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BYD Seal U is China’s answer to the Tesla Model Y

New Chinese-made SUV will sit above the ultra-affordable BYD Dolphin in the lineup with a range of over 300 miles

BYD Seal U - front

The BYD Dolphin supermini recently made a splash in the UK with its £25k starting price. Now, the Chinese automotive giant is preparing to launch another SUV model to sit above the larger Atto 3 crossover in its European lineup: the new BYD Seal U.

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Already on sale and badged ‘BYD Song Plus' in China, the new Seal U is a family SUV that’s destined to rival the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and, of course, the Tesla Model Y.

On the outside, the BYD Seal U shares a lot of visual similarities with the upcoming BYD Seal saloon; the front of the car is characterised by a pair of boomerang-shaped headlights, while the Seal U follows the current industry trend of adopting a full-width light bar at the rear. 

BYD Seal U - rear

Interestingly, press images of the BYD Seal U reveal that the brand’s latest SUV will omit the controversial ‘Build Your Dreams’ inscription on the bootlid – something that we’re sure will rouse a sigh of relief from easily-embarrassed British car buyers.

It’s business as usual on the inside, however, as the Seal U gets BYD’s signature rotating centre touchscreen; measuring 15.6 inches, this is also complemented by a full-size digital instrument cluster. While Chinese domestic models are already offered with a funky two-tone colour scheme, it looks like the Seal U will be available with more muted black leatherette upholstery – no doubt in an attempt to appeal to prudish European tastes.

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The BYD Seal U sits on the brand’s bespoke EV architecture and will be offered in two forms; base models utilise a 71kWh battery and a 201bhp electric motor for a range of up to 261 miles. Step up to the 87kWh model with its 215bhp and this increases range to a maximum of 311 miles – although both figures are yet to be finalised for the UK market. 

BYD Seal U - interior

The Seal U is compatible with Vehicle-to-Load charging (V2L) allowing you to power larger devices using its battery, while a heat pump is expected to be fitted as standard to help increase range in colder months.

The BYD Seal U is set to go on sale in the UK later this year, with first models likely arriving sometime in 2024. It’s hard to pinpoint pricing at this stage, though given the smaller BYD Dolphin’s competitive starting figure, the larger Seal U  will most likely be competitively priced against rivals, potentially starting from under £40,000.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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