Home » The New BYD Pickup Truck Seems Too Good To Be True

The New BYD Pickup Truck Seems Too Good To Be True

Byd Ute Topshot
ADVERTISEMENT

Chinese cars likely won’t come to America anytime soon, but they’re already on sale in many global markets. From Europe to Mexico, manufacturers like Great Wall Motors and MG (yes, it’s now a Chinese brand) are making massive inroads, and now Australian outlet Carsales reports that BYD is building its first ever ute to fight the Toyota Hilux.

Although BYD is a high-volume player in the battery-powered EV space, the unnamed pickup truck will start life out as a plug-in hybrid with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and two electric motors. Not only should this allay total range concerns, it could make for a properly powerful pickup truck, with Carsales claiming “a reported power output of 364kW.” That’s 488 horsepower, which would be a gargantuan figure in a Ford Ranger competitor.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The incoming BYD ute even looks decent, as revealed by patent drawings. Derivative, certainly, but decent. There’s a bit of Nissan Frontier in the arcs over the fenders, a lot of Ford in the front end, and acres of plastic cladding, but no gaping maw and nothing wildly impractical. I’m sure the aftermarket will eventually brodozer it out with more lights than an Ibiza night club, but in stock form, nothing about the styling should scare consumers out of showrooms.

Byd Ute Patent Drawing Profile

Australian BYD importer Luke Todd told Carsales that “[With] These models we have blown everyone out of the water with price-point and we are working very hard to make that happen with the ute as well.” Powerful, green, right-sized, and allegedly priced far below what a Toyota Hilux costs? What’s the catch?

ADVERTISEMENT

Section01 Pc

Even though Australia pays exorbitant prices for new cars, vehicles that trade heavily on price often have obvious deficiencies. For instance, the BYD Atto 3, a small and inexpensive electric crossover, only has an 88 kW DC fast charging rate, and hasn’t been getting the best reviews in Europe. British magazine Autocar claims its test example reeked of off-gassing plastic, had “unstable” infotainment, and wasn’t exactly refined when driving intent heightens.

When you do drive the car a bit harder, you will discover its composure starts to fray at the edges. Mid-corner surface imperfections can elicit strong kickback in the steering, and even in a straight line you will feel potholes through the steering more vividly than in other cars. You get a different kind of steering corruption under acceleration, as the Atto 3 exhibits some torque steer as well.

In addition, reported range falls far short of its rating on the admittedly optimistic WLTP cycle.

Measuring the Atto 3’s economy was somewhat fraught, as its own efficiency readout was hopelessly unreliable, at one point claiming to do 12mpkWh during performance testing. The average figure of 3.4mpkWh was calculated using the kWh charged for the mileage driven. It is slightly worse than what we got from the [Cupra] Born and [Kia] Niro EV, but still works out to a range of 201 miles. When fully charged, the car would always predict 260 miles, its WLTP figure, which is clearly unrealistic.

Of course, the Atto 3 is a previous-generation product, but Autocar reports that the new BYD Dolphin suffers from many of the Atto 3’s issues such as an obtuse infotainment UX and disappointing handling, all while bringing a new annoyance to the party.

Being new for 2023, the Dolphin also has bongs and a spoken message berating you for going over what it thinks (but often isn’t) the speed limit. It’s annoying and hard to turn off. Button, please!

Well, that ought to drive you round the bend. Of course, Chinese vehicles reportedly not quite measuring up to Western standards isn’t just a BYD thing, as the GWM Ora Funky Cat has received middling reviews in Europe too, with Auto Express noting subpar ride and handling, along with substantial infotainment difficulties.

ADVERTISEMENT

Byd Ute Patent Drawing Front

Even though the upcoming BYD ute sounds mighty impressive, there’s a chance it might not quite measure up to the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. Sure, a vastly cheaper double cab ute sounds great, but please temper your expectations. It won’t take much for Chinese manufacturers to bring their vehicles up to Western refinement, but even once the bulk of Chinese cars reach fundamental parity with European, American and Japanese counterparts, customer sentiment often lags. Chinese brands could face similar uphill battles to what Hyundai and Kia faced in the marketplace, and it could take another decade before models trade on desirability and overall excellence rather than price. Of course, we’ll just have to see what happens, won’t we?

