BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y specs comparison

BYD atto and Tesla Y

Toby Hagon

Posted December 12, 2023

Medium SUV shoppers are spoilt for choice when it comes to electric options. Here we compare the popular BYD Atto 3 and Tesla Model Y to see which one makes sense for you.

The BYD Atto 3 and Tesla Model Y are two of the most popular medium SUVs on the market. They’re also the two top-selling electric SUVs in the country.

But how does each compare? And which is the best EV for you?

For this comparison, we’ve opted for the longer range version of the BYD Atto 3 (it gets a bigger battery pack that allows more driving between charges) and the entry-level rear-wheel drive version of the Tesla Model Y.

Those wanting to save money can get the BYD Atto 3 with the smaller battery pack, and those wanting a lot more performance can get the dual-motor (Long Range and Performance) versions of the Tesla Model Y.


The Tesla Model Y's unique dashboard is one of its more modern and unique features. Image: Supplied
The BYD Atto 3 comes with an impressive interior display. Image: Supplied

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y pricing and features


One of the biggest differentiators between the two is how much they cost.

The BYD Atto 3 is more affordable at $51,011 before on-road costs (or $3,000 less if you want the one with the smaller battery).

The Tesla Model Y is $65,400 plus costs.


As for equipment, it’s a close match-up.

The Tesla Model Y gets 19-inch alloy wheels, while the BYD Atto 3 gets 18-inch alloys. Neither has a spare wheel.

The BYD Atto 3 comes with a portable charger that plugs into a home powerpoint and also gets a vehicle-to-load plug, which provides household powerpoints that can tap into the car’s main battery pack.

The Tesla Model Y has none of that, so you have to sort a charging solution, which will usually add at least $600 to the bill.

The BYD Atto 3 gets a small 5-inch digital instrument cluster while the Tesla Model Y does without, forcing the driver to glance at the edge of the main screen in the centre for a speedo and other vehicle info.

The Tesla Model Y fights back with a huge 15-inch central touchscreen, whereas the BYD Atto 3 gets a 12.8-inch screen, albeit one that rotates through 90 degrees to allow a choice between portrait and landscape configurations. However, when running on Apple CarPlay, the BYD Atto 3 can only have its screen in the landscape configuration.

Speaking of which, the BYD Atto 3’s screen incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, whereas the Tesla Model Y forces you to use inbuilt navigation, phone and music apps, all of which are nicely integrated. 

That seems like an oversight in the market, given those two systems are ubiquitous across most new cars.

But Tesla’s in-house connectivity system makes it a snip to make phone calls. Plus, the Tesla mapping is the best of any built-in navigation system, while there are apps for various music streaming services (including Spotify and Apple Music), thereby providing much of the functionality of a car with CarPlay or Auto.

And for those who want more, when the car is parked, the Tesla Model Y has video streaming, various arcade games, and other trinkets that showcase the brand’s emphasis on software.

It’s the start of an advanced in-house software system for Tesla that incorporates other surprise-and-delight features, such as a car-dancing light show and karaoke.

Both cars get a panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, surround view camera and power adjustable front seats.

The BYD Atto 3 gets heated front seats, whereas the Tesla gets heating for all five seats as well as a heated steering wheel. 

The Tesla Model Y gets dual wireless phone chargers, while the BYD Atto 3 only has one.

The Tesla Model Y gets white ambient lighting around the feet of the front occupants, whereas the BYD Atto 3 gets adjustable coloured ambient lighting around the doors and dash.

The Tesla Model Y gets four USB-C chargers – two front, two back – while the BYD Atto 3 gets a USB-A and USB-C charger up front and the same in the rear.


The Tesla Model Y gets an underdone four-year 80,000km warranty, whereas the BYD Atto 3 gets a longer six-year, 150,000km warranty. However, there are some odd exclusions, including the multimedia system and charge port assembly, each of which only has a three-year/60,000km warranty.

The battery pack of each is also covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty, with a guarantee there will be at least 70 per cent of the original capacity available.


Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y provides comfort in both the front and rear seats. Image: Supplied

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y safety equipment

Both cars get a five-star ANCAP rating, and both were tested to the 2022 protocols.

There’s loads of active safety tech, including auto braking, blind spot warning and lane departure warning with steering assistance.

The BYD Atto 3 adds to that with rear cross traffic alert with auto braking, but misses out on the driver drowsiness monitor that is fitted standard to the Tesla Model Y.

And it doesn’t take long behind the wheel of the BYD Atto 3 to realise its driver assist systems lack the maturity of those on the Tesla Model Y.

The lane keep assistance is sometimes overly aggressive, and the adaptive cruise control can overreact when it detects other cars ahead.

