We’re putting the brand-new BYD ATTO 3 up against the more established MG ZS EV
The compact electric SUV market is on the up.
It makes sense: if you’re going to make the switch and buy an electric car rather than a petrol or diesel one, you want to go for something that’s practical for everyday life, with a decent range and good price tag.
And if that’s what you’re looking for, both the BYD and the MG tick the right boxes.
But should you buy the BYD ATTO 3 or the MG ZS EV?
The BYD ATTO 3 might have only been on our roads for a matter of months, but it’s already making a striking impression.
As a Kia Niro and MG ZS EV alternative, it’s built perfectly to slot into an already competitive market, with its over 250-mile range, compact dimensions and good looks. Though the looks can be deceiving – the ATTO 3 looks sleek and sharp from the outside, but the interior is where the fun is really had.
The MG ZS EV has been around longer, and has proven itself as a good EV.
It’s cheaper than rivals like the Kia Niro and Peugeot e-2008, but doesn’t lose any of the nice technological touches or comfort.
Value for money is a definite strong point for both vehicles – but which will come out on top?
The BYD ATTO 3 is the absolute definition of business on the outside, party on the inside.
Its sleek exterior looks can be a little deceiving: the interior of the BYD ATTO 3 is all fun, all the time. From neat little touches like the infotainment screen that can flip to portrait to landscape at the touch of a button, to more frivolous additions like the guitar strings on the door pockets.
And yes, you can create your own music using them.
The rest of the interior is very well put together, with plenty of swoopy lines on the dash and red stitching on the seats for some nice visuals. It all adds up to a very spacious feeling interior, despite the ATTO 3 being a more compact crossover.
There’s plenty of room in the back, with room for knees, elbows and feet.
Your rear seat passengers won’t feel like they’re missing out on the fun of the front either, with reading lights, USB ports and air vents to help keep them happy, entertained, and at a good temperature no matter where you’re heading off to.
The MG ZS EV is more subdued inside than the ATTO 3.
There are plenty of soft touch finishes that lend it a more premium feel, despite the more budget price tag, and MG haven’t binned off buttons completely – which some will be very glad to hear.
Thanks to the MG ZS EV’s clever packaging and storage, there’s plenty of room to stretch out in the front. The rear is the same story: more than enough space for three adults even on longer journeys, with plenty of room for legs and heads even with the optional panoramic sunroof fitted.
But if you’re after something that ticks all the sensible boxes without losing the fun, the BYD ATTO 3 is where it’s at.
Despite its more compact size, the ZS EV is still practical.
Inside the cabin, there are plenty of places to stash all your odds and ends, including large door pockets and some extra little cubby holes (not necessarily for snacks – but a good place for snacks).
The boot is a decent size and shape too. Not the biggest, but for the size of the car and the offering available in rivals, good.
The BYD ATTO 3 is also very practical, and perfectly suited to those with kids, dogs, or both.
The boot comes in at 440L, and it’s a good shape too. It’ll hold the weekly shop with ease and allow you to play everyone’s favourite game before a holiday: luggage tetris.
The floor is flat to make life easier when you’re loading bits in and out – we’ve all been to IKEA and bought more than what we went in for – and there’s a little space underneath the boot so you can hide away your charging cables and prevent them getting tangled up in all your stuff.
The cabin is also practical enough to handle daily life, with door pockets and little cubbies that’ll hold your stuff.
Technology and specifications
The tech is where the BYD ATTO 3 really shines.
And it’s not just the interior tech that you can interact with either.
BYD aren’t just a car manufacturer: they’re also one of the world’s biggest battery manufacturers, and have been building batteries for years for electric trains, buses, grid storage units, and more.
But it’s their ‘Blade Battery’ that is changing the electric game. Not only is it safer than many other batteries on the market, but it’s also been designed to use less space and be much more efficient, making the ATTO 3 the best performing it possibly can be.
Inside, the tech is just as good.
The touchscreen that dominates the dash can be flipped from portrait to landscape, depending on your preference, by either using a button on the screen itself, a physical button the steering wheel, or by saying ‘Hi BYD, rotate screen’.
The voice control itself works well and allows you to adjust nearly everything from the heated seats to what’s showing on the infotainment screen without having to take your eyes off the road or touch any buttons.
In terms of trims, there are currently two on offer in the UK: Comfort and Design. Both are very similar, and very well equipped as standard, coming with full driving assist, glass roof, a heat pump that helps preserve range in the winter, vehicle-to-load external power, adaptive headlights, heated front seats and an 11kW on-board charger.
Upgrade to Design and you’ll get a bigger touchscreen, electric tailgates, floor mats, and some funky disco cabin lighting for those all-important car-aoke moments.
The MG ZS EV is a well-rounded car, but it can’t quite match the ATTO 3 for innovative tech.
It comes with plenty of tech as standard, including a 10.1in touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, and smartphone mirroring so you can use your favourite apps – like Google Maps and Waze – on the go.
It also gets rear parking sensors and a 360-degree parking camera across the range, which considering its price point, is a nice touch.
There are two trims on offer, as well an entry-level battery model and a Long Range variant. It’s a bit like a pick ‘n’ mix though, and both the smaller and the larger battery are available with both trim levels.
SE, the entry-level model, is nicely equipped, coming with keyless entry, integrated satnav, smartphone connectivity, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, and a plethora of driver aids – including automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.
Step up to the Trophy spec, and you’ll also benefit from blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic wipers, wireless smartphone charging, an upgraded audio system and MG’s iSmart live services (with weather and traffic updates).
The ATTO 3 is only offered with BYD’s advanced 60.5kWh Blade Battery, but this is good for a range of 260 miles.
And BYD have done their research – 260 miles is perfect to keep costs down while allowing you to drive a decent distance before you’d need to stop and recharge. Realistically, it’s not often you’d be driving this over a single day anyway.
As long as you can charge up a couple times a week, you’ll have no issues using the ATTO 3 as your daily runaround.
The MG ZS EV has two choices when it comes to battery size and range.
You can either go for the entry-level model with its 51kWh battery, claimed 198-mile range and slightly cheaper price tag, or pay out more and get the Long Range model with a 72.6kWh battery and 273-mile range.
But for that sweet spot between range and price, the BYD ATTO 3 comes out on top every time.