Price & features: 2023 MG 4 v BYD Dolphin v GWM Ora spec battle!

The MG 4, BYD Dolphin and GWM Ora are battling for the crown of being Australia's most affordable EV. Which is the best option?

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As more EV options appear, the market is heating up with the introduction of more affordable options.

China’s MG 4, BYD Dolphin and GWM Ora electric hatches are the country's most affordable electric cars to date.

All now boast high-$30,000 pricing for the base variants – the lowest in Australia to date – after GWM slashed pricing this week, likely responding to MG and BYD as China's electric vehicle price war intensifies.

While we prepare to compare this affordable electric hatchback trio when the first vehicles hit Australian roads, we’ve pulled out the spec sheets to help you find the vehicle that might best suit your needs.

July: MG 4 driven in Australia at last

Even in pre-production, UK spec, the MG 4 hatch proves the long wait for a good, affordable electric car may well be over.

Story continues...

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Things we like

  • MG 4: Wide price range, lots of options
  • BYD Dolphin: Competitive pricing
  • GWM Ora: Simplified lineup

Not so much...

  • MG 4: X-Power likely to be exxy
  • BYD Dolphin: $100 cheaper than MG 4 with less power
  • GWM Ora: Ultra and GT very similar

All three options here are vying to be seen as an affordable option for buyers with a tighter budget looking to purchase their first EV, or as a second car.

The BYD Dolphin is the cheapest of the bunch – and the most-affordable electric car sold in Australia to date – at $38,890 before on-roads for the base Premium.

To receive a larger battery and a more-potent electric motor, the Premium retails for $44,890 plus on-roads, while the limited-run Sport “hot hatch” is currently listed at $49,990 ahead of its 2024 arrival.

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However, the base MG 4 Excite 51kWh is just one green banknote more at $38,990 plus on-road costs, topping out at $55,990 for the Essence 77kWh – with the strong possibility of a dearer dual-motor X-Power performance variant.

Following a price cut in July, the standard-range GWM Ora is now $1000 dearer than the base MG 4 at $39,990 plus on-roads, while the Extended Range and GT are now $2000 less than before.

MG 4 BYD Dolphin GWM Ora
Excite 51kWh: $38,990 Dynamic: $38,890 Standard Range: $39,990
Excite 64kWh: $44,990 Premium: $44,890 Extended Range: $45,990
Essence 64kWh: $47,990 Sport: $49,990 Ultra: $48,990
Essence 77kWh: $55,990 GT: $51,990

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BYD Dolphin rear seats


Things we like

  • MG 4: Decent performance, RWD
  • BYD Dolphin: Premium level with its rivals
  • GWM Ora: Respectable acceleration

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Nothing exciting (X-Power aside)
  • BYD Dolphin: Slow base model outputs
  • GWM Ora: No boost for heavier battery

The MG 4 offers a base model with 125kW/250Nm and a 7.7-second 0-100km/h time, while the Long Range kicks it up a notch with 180kW/350Nm and a quicker 6.5-second sprint.

A slow 70kW/180Nm electric motor is found in the base BYD Dolphin, which takes 12.3 seconds to reach 100km/h. The Dolphin Premium boosts outputs to 150kW and 310Nm, with a spritelier 7.0-second acceleration time.

The GWM Ora has consistent performance across both battery sizes, with 126kW/250Nm and an 8.4-second 0-100km/h time. All three cars share a maximum speed of 160km/h.

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MG 4BYD DolphinGWM Ora
Power51kWh: 125kWDynamic: 70kWStandard: 126kW
64kWh: 150kWPremium: 150kWExtended: 126kW
77kWh: 180kWSport: TBCUltra/GT: 126kW
Torque51kWh: 250NmDynamic: 180NmStandard: 250Nm
64kWh: 250NmPremium: 310NmExtended: 250Nm
77kWh: 350NmSport: TBCUltra/GT: 250Nm
0-100 km/h51kWh: 7.7sDynamic: 12.3sStandard: 8.4s
64kWh: 7.9sPremium: 7.0sExtended: 8.4s
77kWh: 6.5sSport: <7.0sUltra/GT: 8.4s
Top speed160km/h160km/h160km/h 

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Driving range

Things we like

  • MG 4: 530km on the Long Range variant
  • BYD Dolphin: 427km range on the Premium
  • GWM Ora: Extended Range option

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Regular versions top out at 450km range
  • BYD Dolphin: 340km on the Dynamic variant could be limiting
  • GWM Ora: Shortest of the trio

The MG 4 offers a range of driving ranges depending on the battery size and specifications, spanning 351km (51kWh) to an impressive 530km (77kWh Long Range). Mid-spec variants with a 64kWh battery provide a range of 435-450km.

