BYD has released teaser images of its first ute, set to debut with plug-in hybrid power and expected in Australia this year.

    The as-yet unnamed BYD ute has previously been confirmed by the brand’s local distributor for a launch in the second half of 2024, with vehicles already on the ground here for testing.

    The ute has been spied extensively in China and in Australia, with patent images revealing its exterior design and photos from a drive event in China revealing its interior.

    Expected to be similar in size to the popular Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux dual-cabs, the ute features chunky, upright styling that fits right in with its ute rivals.

    There’s a huge BYD wordmark across the grille, bulging front fenders, flared wheel arches, and C-shaped lighting elements up front reminiscent of the Ranger and F-150.

    There are precious few surprises left, though BYD has still seen fit to cover almost all of the exterior of this example in a lurid orange and blue camouflage wrap which could easily be from the 1990s book of design.

    What isn’t 1990s is the ute’s powertrain. While BYD hasn’t detailed specifications yet, overseas reports have indicated it will consist of a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine mated with two electric motors for a total system output of 365kW.

    It’s also expected to ride on multi-link independent rear suspension.

    The company’s local distributor has confirmed changes have already been made to the vehicle following the start of Australian testing, though the full extent of local tuning has yet to be revealed.

    While the company hasn’t teased the ute’s interior, images taken at a Chinese test drive event – as well as spy photos – have revealed it’ll feature a large, rotating touchscreen like other BYD models.

    There’s also a transmission shifter situated on the centre console, which features prominent grab handles on either side and various physical toggle switches.

    There’s also a free-standing digital instrument cluster.

    The ute will be BYD’s second plug-in hybrid in Australia, after the Seal U mid-sized SUV due here in the second quarter of 2024.

    The Chinese brand only offers electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles globally. An electric version of the ute is expected to follow at some point, which would give BYD a rival to the Radar/Ridarra RD6 from rival Chinese company Geely, another vehicle also being built in right-hand drive.

    The plug-in hybrid ute is expected to beat the plug-in hybrid Ford Ranger to market. The Blue Oval’s electrified ute is due in Australia early in 2025.

    The Australian ute market remains diesel-heavy, though electrified and electric options are starting to appear. The electric LDV eT60 is already out, with a replacement electric ute due here this year, while GWM is expected to offer its new Cannon Alpha flagship ute with a hybrid powertrain.

    MORE: Everything BYD

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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