BYD has just detailed its latest Seal model for Europe at this year’s Geneva motor show and it’s coming to Australia. 

    The BYD Seal U DM-i is a plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) five-seat SUV that rivals the likes of the Toyota RAV4. It’s due to debut in both Europe and Australia in the second quarter of this year.

    The mid-size SUV will be the first in a wave of plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) BYD vehicles for Australia, with a PHEV ute arriving in the second half of this year.  

    The PHEV drivetrain is claimed to be a “highly advanced Super DM Technology that prioritises electric driving with ultra-low fuel consumption and energy efficiency”.

    All told, the DM-i plug-in hybrid system mates an 72kW/122Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 160kW/310Nm electric motor.

    There’s a choice of 18.3kWh and 26.6kWh batteries, with 110km and 150km of NEDC range, respectively. It can be charged at up to 7kW using AC power and 18kW using DC power. When using 18kW DC fast charging, the battery can be restored from 30-80 per cent in 35 minutes. 

    It measures 4775mm long, 1890mm wide (2085mm including the mirrors) and 1670mm tall on a 2765mm wheelbase.

    That makes it 65mm longer, 28mm wider but 95mm lower than a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV on a 59mm longer wheelbase. It’s also 320mm longer, 15mm wider and 55mm taller than an Atto 3.

    The seats can be split folded in a ratio of 60:40, increasing boot space from 552 litres to 1,440 litres when both seats are folded. 

    The interior is adorned in vegan leather, complimented by “atmospheric” mood lighting. The centre piece of the interior is the 15.6-inch rotatable LCD infotainment screen and crystal gear selector.

    Other standard equipment in Europe includes a wireless phone charger, voice control and a premium infinity sound system

    The BYD Seal U DM-i is also capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates.

    A full suite of active safety and driver assist technology is available in Europe, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, safe exit warning, and a surround-view camera.

    There’s also an all-electric version is dubbed the Seal U, and offers a choice of 71.8kWh or 87kWh batteries and a 160kW electric motor with claimed WLTP range of up to 500km.

    It’s unclear if the all-electric Seal U is on the card for a local launch, though David Smitherman, the newly appointed CEO of BYD’s local distributor EVDirect confirmed a further three product launches will happen before the end of 2024.

    James Gelding
    James Gelding is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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