IF YOU’RE DREAMING BIG and you’d like to have a car that’s luxurious, roomy, comfortable but economical, and equipped with push-button start/stop, a sunroof and leather seats, chances are that you might end up buying a used mid-size luxury sedan and disregard its fuel economy just to get the luxury, room, and comfort that you’re after. Or you might end up buying a slightly used subcompact car for its miserly fuel consumption and spend more money to upgrade its amenities. Either way, you will end up buying a used car and inherit somebody else’s car troubles.
Fortunately for you, there are now alternative choices.
Take the BYD L3, for example. BYD, which stand for Build Your Dreams, is a Chinese automobile manufacturer that was founded in 2002 and has opened its doors here in the Philippines through Solar Transport and Automotive Resources (STAR) Corporation. The L3 is one of their compact sedan models and a sibling to their top-of-the-line F5 SURI, which we reviewed in a previous issue. (Please see “Chinese Paradox” page 34, Volume 3, Issue 1)
Like its more expensive sibling, the L3 bears a slight resemblance to the previous generation Corolla Altis, especially with the spatial relationship of its projector type headlamps, grille and front fenders. With an overall length of 4,568 mm, a width of 1,716 mm and a height of 1,480 mm, the L3 is sized almost like the Altis although it looks longer because of its smooth and simple side profile.
Inside, the L3 has an ergonomic two-tone interior, a stylish dashboard, four-spoke steering wheel with audio controls, and an LED display cluster that seems to “float” on the instrument panel. The center console features a 2-DIN multi-media system with AM/FM, CD and DVD player, USB and AUX slots, and two SD card slots for multimedia and navigation.
The driver and four passengers are accommodated nicely with ample leg, hip and head room, and a relatively cool air-conditioning system. They are also kept safe with dual front SRS airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes and EBD electronic brake force distribution. A 16-valve single cam SOHC 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with variable valve lift (VVL) powers the L3 with 106 horsepower and 144 Newton-meters of torque.
With six-speed dual clutch transmission, BYD claims the L3 can reach top speed of 170 km/h. Unfortunately, our drive around the traffic-snarled metropolis and on a slightly crowded expressway didn’t allow us to confirm this claim but we averaged around 10 kilometers to a liter in combined city and highway driving. Overall, the BYD L3 is viable alternative and is a well-equipped car in its price range. We’d even venture to say that it is perfect for those who are dreaming big on a tight budget.
SPECIFICATIONS: VEHICLE TYPE Front-engine, FWD, 5-passenger, 5-door sedan; PRICE P768,000.00; ENGINE TYPE SOHC 16V inline-4 with VVL; DISPLACEMENT 1582 cc; POWER 105hp@5800rpm; TORQUE 144Nm@4800rpm; TRANSMISSION 6-speed DCT; WHEELBASE 2615mm; LENGTH 4568mm; WIDTH 1716mm;; HEIGHT 1480mm; CURB WEIGHT 1210kg; WHEELS & TIRES 15” aluminum alloys, 195/60R15
COMPANY INFO BYD CORPORATE CENTRE 312 Shaw Blvd., Brgy. New Pleasant Hills, Mandaluyong City, Philippines Tel No.: (632) 533-8888 Website: www.byd.com.ph
Words and photos by Lester Dizon