COTY class winner 2023: BYD Dolphin is the best BEV of the year

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BYD is a battery specialist, so it’s only fitting that its Dolphin hatch is our best battery electric vehicle (BEV) for 2023. You’ll note it even beat our COTY-winning MG4 in this particular category – for a number of very good reasons.

BYD Dolphin, class winner COTY 2023.
FWD Dolphin is a comfy city car and proud of it.

You cannot ignore BYD’s standout Blade battery technology in a BEV context: it’s well-proven in terms of durability and safety. Tesla certainly thinks so: it’s now using BYD Blade packs in some Chinese-market models.

We also like the way BYD is trying to open up BEV tech to distinctly different markets. There’s a budget Dolphin with a smaller battery, less power and even less sophisticated suspension tailored especially for the fleet market, while the longer-range and more luxurious model is for the private buyer.

If you like your BEV to look like a BEV, the Dolphin also appeals. It’s a conventional supermini-sized hatch in some respects, but there’s a pleasingly idiosyncratic sense of detail around the car as well. Being a part of BYD’s Ocean Series, it also has some dolphin-themed detail that may amuse/appeal – like door handles in the form of pectoral fins. Nothing as outrageous or polarising as the larger Atto 3’s gym-themed cabin, though.

BYD Dolphin, class winner COTY 2023.
High quality cabin - and not as quirky as the larger Atto 3.

With a focus on ride comfort and a front-drive configuration, the Dolphin is more an urban express than broad all-rounder, but there’s nothing wrong with that. A high-quality interior, great seats and a comprehensive array of driver-assistance equipment (360-degree standard on both models, for example) make this a great daily driver. And BYD’s policy of regular over-the-air updates mean it’ll just keep getting better and better.

Runners Up: Ford Mustang Mach-E, MG4

BATTERY: 45kWh or 60kWh with single electric motor
POWER: 70kW/180Nm or 150kW/310Nm
GEARBOX: Single-speed, FWD
RANGE: 340-427km
PRICE: $49,990-$55,990

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