartphones and a Vehicle-to-Load feature that lets you power other devices.

Warranty and delivery

Also handy to know: each model comes with a 6-year general warranty and an 8-year powertrain and battery warranty. Sales begin in summer 2023 and delivery of Comfort and Design versions begin in the fourth quarter of 2023. The 45 kWh Active and Boost versions will follow in the first quarter of 2024. So the versions that matter right now are available first. There is still SEPP funding. By 2023, that’s nearly 3,000 euros on a new electric car. So if you want a Comfort or Design, you need to strike quickly.

Riding in the BYD Dolphin in beautiful surroundings.

Conclusion review BYD Dolphin

As far as we are concerned, the Active and Boost become interesting only if BYD removes the single-phase charging system and replaces it with a three-phase system. BYD, just do it. If necessary, throw 500 euros on the starting price. The rest of the car is correct. Indeed, the BYD Dolphin is a dolphin car. A breakthrough even, as it is one of the first battery-electric cars where, as a buyer, you immediately get a lot of interior space and equipment. Also not unimportant: a responsive infotainment system with a good control structure. Almost perfect, then. Almost.

BYD Dolphin