Read Caroline’s BYD Seal review for everything you need to know about buying BYD’s new electric saloon in Ireland.

The BYD Seal is BYD’s third model to launch in Ireland after the Atto 3 and Dolphin.

In just a few short months, the Tesla Model 3 rivalling saloon has become BYD’s bestseller.

It’s available in two flavours – rear wheel drive Design or all wheel drive Excellence, with over 500 kilometres of range possible.

Let’s take a closer look.

The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes
The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

Styling 

The BYD Seal is an exciting car to behold with a sporty and sleek design that helps it stand out on the road. It’s the second model in BYD’s ‘Ocean Series’ after the Dolphin, cue the marine mammal reference.

The nose is low and sleek like a sports car. There are striking LED headlights and the DRLs are meant to represent water ripples. Flush door handles pop out neatly for access to the car. At the back there is a full width lighting bar with more extravagant detailing and a badge depicting how fast the all wheel drive version can get to 100km/h – a staggering 3.8 seconds. Sporty 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard and there’s also a diffuser effect in the rear bumper.

There are six colours to choose from including pictured Indigo Grey.

Interior

Inside the newcomer feels stylish and well-appointed. There is the choice of blue or black leather interior as standard, with diamond stitching and sporty integrated headrests. The Seal gets what BYD call a ‘surging wave’ dashboard design and there’s a bridge console in the centre that gives the Seal quite a snug, driver-focused feel. The suede-effect fabric in the dashboard and doors gives a pleasant plushness. Neat details include door handles shaped like water droplets and a crystal-effect gear shifter.

The cabin of the BYD Seal
The cabin of the BYD Seal

There’s a full digital driver display and a large rotatable touchscreen for a high-tech feel. The touchscreen requires patience to navigate at first, with quite a lot of options to browse and touch controls exclusively for the climate menu. There’s also a wired Apple CarPlay/ wireless Android Auto connection and voice control.

Standard equipment levels are high including heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, wireless charging for two smartphones, upgraded sound system, panoramic roof and lots of safety features.

Practicality

The Seal is built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform so offers a spacious rear seat for passengers. There’s loads of legroom and headroom for a saloon like this. It’s very well-finished with lots of practical amenities like an armrest with cupholders, USB-C ports, air vents and pockets in the back of the front seats.

The boot has a capacity of about 400 litres, which is a good size however the saloon-style boot opening makes the space a little harder to access than in a hatchback.

There’s also a small storage compartment under the front bonnet.

The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres
The Seal offers a range in the region of 500 kilometres

Battery

The Seal is powered by BYD’s own 82.5 kWh ‘Blade’ battery. It’s a lithium-iron phosphate battery (LFP) and cobalt-free. BYD says it has a higher level of safety and durability compared with lithium-ion batteries and can withstand more charge and discharge cycles with hardly any loss of capacity.

The all wheel drive Seal has an official range of up to 520 kilometres (WLTP), while the rear wheel drive one can manage up to 570 kilometres (WLTP).

A heat pump comes as standard.

Driving

The Seal is a powerhouse with the top of the range Excellence all wheel drive model packing 670Nm of torque and 530hp. It puts its power down well with no drama or tyre squeal, feeling very secure and planted at all times as you hit 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds (5.9 seconds in the rear wheel drive Seal). It is a heavy car so the initial accelerator response doesn’t feel particularly lively.

You can move between Sport, Normal and Eco driving modes. There’s two ‘strengths’ of regenerative braking, though the effect is not that strong for either and stops short of one-pedal driving.

Rear seating in the Seal
Rear seating in the Seal

Seal gets the honour of being the first BYD with independent suspension, while the all wheel drive versions also get uprated dampers. While the Seal feels a lot more tied down and athletic than the BYD Dolphin or Atto 3, it doesn’t quite have the same level of expertise behind the wheel as rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. The steering is not weighted as well and lacks a fluid, natural feel.

Still when the roads get twisty, the combination of good body control and the speedy acceleration does make it feel willing and dynamic.

It’s also impressively refined. The front windows get laminated glass for more insulation, which keeps things cool and calm in the cabin.

The Seal doesn’t go as far as to offer a pillowy ride and feels quite harsh over the worst of Irish tarmac in town and on rural roads. It settles down on smoother tarmac.

In terms of efficiency, my average consumption wavered between about 17kWh – 21.6 kWh per 100 kilometres (382 – 485 kilometres).

Charging

The Seal has an 11kW on-board charger for AC charging as standard. It’s possible to charge at up to 150kW in DC charging.

The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon
The BYD Seal is a stylish and well-appointed electric saloon

Pricing

The rear wheel drive Design model is on sale at €44,036 and from €49,836 for the all wheel drive Excellence.

Verdict

The Seal is BYD’s best model yet to reach these shores. It’s an incredibly stylish car with a superbly finished interior that’s sure to woo new fans to the brand. It can also go the distance offering competitive range and charging for an electric saloon. The Seal is a good contender for cars like the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 though the driving experience requires a little finessing for those who enjoy a sharper driving experience. The Seal is one to watch in 2024 and is sure to make an impact.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year