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
28 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stop Making Us Register To Comment
Stop Making Us Register To Comment
8 months ago

The catch is it will spy on you. ????

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
8 months ago

Is Mexico no longer part of the Americas?

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
8 months ago

I thought we all knew the catch was unsustainable government subsidies and slave labor?

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
8 months ago

China can undercut ANYBODY. They don’t let stupid shit like tariffs get in the way LOL

Also, the other car companies deserve to be undercut for gouging and leaving the cheaper car segments behind and making room for China.

Maymar
Maymar
8 months ago

I know, I know, Building Cars is Hard, but the Chinese have been building cars for decades, have an industry built on strong-arming foreign companies into basically handing over their know-how to local business, and have no shortage of exposure to international product. Are they just that confident they can show up with shoddy crap and a low price tag and we’ll suck it up and buy it, rather than sweating the last few details?

I mean, I guess I know the answer, but still.

El Barto
El Barto
8 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

Are they just that confident they can show up with shoddy crap and a low price tag and we’ll suck it up and buy it, rather than sweating the last few details?

Yes, yes they are, coz there are plenty of cheap bastards who buy with their wallets instead of their heads.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
8 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

I mean some Americans bought Yugos so…..

Bork Bork
Bork Bork
8 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

If shoddy crap is all that people can afford they will buy that crap in great numbers.

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
8 months ago

The UX experience with Chinese made cars depends on the importer and the extent to which they have demanded and paid for localisation.

SAIC learned that lesson early in Oz with MG, GWM are still learning it and Chery couldn’t give a shit. BYD have learnt very very quickly as they have had issues in their meteoric rise in Oz.

There have certainly been UX issues in the software and the OE tyres on the Atto were found to be not fit for purpose but a lot of that has been rectified. Which has impacted the starting price.

Cheap Chinese made utes in Oz are not a novelty. EV and hybrid utes very much are. The only EV ute is from GWM (battery version of the current ute) and it’s widely agreed to be problematic and expensive. There is no hybrid. Yet. Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi will have offerings next year (with VW and Nissan to naturally follow thanks to badge engineering) so it’s only natural that the Chinese and Koreans will be in shortly (Kia is launching the Tasman pick-up shortly).

Gee See
Gee See
8 months ago

The catch is it will be tariffed to a very high price when it comes to the US. That’s what got traditional European car makers attention and they are trying to get the EU to do the same, because the Chinese manufacturers are poised to eat their lunch.

and funnily enough Stellantis announced they will buy 20% of a Chinese manufacturer called Leapmotors https://www.auto123.com/en/news/stellantis-leapmotor-affordable-electric-vehicles/70872/

Last edited 8 months ago by Gee See
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
8 months ago

There is a reason that the original Chinese designed and built ship is called a junk. Now stealing tech etc and buying shut down names to label stolen technology as a old time local built car only confuses idiots and let’s more aware pretend they aren’t buying slave labor, stolen technology, and arming the Chinese against weaker neighbors

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
8 months ago

With the impressive payload capacity of our new mid-size pickup, you’ll finally be able to Bury Your Dreams.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
8 months ago

The catch is longevity

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
8 months ago

What’s the catch? It’s a BYD.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago

Not only should this allay total range concerns, it could make for a properly powerful pickup truck, with Carsales claiming “a reported power output of 364kW.” That’s 488 horsepower, which would be a gargantuan figure in a Ford Ranger competitor.

When the components that allow for it are mass produced, increasing the peak power available with electric drive systems is stupid cheap. The difference in per-unit production cost between a 50 horsepower EV drive system and a 500 horsepower one, in mass production, can be less than $1,000. Lithium-ion batteries are similar to each other in terms of cost per kWh, but vary widely in terms of cost per kW, and it is often the case that an extremely power-dense battery will cost similarly to one with 1/10th the power density, but cost per kWh of capacity will also be close between the two. To get another 10% in gravimetric energy density, often tradeoffs are made, such as reduced power density by 80% or more.

Thus, it is plausible that this 488 horsepower truck could end up selling for Ford Maverick money.

