BYD overtook Tesla in China this year for EV sales and now it’s gunning specifically for the Model 3 with its new Seal electric sedan. Slightly strange and uninspired name aside, the Seal (which will be marketed as the Atto 4 in some markets outside China) has good looks, competitive tech and good specs too, and if it’s as good as they say in this new review, then it could be a hit outside the People’s Republic.
The plan is to sell the BYD Seal in certain European markets, in Australia and some Latin American markets, as well as in the Middle East. We’ve already seen reviews of the Seal from China and they’re all very positive, setting the model apart from any BYD that came before it.
The reviewer from ChinaDriven concurs, praising the Seal for its mature good looks, having the best interior of any BYD vehicle with good design and a surprisingly high level of fit and finish. And based on what we’re shown in the video, it really does seem to look good, which is important given that European car buyers do factor this in when they are looking to buy a new car, especially one from a relatively unknown Chinese brand.
When it comes to its all-important infotainment screen, the Seal impresses with a big 15.6-inch display that can rotate and switch between landscape and portrait modes. The software also seems to run very fluidly, while the graphics are also really good, even by the latest standards.
The Seal does all the EV things pretty well too. With the long range 82.5 kWh battery (a Blade LFP structural pack), the BYD has a claimed range on the Chinese CLTC test cycle of up to 700 km (435 miles), although realistically you probably won’t see it exceed 500 km (310 miles) in the real world.
There’s also a smaller 61.5 kWh battery pack with a rated range of 550 km (341 miles), but we don’t know if that is going to be available outside China yet. Base cars are rear-wheel drive, with a single 308 horsepower motor, while the dual-motor bumps that up to 517 horsepower and is rated to accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds, not quite as quick as a Tesla Model 3 Performance, but pretty close.
In China, it’s also slightly cheaper than a Tesla Model 3, and we’ll have to wait and see if this price difference is retained when the vehicle is sold outside China. Since it will be nowhere near as desirable as a Tesla, because of the unknown badge, BYD will need to make it more appealing by selling it cheaper than its direct rival.