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New BYD Seal U plug-in hybrid SUV on sale now from £33,205

BYD’s answer to the Hyundai Tucson offers a pure-electric driving range of up to 50 miles

The new BYD Seal U mid-size SUV is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting from £33,205 for the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan rival.

The Seal U DM-i, to use its full name, is available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that utilises the BYD’s Super DM (Dual Mode) Technology. The tech prioritises drive provided by the electric motors, with less reliance on the petrol engine meant to help improve fuel consumption. 

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Every model has a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 18.3 kWh lithium-ion ‘blade’ battery that feeds either one or two electric motors, depending on the exact model.

The front-wheel drive BYD SEAL U DM-i Boost produces 215bhp and 300Nm of torque, and offers a pure-electric driving range of up to 50 miles. With a fully charged battery and a full tank of petrol, BYD claims this version can cover 671 miles before needing to stop.

Meanwhile the SEAL U DM-i Design – which starts from £39,905 – adds a second electric motor to deliver all-wheel drive, and boosts the car’s combined power output to 319bhp with 550Nm of torque. The extra motor cuts the EV range down to 43 miles, but also allows this Seal U to do 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds. 

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Unlike a lot of plug-in hybrids, the Seal U also features AC and DC charging capabilities, allowing its battery to be recharged from 30 to 80 per cent in 35 minutes at up to 18kW. Also standard is a V2L (vehicle-to-load) socket, so devices like laptops can be powered by the car’s battery.

The Seal U uses BYD’s ‘Ocean Aesthetics’ design language, and comes with LED headlights with dual lenses, 19-inch alloy wheels and LED tail-lights that form part of a full-width rear light bar. Boot space stands at 425 litres – around 130 litres less than a plug-in hybrid Sportage and Tucson – with 1,440 litres available when the rear seats are folded down.

The Seal U’s interior features a 15.6-inch rotating touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, a wireless charging pad, a panoramic sunroof, vegan leather upholstery and several driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.

The Seal U is the Chinese brand’s first hybrid to wash up on UK shores, as until now BYD had only launched pure-electric cars here. Its EV line-up includes the Dolphin hatchback, Atto 3 SUV and Tesla Model 3-rivalling Seal saloon. As its name suggests, the Seal U borrows some styling cues and technology from the last of those three. 

Now find out more about the best SUVs to buy....

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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