EVs and plug-in hybrids are a massive threat to the existing business model that relies upon price discrimination and creating a linear relationship between horsepower and cost, and the Chinese seem more than willing to upset some apple carts. In fact, Chinese slave labor isn’t even necessary to pull this off, but use it they will.

I think the EV market will get very interesting when someone makes an extremely aerodynamic sedan or hatchback that gets 200+ miles range on a 30 kWh pack and sells for under $20,000, and THEN comes with Dodge Charger Hellcat like straight-line performance that can drain the entire battery in a few minutes if desired. It can be done, it’s just a question if someone will do so. So far, the Tesla Model 3 performance is arguably the best bargain in automotive performance today, and the margins on that car are quite fat compared to its competition.

Last edited 8 months ago by Toecutter
Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
8 months ago

“In addition, reported range falls far short of its rating on the admittedly optimistic WLTP cycle.”

My view as an OEM engineer is that the WLTP isn’t optimistic, but that most drivers can’t be bothered to even try to drive economically. Until I did formal eco driver training I didn’t realise how bad at it I was, and I got the training as a prize for winning an eco driver competition (which seemed like an odd prize, it should have gone to the loser). Also any journalist testing the abilities of a car is definitely going to bust the economy target by trying out the performance in a straight line and flinging it round some corners. It’s part of the job.

The purpose of the WLTP isn’t to tell you how much range you’ll have with your use case, it’s a repeatable comparative tool so you can identify which cars are more economical. Like 0-60 testing tells you which car is fastest without guaranteeing that you’ll hit that 0-60 every time you accelerate regardless of technique or intention.

86-GL
86-GL
8 months ago

The catch is slave labour. Or not. Honestly who knows anymore, and I doubt your average consumer really cares.

Don’t kid yourself that patriotic ‘Mericans and ‘Strayans wouldn’t buy these by the ship load the if they’re half decent and hit the right price point.

Toyota/Honda sold crappy little rust buckets (reliable, but still crappy) back in the day, and they had no issue entering the American Market despite half the population grumbling about Pearl Harbour.

121gwats
121gwats
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

Ford/Chevy sells crappy little rust buckets (reliable, but still crappy) currently. I’m emphasizing the rust part.

Sklooner
Sklooner
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

Neighbor is a huge no Chinesium has to be built in Canada or the USA guy, he drives a Chevy Trax

86-GL
86-GL
8 months ago
Reply to  Sklooner

I bet he’s very proud of his made in PRC Milwaukee tools.

El Barto
El Barto
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

Nearly everything is made in China. The difference is if you buy a brand-name product made in China, it will be made to that brand’s specification and quality control, whereas if you buy the cheaper, Chinese knock-off, it won’t be made to the same standard. Case in point are my Ryobi 18v power tools – no way I’d buy a non-Ryobi battery or battery charger via AliExpress or Amazon.
Personally, I prefer to not buy stuff made in China, but it’s not easy, so if I want quality, I will buy the brand name if the only choice is Chinese- made.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

CCP, slave labor (even if not highly underpaid labor), CCP, extremely unethical business practices, CCP, apparently terrible quality, CCP.

Gee See
Gee See
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

US Southern States allows minor to work, Hyundai factory in Alabama hired someone as young as 12.. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-hyundai-subsidiary-has-used-child-labor-alabama-factory-2022-07-22/

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
8 months ago
Reply to  Gee See

Underage labor is like the least of the problems for minors in the South.

Last edited 8 months ago by SNL-LOL Jr
Bork Bork
Bork Bork
8 months ago
Reply to  Gee See

All states allow minors to work if it’s farm work.

Monolithic Juggernaut
Monolithic Juggernaut
8 months ago
Reply to  86-GL

I used to believe that bullshit, too.

China has the same kind of slaves as everywhere else: wage slaves.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago

Well, Chinese cars are here already – we get the Volvo S90, Polestar 2, and Buick Envision, and Canada previously got Chinese built Honda Fits, and there was also the short-lived Coda All-Electric and a couple 3-wheeled cyclecar variants imported by ZAP!, Snyder, and Wildfire, plus various low speed NEVs conversions of different microvan and truck models, etc.

Gee See
Gee See
8 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

If you want to rope in Canada, right now Canada Tesla Y come from Shanghai Gigafactory.

28
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x