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Better Standard? – BYD Dolphin Standard Range Review

It seems like just yesterday that BYD arrived in New Zealand. What started with the ATTO 3 SUV, the all-electric BYD family has swelled to incorporate the Dolphin hatch and the most recent addition, the new Seal sports saloon.

The range has built a solid customer base and while I have yet to sample the likes of the new Seal, both the ATTO 3 and Dolphin Extended Range had plenty going them. In regards to the latter, you do pay a premium for an extra 80kms of range, but will the standard range Dolphin still provide all you need from an urban EV for less dough?

The BYD Dolphin Standard Range kicks off at $49,990 which undercuts the Extended’s $55,990. Having an EV hatch with a sub $50k price tag is always a good thing, especially as that Clean Car Rebate is now a thing of the past.

According to WTLP figures, the Dolphin Standard Range will give you, well, a standard electric range of 340kms over the Extended’s claimed 427kms. This is down to a slightly smaller blade battery pack of 45kWh instead of 60.48kWh which also brings combined power down from 150kW to 70kW and 180Nm of torque instead of 310Nm.

The Dolphin is compatible with both AC and DC fast charging, with the latter option giving you 80 per cent charge from 30 per cent is half an hour which is certainly impressive. The Dolphin is the first BYD product to incorporate their ‘Ocean Aesthetics’ design philosophy. There are plenty of sharp angles and creased lines fore and aft and the flowing contours which traverse the length of the car are a nice touch too.

It’s a clean cut design and features like the LED daytime running lights and rear full-width light bar are further great styling cues. The Standard’s 16-inch alloys also don’t look half bad either.

Inside you have a cabin of contemporary functionality. I believe there is also the right amount of buttons on display for you to use without leaving the cabin feeling too sparse or cluttered. Details light the floating centre console which houses your wireless charging pad feels well positioned the 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes centre stage and is within easy reach.

You also have the ability to rotate said screen to landscape or portrait view, a feature which is rather commonplace in BYD products but still entertaining for your passengers. That said, any item stored on the small pad beneath the screen is liable to feel the pressure as the screen rotates around. Think twice about leaving your phone here.

Talking of space, there are plenty of hidey holes and places to store stuff and while the boot, at 310L is not the roomiest of offerings, you can still drop the second row to accommodate 1310L of whatever. Head and legroom is decent and the Standard still has those thick A-pillars I found when I tried the extended last year.

The Dolphin is still gadget packed with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, that aforementioned wireless charging, a 360-degree reversing camera, heated seats, DAB digital radio, spotify connectivity and safety gear like forward collision warning, driver fatigue monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, rear collision warning, traffic sign recognition rear cross traffic alert and lane departure prevention to name a few.

Select drive via the console mounted gear selector toggle switch. It requires an assertive twist to get it to engage but you do get used to it and it becomes second nature before long. The Dolphin Standard range is 100kg lighter than the Extended and it does feel ever so slightly sprightlier on the move but it’s not really a point and shoot thrill ride EV. Its bag is sitting at a sedate cruise and not partaking in anything too sporty if it can help it.

Sport mode wakes things up a tad, but in the corners, much like the Extended, it feels soft.  However, ride comfort is a lovely blend of feeling supple and plush. Braking regeneration can be changed from standard to high. I found myself leaving it on the latter for much of the time as I just wish there was a stronger feeling of energy being sent back to the battery when you lift off.

Not an adrenalin fuelled thrill ride then? Well, it was never supposed to be. Basically treat the Dolphin as a commuter or relaxing day tripper and you will be rewarded. You have a large windscreen to give you excellent forward visibility and those leatherette seats hold you nicely in place ready to tackle that 5pm traffic.

With an 8-year 150,000km warranty and BYD currently giving a $2,000 cash-back offer, the Dolphin still presents good buying when you factor in the kit and what it can do as an all-electric daily driver. Personally, I don’t think you need to fork out the extra dough for the Extended over the Standard. This entry level model’s power and range is more than ideally suited for the kind of driving most Dolphin buyers will be doing.

With is polished stance and levels of kit on hand, not to mention one of the most refined electric power units at this price point, the BYD Dolphin Standard range will make sense for plenty of buyers.

RATING 7.5/10

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