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    The Toyota RAV4 is the gold standard for affordable mid-sized SUVs, and has been for a while.

    But the automotive world rarely stands still, and more than 20 manufacturers are now vying for supremacy in one of the most competitive segments going around.

    One of those carmakers is BYD. It’s a Chinese challenger that first dipped its toe into the medium SUV battleground with the electric Atto 3, a model that topped 10,000 sales in 2023.

    Keen to have a second bite of the cherry, BYD is now sending the bigger plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Sealion 6 Down Under to take up the fight against Toyota.

    In top Premium specification, the Sealion 6 is aimed squarely at higher-end RAV4 variants. Let’s see how it matches up against the similarly priced Cruiser Hybrid.


    The range-topping BYD Sealion 6 Premium works out to be nearly $1500 cheaper than the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD, which also sits near the top of the RAV4 tree.

    Only the RAV4 Edge Hybrid comes out more expensive, at $58,360 before on-road costs.

    ModelPrice before on-roads
    2024 BYD Sealion 6 Premium AWD$52,990
    2024 Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD$54,410

    Drivetrains and efficiency

    Both cars send power to all four wheels and feature four-cylinder petrol engines, but that’s where the similarities end.

    The Sealion 6 Premium is powered by the combination of a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and dual electric motors (front and rear), which differs from the RAV4 in a few ways.

    Firstly, the BYD engine features forced induction in the form of a turbocharger.

    The Sealion is also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), meaning it has a much larger battery allowing the car to drive solely on electric power for 81km.

    Conversely, the RAV4 is a conventional hybrid designed to switch between power sources without covering extended distances in EV mode.

    Given the disparity in power source between the two models, it’s perhaps a surprise both feature CVT transmissions.

    The option of EV driving gives BYD the advantage from a fuel economy standpoint, although the drive battery has to be regularly charged for the owner to reap those benefits.

    BYD Sealion 6Toyota RAV4
    Engine1.5L 4cyl turbo2.5L 4cyl
    HybridDual e-motors: Front + rearDual e-motors: Front + rear
    Battery18.3kWh (LFP)1.6kWh (NiMH)
    EV range81kmN/A
    PowerPetrol engine: 96kW
    Electric motors: 150kW + 120kW
    Combined: 238kW
    Petrol engine: 131kW
    Electric motors: 88kW
    Combined: 163kW
    TorquePetrol engine: 220Nm
    Electric motors: 300Nm + 250Nm
    Combined: 550Nm
    Petrol engine: 221Nm
    Electric motors: 202Nm
    Combined: N/A
    Driven wheelsAll-wheel driveAll-wheel drive
    Fuel economy (claim)1.4L/100km4.8L/100km
    Fuel tank capacity60L55L


    The BYD Sealion 6 has a slightly larger footprint on the road, being both longer and wider compared to the RAV4.

    However, there is a big discrepancy between the cars when it comes to weight. A larger, heavier drive battery contributes to a kerb weight of 2100kg for the BYD – 345kg more than the Toyota.

    Despite its more compact dimensions the RAV4 also boasts 155L more boot space with the rear seats in place, which expands to 250L of bonus room with them folded down.

    BYD Sealion 6Toyota RAV4
    Boot capacity425L (min) – 1440L (max)580L (min) – 1690L (max)
    Kerb weight2100kg1755kg
    Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) 2510kg2230kg

    Servicing and warranty

    The Sealion 6 is backed by a six-year, 150,000 kilometre warranty and an eight-year, 160,000km battery warranty.

    Neither BYD nor local distributor EVDirect have detailed a maintenance schedule for the Sealion 6, though the brand’s electric products require scheduled servicing every 12 months or 20,000 kilometres – whichever comes first.

    We’ll update this article when service pricing information becomes available.

    The 2024 Toyota RAV4 is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

    Toyota hybrid models also get up to 10 years of warranty coverage “as long as you undertake your annual inspection as part of routine maintenance according to the vehicle logbook”.

    Toyota Australia offers up to five years or 75,000km of capped-price servicing, with intervals of 12 months or 15,000 kilometres for the RAV4.

    All RAV4 engine variants cost $260 per service for the first five visits under the capped-price servicing program.

    BYD Sealion 6Toyota RAV4
    Warranty6 years, 150,000km5 year, unlimited kilometres
    Service intervalsN/A12 months or 15,000km
    Avg. annual service price first 5 yearsN/A$260


    The Sealion 6 doesn’t arrive with an ANCAP safety rating, though BYD says a five-star result is “expected”.

    The electric BYD Seal U – as the Sealion 6 is known elsewhere – achieved a five-star Euro NCAP result in 2023.

    It earned a 90 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection, 83 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 77 per cent for safety assist.

