The BYD Seal on test for Changing Lanes

BYD Seal Review

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


The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

BYD Dolphin Review | Best value EV

Read Caroline's BYD Dolphin review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new compact electric hatchback in Ireland.

The BYD Dolphin is one of the most anticipated new cars to arrive in Ireland in 2024 because it's one of the most budget-friendly EVs to go on sale in quite a while.

EVs have secured themselves a reputation thus far of being expensive, with many models pricing themselves above their petrol and diesel counterparts.

The tide is turning with many brands now cutting prices to entice buyers among the backdrop of a slowing EV market and in an effort to fend off the very plausible threat from new Chinese car brands - just like BYD.

The BYD Dolphin has a starting price of just €25,570 for the Dolphin 44.9kWh with up to 340 km (WLTP) range and from €29,318 for the Dolphin 60.4kWh with up to 427 km (WLTP).

And beyond the quirky name, the Dolphin is a cheerful enough companion for the road.

Let's take a closer look.

The BYD Dolphin is on sale now
The BYD Dolphin is on sale now

What's so special about the BYD Dolphin?

The Dolphin is pitched as a compact hatchback to take on the popular MG4 and Volkswagen ID.3. It's part of BYD's 'Ocean Series', just like the newly launched BYD Seal four-door saloon.

It has a straightforward, practical shape as opposed to the sleeker and sportier MG and ID.3. But BYD clearly tried to stamp some trendy design touches on it like the attractive colour palette, contrasting roof, alloy wheels with coloured inserts, LED lighting and a smart full-width light bar at the rear.

The Dolphin uses BYD's very own 'Blade Battery', which is a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery as opposed to the lithium ion batteries we've heard a lot about to date. They are cheaper to make and do without precious metals like cobalt and nickel, which is an advantage.

It will seat five and there is a tremendous amount of legroom in the back seat. Built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, there is a flat floor the full width - though it's still a compact car so it's most comfortable for two back there.

At 345 litres, the boot is a little disappointing though it will be perfectly adequate for some. It's smaller than the boot in the MG4 and ID.3, which may limit its appeal for family buyers.

The cabin of the new Dolphin
The cabin of the new Dolphin

Inside the BYD Dolphin

The Dolphin's cabin is full of character. It's a really fun interior with a strong aquatic theme - the door handles are shaped like a dolphin's flipper and there's a curved finish to the dashboard that does resemble waves on the sea.

The Design model gets a beautiful coloured interior - dark blue in my test car with some red stitching in the steering wheel and around the circular air vents.

There are cheaper hard plastics in places but they are well-disguised among lots of soft touch materials in the dashboard and doors. The vegan leather seats with integrated headrests are another highlight.

The digital technology on board is a little hit and miss. There is a small digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, yet the icons are small and it appears quite cluttered.

An impressive 12.8-inch rotatable touchscreen is well-placed in the centre of the dash. It looks great with crisp graphics yet simple tasks like adjusting the fan speed require a few prods of the screen if you are using Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, which still require a cable to connect.

The new BYD Dolphin
The Dolphin is a cheerful companion for the road

Otherwise it's an exceptionally well-equipped car with standard features including lots of safety and driver assistance features, 360-degree camera, heated front seats with power adjustment and automatic lights with high beam assist.

The Design model adds wireless smartphone charging and a panoramic glass roof.

Driving the Dolphin

The Dolphin 60.4kWh uses a 204hp motor to send power to the front wheels. It's nippy enough and there's no problem picking up speed quickly to join motorways or for overtaking manoeuvres.

It's not the most exciting car to drive in the world with quite woolly steering but it's easy to place on the road and keep in lane on the motorway. It feels solid and comfortable on the road though it does get quite noisy at high speeds on the motorway, which might limit its appeal as a car for long commutes. A Volkswagen ID.3 is more refined in this manner.

Rear seating in the Dolphin
Rear seating in the Dolphin

There is a heat pump to improve the efficiency of the battery in cold weather and two 'strengths' possible of regenerative braking. Overall efficiency is good with my average sitting at about 16.3kWh per 100 kilometres during my time with the car. This put me on track for a real world driving range of about 370 kilometres between battery charges.

When it does come to charging, the Dolphin has an 11kW onboard AC charger. Fast charging rates are less impressive at 88kW compared to key rivals but it will still manage to go from 10-80% in 40 minutes.

Did you like it?

Beyond the sedate looks, the Dolphin is a cheerful car that will make a perfect family runabout. For the price, it has a very nice interior that makes rivals appear a bit dull and sparse. It's exceptionally well-equipped and while the screen is not without its foibles, overall this is a pleasant car to be behind the wheel of. It ticks the box for comfort without coming close to much excitement behind the wheel, yet it offers good reliable range. In short, the BYD Dolphin is a perfectly capable compact electric hatchback. If you’re interested in going electric and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, it's a great option.

The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland
The Dolphin is one of the best value EVs on the market in Ireland

Model tested: BYD Dolphin Design
Price: 
€31,192
Battery:
60.4Wh
Range: 427 kilometres (WLTP)
Power: 204 hp
Torque: 310 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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

 


The Atto 3 is a new electric compact crossover with a range of over 400 kilometres

BYD Atto 3 Review

Read Caroline's BYD Atto 3 review for everything you need to know about buying BYD's new electric compact crossover in Ireland.

