There’s a new player in the UK car market – and they’ve hit the ground running with their first vehicle.

Despite having over 600,000 employees and 11 research centres across more than 70 countries, the name BYD might not be one you’re immediately aware of.

That could be about to change, with the company – headquartered in Shenzhen, China – starting to introduce its line-up of electric cars to the UK’s roads, with the branding ‘Build Your Dreams’ giving the company plenty to live up to.

Ayrshire Today: The BYD Atto 3

First up is the Atto 3, a compact front-wheel drive C-Segment SUV, powered by a single electric motor which draws power from a 60.5kWh battery.

From the moment you set foot in the cabin, you know it’s destined to be a memorable vehicle by sheer virtue of its flamboyant interior. Call it quirky, call it eccentric - it certainly isn’t dull.

With guitar strings across the door pockets and a huge spinning infotainment screen, there are plenty of party pieces for passengers to talk about.

There are trim inserts across the cabin to give the surfaces a ridged and muscular appearance, while ‘vegan’ leather adds another design flourish.

Ayrshire Today: The BYD Atto 3

You’ll have to look hard to find any low-quality materials, with touchpoints like the steering wheel, door pulls and centre console all trimmed in soft-touch materials.

Okay, so the guitar strings in the door pockets might be a bit of a gimmick, but there’s plenty of tech in the Atto 3 that’s more practical, not least the impressive 360-degree view camera system, which transmits an image of any nearby hazards onto the large centre trouchscreen.

The 12.8-inch or 15.6-inch screen, with the size depending on trim level, can rotate 90 degrees from landscape to portrait with the press of a button.

Ayrshire Today: The BYD Atto 3

That can be useful if, for example, you want to see further up ahead on the sat-nav but - more to the point - it’s funky and fun.

The exterior benefits from confident lines and stylish design, but isn’t quite so memorable as the interior.

The contemporary slim headlights feed nicely into a central silver strip running the width of the bonnet, giving the car an eye-catching face.

Behind the wheel, the Atto 3 is comfortable and refined, using BYD’s latest bespoke EV underpinnings, called e-Platform 3.0 – a set-up can support front, rear and four-wheel drive.

The Atto 3 uses BYD’s own ‘blade’ battery design, which is built into the vehicle’s structure and to save weight and space.

The official range is 260 miles, although it seemed some way short of that as I tested it during the recent wet and dreary conditions in Yorkshire.

Acceleration is brisk, with 0-62mph possible in 7.3 seconds and the car feeling well-balanced when cornering.

Ayrshire Today: The BYD Atto 3

All in all, it’s the sort of bold design you might expect from a company that’s enjoyed colossal growth.

The brand was only founded in 1995, to make batteries for consumer electronics then branched into car production in 2002, becoming the world’s biggest seller of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in 2022 with a total of 1.86 million sales – the vast majority in China.

The Atto 3 starts from £36,490 in ‘Active’ trim, with the ‘Comfort’ version costing a little more at £36,990 and the ‘Design’ model being priced at £38,990.

BYD Atto 3

BATTERY: BYD Blade Battery (LFP) with 60.48kWh capacity

RANGE: 260 miles combined

DC charge: (150kW charger) SOC 30%-80%: 29 mins

0-62mph: 7.3 seconds

TOP SPEED: 99mph

PRICE: £36,490 in ‘Active’ trim, to £38,990 in ‘Design’ trim