The BYD Dolphin covers a range of 340km (Dynamic) to 427km (Premium), while the GWM Ora falls between 310km (Standard Range) and 420km (Extended Range, Ultra).

The flagship GWM Ora GT offers a slightly shorter 400-kilometre range. Battery sizes vary across the models, ranging from 45kWh to 77kWh.

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MG 4BYD DolphinGWM Ora
Range51kWh: 351kmDynamic: 340kmStandard: 310km
64kWh: 435km (Essence), 450km (Excite)Premium: 427kmExtended/Ultra: 420km
77kWh: 530kmSport: TBCGT: 400km
Battery size51kWh (Excite), 64kWh (Excite, Essence), 77kWh (Essence)45kWh (Dynamic), 60.5kWh (Premium, Sport)45.4kWh (Standard), 59kWh (Extended, Ultra, GT)

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Things we like

  • MG 4: Largest of the trio
  • BYD Dolphin: Long wheelbase
  • GWM Ora: Tall roof helps ease of access

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Not as tall
  • BYD Dolphin: Not as wide
  • GWM Ora: Not as long

Here, the MG 4 takes the lead as the largest overall, while the GWM Ora sits at the shorter end.

The GWM Ora – with a height of 1603mm – boasts a tall SUV-like roof that surpasses the Mazda CX-3 and is similar to the BYD Atto 3.

The crown for the longest wheelbase and widest body is handed to the MG 4, allowing a more-spacious interior – though we’ll wait to compare this trio in-person to see how it fares in the real world.

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MG 4BYD DolphinGWM Ora

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Things we like

  • MG 4: Supports fastest charging
  • BYD Dolphin: Premium charges faster
  • GWM Ora: 11kW AC speed

Not so much...

  • MG 4: 6.4kW AC charge speed
  • BYD Dolphin: 60kW DC limit for base
  • GWM Ora: Extended has same rate

While the BYD Dolphin offers a slow 60kW DC charge speed for the base Dynamic, it rises to 80kW for larger battery Premium – but it still falls behind the MG 4, which supports a DC charge speed between 88kW and 140kW.

The GWM Ora provides a DC charge speed of 64kW and an 11kW AC home charger speed – in line with the BYD Dolphin. The MG 4 has a slower 6.6kW AC charge rate.

It's worth noting that all three models have slower charging speeds compared to more expensive EVs like the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6, but this is partly due to the smaller battery capacities.

For context, the Nissan Leaf has a 46kW DC maximum charge rate, while a Mazda MX-30 E35 is equally limited.

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MG 4BYD DolphinGWM Ora
DC fast charger51kWh: 88kWDynamic: 60kWStandard: 64kW
64kWh: 140kWPremium: 80kWExtended: 64kW
77kWh: 140kWSport: 80kWUltra/GT: 64kW
AC standard charger6.6kW11kW11kW

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Things we like

  • MG 4: Essence well-equipped
  • BYD Dolphin: Strong equipment levels
  • GWM Ora: 10.25-inch instrument cluster

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Base model built to a price
  • BYD Dolphin: Small instrument cluster
  • GWM Ora: USB-A ports

As standard, all three vehicles offer alloy wheels and large screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: the MG 4 and GWM Ora with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and the BYD Dolphin with a 12.8-inch rotating display.

The MG 4 stands out with its 'iSmart' connected-car service, allowing drivers to control vehicle functions from their smartphone. The BYD Dolphin offers additional luxuries such as leather-accented upholstery, heated front seats, and a built-in voice assistant.

On the other hand, the GWM Ora boasts dual-zone climate control, a surround-view camera, and a wireless charging pad.

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MG 4

2023 MG 4 standard features
17-inch alloy wheels7-inch digital instrument cluster
10.25-inch infotainment systemRotary gear selector
Wired Apple CarPlay and Android AutoCloth upholstery
Four-speaker audio system‘iSmart’ connected-car service.

MG 4 Essence adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system, synthetic leather/cloth upholstery, voice control, built-in satellite navigation, a 360-degree camera system, a wireless phone charger, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a height-adjustable load floor.