    Standard safety equipment on the BYD Sealion 6 includes:

    • 7 airbags
      • Dual front
      • Dual side
      • Dual curtain
      • Front-centre
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
    • Blind-spot monitoring
    • Child Presence Detection
    • Door Open Warning
    • Front collision warning
    • Front cross-traffic assist
    • High beam assist
    • Intelligent speed limit information, control
    • Lane departure warning
    • Lane keep assist
    • Rear collision warning
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Traffic sign recognition

    The Toyota RAV4 wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on tests conducted by Euro NCAP in 2019.

    It scored of 93 per cent for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 85 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 83 per cent for safety assist.

    Standard safety equipment on the Toyota RAV4 includes:

    • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
      • Pedestrian/daytime cyclist detection
      • Intersection Turn Assist
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Blind-spot monitoring
    • Lane departure warning
    • Lane Tracing Assist
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Reversing camera
    • Front and rear parking sensors
    • Traffic sign recognition
    • Trailer sway control
    • Emergency Steering Assist
    • Hill-start Assist Control
    • Seven airbags incl. front, front side, full length curtain and driver’s knee airbag. 

    A 360-degree camera is available on Cruiser models.

    Standard features

    The BYD Sealion 6 Premium comes standard with the following features:


    • 19-inch alloy wheels
    • 235/50 R19 Giti tyres
    • Panoramic sunroof
    • Matte roof rails
    • One-touch tailgate
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Electrically adjustable, heated mirrors
    • Auto-dimming interior mirror
    • Soundproof glass – front
    • Privacy glass – rear


    • Synthetic leather-wrapped steering wheel
    • 12.3-inch LCD digital instrument cluster
    • Sunglasses holder
    • Synthetic leather-wrapped seats
    • 8-way power driver’s seat
    • 4-way power passenger seat
    • Heated, ventilated front seats
    • Manually adjustable rear seat backrests
    • Front dual cup holders
    • Rear centre armrest incl. 2 x cup holders
    • Metal door sill protectors
    • Front sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors
    • Head-up display
    • Blue + Grey upholstery ($NCO)


    • 15.6-inch rotating infotainment touchscreen
    • AM/FM/DAB radio
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
    • Bluetooth phone, audio streaming
    • Music streaming apps
    • Satellite navigation
    • Voice assistant
    • 10-speaker Infinity audio
    • BYD app store
    • 1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A – front
    • 1 x USB-C, 1 x USB-A – rear
    • Over-the-air updates


    • LED headlights
    • LED daytime running lights
    • LED tail lights
    • Sequential rear indicators
    • RGB dynamic ambient lighting
      • incl. rhythm function
    • LED front reading light
    • LED rear side reading lights

    Comfort and convenience

    • Keyless entry and start
    • NFC card key
    • 2 x wireless phone chargers – 15W
    • 12V accessory socket
    • PM2.5 filtration system
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Rear central air vents
    • Tyre repair kit

    MORE: Everything BYD Sealion 6

    The Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD comes standard with the following features:


    • ‘Premium’ grille and bumper combo
    • 18-inch alloy wheels
    • Black exterior accents
    • Black two-tone roof finish
    • Front mudflaps
    • Roof rails
    • Rear mudflaps
    • Resin rear spoiler
    • Power sunroof


    • 10-way power driver’s seat with memory
    • 8-way power passenger seat
    • Heated and ventilated front seats
    • Leatherette-wrapped steering wheel
    • Front/rear carpet mats
    • Leather upholstery
    • Nine-speaker JBL sound system
    • Surround-view camera
    • Digital rear-view mirror 
    • Leatherette-wrapped shifter
    • Leather-accented door trims
    • Black headliner and pillar garnish
    • 2x front and 2x rear cup holders
    • Rear privacy glass
    • Navigation with Toyota Connected Services subscription


    • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
    • 10.5-inch infotainment display
    • DAB+ radio
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Wired Android Auto
    • 3x front and 2x rear USB ports


    • Projector LED headlights
    • Front LED fog lights
    • Automatic high-beam
    • Automatic headlights
    • LED interior lighting 
    • LED daytime running lights
    • Illuminated interior door switches
    • Ambient lighting

    Comfort and convenience

    • Proximity entry
    • Wireless phone charging
    • Dual-zone climate control
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Rear passenger air vents
    • Space saver spare tyre
    • Keyless start
    • Power tailgate
    • Electronic parking brake
    • Auto power-folding mirrors
    • Two-level boot floor
    • 60/40 split-fold rear seats and centre armrest

    MORE: Everything Toyota RAV4

    Dive into an extensive side-by-side analysis
    Including price, detailed specifications and features
    Toyota RAV4
    BYD Sealion 6
    Sealion 6
    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.