BYD is the newest car brand to arrive in Ireland and plans to sell a range of electric cars here, starting with the Atto 3.

The Chinese carmaker has partnered with Motor Distributors Limited (MDL) to bring cars to market in Ireland. MDL already distributes Mercedes-Benz cars here.

The Atto 3 is BYD's first model to launch here. It will be followed by the Dolphin compact hatchback and the Seal four-door saloon shortly.

So BYD is serious about Ireland but should Ireland be serious about BYD? I took the Atto 3 for a test drive to find out.

The Atto 3 is a new electric compact crossover with a range of over 400 kilometres
The Atto 3 is a new electric compact crossover with a range of over 400 kilometres

What's so special about the BYD Atto 3?

BYD stands for 'Build Your Dreams' and is written across the back of the new Atto 3.

Priced from around €40,000, the Atto 3 arrives into a competitive market for compact electric crossovers and hatchbacks. But already BYD design is emerging as something quite distinct and different for Irish roads.

Being a crossover-style vehicle certainly helps. The Atto 3 has a fair bit of presence because it sits a little higher off the ground than the average hatchback. Yet it's not the most stylish model from BYD... yet. The upcoming Seal is sure to turn more heads when it arrives soon.

In its favour, Atto 3 is a substantial looking car with five seats inside and a 440-litre boot so it's going to be practical for a lot of people.

It's powered by a 60 kWh battery with a range of up to 420 kilometres (WLTP). That's close to the Peugeot e-2008 (406 kilometres) and just a little way off some of the best like the Kia Niro EV (460 kilometres) and the Hyundai Kona 64kWh (484 kilometres).

The interior of the BYD Atto 3
The interior of the BYD Atto 3

Inside the Atto 3

The cabin of the Atto 3 is quite quirky in its design with some unique door handles and even guitar strings in the doors. It's bright and colourful, with my test car featuring a blue and grey theme with red detailing.

It won't be to everyone's taste but it's definitely not boring. The quality feels good with a nicely finished steering wheel and some gorgeous leather-effect seats with integrated headrests.

It's not a cheap car but there are no rattles or squeaks and it feels well put together for a car brand that is new to the Irish market.

Infotainment is provided via a large screen (12.8-inch or 15.6-inch) that can change orientation, but I did find the light reflection made it hard to see clearly on bright days, even when switched from day to night mode. A wired Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto connection is included, and a wireless smartphone charging pad.

Equipment levels are high with three trim levels available and not much of a price walk between them. Atto 3 kicks off with the Active (from €39,078), the Comfort (from €39,546) and the Design (from €40,949).

The Atto 3 is on sale now priced from €39,078
The BYD Atto 3 on test for Changing Lanes

There's plenty of legroom in the back of the Atto 3 thanks to a flat floor the entire width of the car and it's wide enough for three children to sit comfortably too. The 440-litre boot is competitive for this class of vehicle and will be practical for daily life.

Driving the BYD

The Atto 3 is built on BYD's new e-Platform 3.0 and features BYD's own cobalt-free, Lithium Iron-Phosphate (LFP) battery called the 'Blade Battery'.

On the road, the BYD feels solid and well-made. There's a good seating position too and it's easy to get comfortable in. The steering is nicely weighted and allows for a smooth drive. Ride comfort is good for an electric crossover of this size, particularly in town, with just a touch of firmness over rougher surfaces.

The Atto 3 has a 204hp motor sending power to the front wheels. At speed, it cruises well with not too much road noise. There's plenty of power should you want it, with 0 to 100km/h completed in 7.3 seconds. There are also two levels of regenerative braking and a heat pump to improve the efficiency of the battery in cold weather.

Over a week of driving my average consumption was 17.3 kWh per 100 kilometres so it's reasonably efficient for an electric crossover of this size.

AC charging is available up to 11kW, while DC charging is possible up to 88kW.

Rear seating in the new BYD Atto 3
Rear seating in the new BYD Atto 3

Did you like it?

BYD will start to build a presence here with the first two dealerships already open in Dublin and a third in Cork. More locations are planned, as the brand establishes itself here.

The Atto 3 is a good debut for the BYD brand. Its chunky crossover styling is what the market loves right now, while it offers plenty of comfort, equipment and space inside.

There are plenty of competitors from more established brands in the Irish market hovering around a similar price range. But the Atto 3 does have an impressive build and lots of technology on board so the newcomer is worth paying attention too.

BYD has plenty more on the way too, including the BYD Dolphin, which will start from under €30,000 in the Irish market. Then there's the stylish Seal expected later this year. And 2024 will likely see the arrival of the BYD Han, a large and luxurious four-door saloon.

BYD is already off to a great start and the Atto 3 is definitely one to watch!

The Atto 3 is on sale now
The Atto 3 is on sale now

Model tested: BYD Atto 3 Design
Price:
€40,949
Battery: 60.48 kWh
Power:
204 hp
Torque: 310 Nm
0-100km/h:
7.3 seconds
Top speed: 160 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

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