BYD Dolphin

2023 BYD Dolphin standard features
16-inch alloy wheelsLeather-accented upholstery
12.8-inch rotating infotainment systemHeated front seats
Wired Apple CarPlayHeat pump
Satellite navigationAdaptive LED headlights
Six-speaker audio systemLED tail-lights and daytime running lamps
Built-in voice assistantRear privacy glass
DAB+ digital radioLED cabin lights
5-inch digital instrument clusterHeated, power-folding side mirrors
Four USB ports (2x USB-C, 2x USB-A)360-degree camera system
Wireless phone chargerSix-way power-adjustable driver’s seat
Keyless entry and push-button startFour-way power-adjustable passenger seat
Portable card keyVehicle-to-load functionality
Panoramic sunroofLow-speed audible pedestrian alert
Climate-control air-conditioningTyre pressure monitoring.
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2023 GWM Ora standard features
LED headlights18-inch alloy wheels
Dual-zone climate controlVinyl upholstery
10.25-inch multimedia touchscreenWired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
10.25-inch digital driver’s displaySurround-view camera
6-way power driver’s seat6-speaker sound-system
Keyless entryDAB+ digital radio
Wireless charging pad2x USB-A chargers

GWM Ora Ultra adds a panoramic sunroof, an electric tailgate, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, and power-folding side mirrors with memory.

Over the Ultra, the Ora GT adds unique 18-inch alloy wheels, a sportier body kit with decals, red brake calipers, and automatic parking.

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Things we like

  • MG 4: Five-star ANCAP likely
  • BYD Dolphin: Strong level of active safety tech
  • GWM Ora: Five-star ANCAP

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Blind-spot, rear cross-traffic not standard
  • BYD Dolphin: No official ANCAP rating yet
  • GWM Ora: Less safety kit than BYD Dolphin
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The MG 4 currently holds a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating in 2020-22 criteria, but this has yet to be brought across to ANCAP.

A five-star ANCAP rating applies to the GWM Ora, based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP in 2022.

The BYD Dolphin is awaiting testing by both ANCAP and Euro NCAP, with adjustments made to its frontal structure to meet European, Australian, and New Zealand standards compared to Chinese-market versions.

All feature autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.

The GWM Ora and BYD Dolphin add blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts as standard, which are unavailable on the base MG 4 Excite.

Additionally, the BYD Dolphin include front cross-traffic alert, side exit assist, and child presence detection, while the MG 4 is unique in offering traffic jam assist.

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Cargo space

Things we like

  • MG 4: Largest boot
  • BYD Dolphin: Decent space
  • GWM Ora: Electric boot for Ultra, GT

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Less space than Dolphin w/ seats folded
  • BYD Dolphin: No front boot
  • GWM Ora: Smallest cargo space

The MG 4 the largest boot with 363 litres when all seats are in place, which expands to 1177L with the second-row folded down.

While the BYD Dolphin offers less boot space at 345L, the brand claims it expands to 1310L with the rear seats down – the largest of the trio.

The GWM Ora offers the least cargo space, with 228L when all seats are in use, and 884L when the rear seats are folded.

Unlike a Tesla Model 3 and some other electric vehicles, these affordable hatchbacks were not engineered with a front boot (also known as a ‘frunk’), with the electric motor and other drive components underneath the bonnet. The GWM Ora GT offers an electric tailgate.

MG 4BYD DolphinGWM Ora
Boot capacity (seats up)363L345L228L 
Boot capacity (seats down)1177L1310L884L

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Warranty and servicing

Things we like

  • MG 4: Longest service intervals
  • BYD Dolphin: Eight-year battery coverage
  • GWM Ora: Eight-year battery coverage

Not so much...

  • MG 4: Seven-year battery warranty less than BYD, GWM
  • BYD Dolphin: Confusing, limited warranty coverage for certain parts
  • GWM Ora: Limited service intervals

The MG 4 has seven-year/unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty, with equivalent coverage for the high-voltage battery pack.

While the BYD Dolphin offers a six-year/150,000-kilometre warranty and eight-year battery coverage, some individual components carry limited warranties ranging between 12 months and four years.

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The GWM Ora matches the MG 4's seven-year/unlimited-kilometre overall warranty and provides an eight-year warranty for the battery.

Service intervals are set at 24 months or 40,000 kilometres for the MG 4, while the BYD Dolphin requires maintenance every 12 months or 20,000 kilometres.

The GWM Ora follows a similar schedule, with the lowest service intervals of 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, which is equivalent to GWM’s internal-combustion vehicles.

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