BYD Dolphin hatchback - Reliability & safety
“BYD might be an unknown entity in Europe, but it’s a household name in China”
BYD is trying to make its mark on Europe, and with prices for the Dolphin starting at just over £26,000, it has certainly done that. But it needs that USP – why else would you choose an unknown Chinese brand over a British, German or Italian equivalent, if it wasn’t for that lower list price?
Potential buyers concerned about reliability needn’t worry too much, however. The company recently surpassed Volkswagen for overall sales supremacy in its home market of China, selling millions of cars every year. There’s a good chance BYD builds the battery in your smartphone, too, so it’s certainly not short on expertise.
All BYD Dolphins come with an innovative Blade battery, which has undergone various stress tests to ensure its durability and safety in the event of an accident. It’s a core part of the car’s structure, too, which in theory should help the Dolphin’s higher-speed handling.
Most reassuringly, the Dolphin has bagged a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, helped by the fact the BYD comes loaded with active safety kit including autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning. There are also systems at the rear, to protect you when reversing out of a parking space, while on the motorway lane departure warning and lane-keep assist should keep most drivers out of trouble.
We did find these systems to be a bit intrusive at times, though we’re told that BYD is working on an over-the-air update to make these operate more effectively in the background – only making themselves known when absolutely necessary.
If you’re not completely convinced by a new-ish Chinese brand, then the solid warranty offering should bring peace of mind. All BYD Dolphins are covered by a six-year warranty, while the battery itself is safe from degradation for up to eight years. The sales network isn’t particularly established just yet, but the brand has big ambitions – with some well-known dealer groups already on board and looking to expand.