It might not look much, but the BYD Destroyer is quite impressive.
China's rapid economic growth has been interesting to watch over the last two decades. The BYD Destroyer is the latest impressive car to be launched in the east.
First, it's worth understanding why China is so far ahead. Simply put, millions of people quickly had the means to buy a car, even with heavy taxes. This increased urban pollution exponentially, so the government started offering massive subsidies for EV vehicles. And since there was no real history of car ownership, Chinese people don't suffer from unwarranted loyalty. The EV uptake was so massive that Ford started producing the Mach-E there, and Mercedes-Benz now calls it a home away from home.
The result of that is China's dominance in the EV segment. We recently reported on the Changan C385, a humble sedan that can do 375 miles on a single charge. The only two US cars that beat it cost over $90,000.
But back to the BYD Destroyer, the worst name for a car ever. It could have worked on a big unsavory SUV, but this modest sedan is not even remotely Destroyer-ish. If anything, it looks like the kind of car that would get bullied in school by a Hummer EV.
The name comes from BYD's naming structure for its plug-in hybrids. The PHEVs are part of the "Warship" range, while the full-electric cars are part of the "Marine Life" range.
We get the oceanic references, but Destroyer is way out there. Maybe the BYD Dinghy would have been better.
Poor naming aside, the rest of the car is quite impressive. It's 188 inches long and 72 inches wide, which means it's a little longer and wider than the Toyota Prius Prime. We use the latter as a reference point because Toyota has the most experience with mass-produced hybrids.
The BYD is offered with two power outputs: 177 hp and 194 hp. The low-output model has an electric range of 55km, while the high-output model can go 75 miles on a charge. At best, the Prius Prime can travel 25 miles on electric power only. That's a huge difference. The BYD's all-electric range would be genuinely valuable daily.
The interior is extremely friendly. It has a 15.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster. We also dig the ambient lighting and the subtle red inserts. It looks much nicer than the Prius' interior, but, traditionally speaking, the quality has been way below par compared to the Japanese.