The Tesla Model Y is by no means perfect – and don’t believe the advertising hype around the optional 'self-driving' system, because the Model Y is a long way off being able to drive itself – but it’s the better of the pair. That’s reinforced by the ANCAP 'Safety Assist' score, which rated the Tesla Model Y 98 per cent, and the BYD Atto 3 at 80 per cent.

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y interiors and design

Both are technically classified as medium SUVs, but the Tesla Model Y is the larger of the two vehicles.

At 4751mm long, it’s almost 300mm longer than the BYD Atto 3, and also has a broader cabin courtesy of a body that has an additional 46mm to its girth. There’s also an extra 170mm between the front and rear wheels of the Tesla Model Y.

You notice it as soon as you sit inside, with the Tesla Model Y far more adult-friendly in the back seat. That said, the Tesla’s relatively low-slung rear seat cushion means kids won’t be able to easily see past the backs of the front seats.

Both are based on a bespoke EV architecture, so benefit from ideally placing key components. 

That also means they do without the hump running the length of the floor on ICE vehicles, so there’s more foot space.

And while the BYD Atto 3 is smaller, it’s still fine for families with one or two children. 

If you’ve got lots of luggage, though, the Tesla Model Y is a comfortable winner. Its boot measures a generous 854 litres, part of which is a huge underfloor cavity for valuables. Plus, there’s a 117 litre bucket under the bonnet of the Tesla that works perfectly for storing charging cables.

The BYD Atto 3 has just 440 litres of boot space.

Neither is perfect for cabin ambience, but the BYD Atto 3 looks like it’s tried harder versus the minimalist design of the Tesla Model Y.

Both get fake leather seats, although the ones in the BYD Atto 3 seem a little less fake under the thigh on a hot summer's day.

The Tesla Model Y’s wow factor is largely left to the central touchscreen and a modest strip of wood across the dash.

The BYD Atto 3, on the other hand, goes hard with a dash that looks like the belly of a whale, with snazzy air vents and rubberised guitar string-like straps in the doors.  


byd atto 3

The BYD Atto 3 comes in both standard and extended range versions. Image: Supplied. 

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y performance and handling

Whatever the number, it doesn’t take long behind the wheel to establish that the bigger, heavier Tesla Model Y is making more power than the BYD Atto 3.

It’s slightly zippier and more enthusiastic when you call on it.

That said, the BYD Atto 3 is thoroughly respectable, and has that immediacy and easily-accessible pulling power that EVs do so well.

The Tesla’s rear-drive layout also makes it easier to access all that’s available from its electric motor, especially on a slippery surface. It’s less likely to elicit a chirp from the tyres as they fight for traction, something that can happen with the BYD Atto 3 when you drive out of a T-intersection.

In terms of braking regeneration – whereby the car decelerates when you lift off the accelerator – there is a marked difference.

The Tesla’s regenerative braking cannot be adjusted and is very aggressive, so it feels like you’ve pushed the brake pedal. It requires finesse with the throttle, or you can use the excellent cruise control.

The BYD Atto 3’s regenerative braking is more like coasting with a gentle brush of the brakes. You can dial up a higher level of regeneration, but it’s still closer to mild than aggressive.

Less impressive with the BYD Atto 3 is its adaptive cruise control system, which often overreacts to cars off in the distance. On a freeway with a bit of traffic whizzing around, it can be easier to take control yourself to save the unwanted braking and backing off.

In terms of overall driving manners, the Tesla Model Y has a sportier demeanour. Its steering is quite direct, to the point where it requires a driver recalibration compared with most other cars. That makes it alert and responsive, and fortunately it has the dynamic talent to match.

Its suspension is taut, but the circa-April 2023 introduction of so-called comfort suspension added some much welcome compliance that makes it less jarring.

From a comfort perspective, though, the BYD Atto 3 does a better job of soothing bumps.

The trade off is more leaning in corners, although the BYD Atto 3 still retains its composure when pushed.

Less impressive are the tyres, which are a brand called Atlas Batman. They’re not great in the wet, and even on a dry road can easily reach their limits of adhesion.

tesla model y

The Tesla Model Y makes for a dynamic ride. Image: Supplied

BYD Atto 3 vs Tesla Model Y: which should I buy?

So the BYD Atto 3 and Tesla Model Y are both good cars, but which is best?

If your budget doesn’t stretch beyond about $55,000, then there is only one choice: the BYD Atto 3.

You’ll be buying a very convincing EV and one that has value as a key part of its appeal.

But the Tesla Model Y justifies its price premium with more space, better driving manners and superior charging credentials.

That edges the Tesla Model Y ahead… by a bumper.


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