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BYD Redefines Affordable Luxury with New Seal U DM-I Hybrid SUV

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Discover how BYD's Seal U DM-I is setting new standards in the hybrid SUV market with its blend of affordability, high performance, and premium features, making it a game-changer in the European automotive industry.

The Chinese car manufacturer BYD is making significant strides in the automotive market with its latest hybrid SUV offering, the Seal U DM-I. Known for its high quality and comfort at an affordable price, BYD has already established itself as a market leader in China, surpassing Volkswagen and even surpassing luxury brands such as Audi, Mercedes, and BMW in global sales. With aspirations to break into the European top 5, BYD is introducing the Seal U DM-I to expand its lineup, previously comprising only electric cars.

The Seal U DM-I is available in three versions: Comfort, Boost, and Design, and marks BYD's entry into the hybrid vehicle market. The 'DM' in the model name stands for Dual Mode, indicating its hybrid nature, combining a 1.5-liter internal combustion engine with an electric motor for enhanced performance. The Seal U DM-I's design remains consistent with the Seal family, maintaining signature visual elements while integrating functional air inlets for the hybrid system.

Two main engine variations are available: a 72 kW (98 hp) and a 96 hp (130 hp) version, with the Boost version featuring an electric motor that adds 145 kW (197 hp), bringing the system performance to 160 kW (217 hp). The Seal U Design model includes all-wheel drive with two electric motors that collectively deliver 238 kW (323 hp). The hybrid SUV's performance is notable, offering a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 8.9 seconds for the Boost version and 5.9 seconds for the Design version.

Furthermore, the Seal U DM-I is equipped with an 18.2 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery, with the Comfort version boasting a larger 26.6 kWh battery. BYD emphasizes sustainability by using a cobalt-free battery. Charging options include the capability to charge via motor or through an onboard CCS2 port. The Seal U DM-I can charge at 11 kW at an AC station and reaches a full charge from 15 to 100 percent in about two hours. For quicker recharges, a DC power tank at 18 kW substantially reduces charging time, replenishing the battery from 30 to 80 percent in just 35 minutes.

Fuel efficiency is a highlight of the Seal U DM-I, with a combined WLTP consumption of just 0.9 l/100 km in Boost mode and 1.2 l/100 km in Design mode. The energy consumption is equally impressive, with 21 kWh/100 km in Boost and 23.5 kWh/100 km in Design. Urban energy usage stands at 14.5 and 16.1 kWh/100 km, respectively. This efficiency ensures that in daily life, the vehicle can operate most routes purely on electric power, offering ranges of up to 70 kilometers in Boost and 80 kilometers in Design mode, with the Comfort variant covering up to 125 kilometers electrically.

During testing around Rome, the Seal U DM-I exhibited excellent handling and comfort on varying road conditions, including potholes and rough terrains. Despite its reliability in normal and sport modes, the vehicle's mode transition could be more intuitive. The Seal U DM-I offers Eco mode and specialized settings for snow, mud, and sand (in Design), and can switch to purely electric operation via the center console.

The Seal U DM-I is packed with features, including a standard head-up display and a fully digital cockpit, among other comforts like a panoramic roof, multiple USB ports, a 10-speaker sound system, and vehicle-to-load technology. Despite minor inconveniences with the start/stop button and navigation system, the vehicle's overall equipment quality is impressive. It supports Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and integrates various driving assistants such as cruise control, distance assistant, lane-keeping assistant, and sign recognition.

Additionally, the SUV offers substantial interior space, with a 552-liter trunk capacity that expands to 1440 liters with the back seats folded down. The 15.6-inch multimedia screen, which can rotate between horizontal and vertical orientations, adds a modern touch to the vehicle’s interior.

The Seal U DM-I starts at 38,900 euros for the Boost version in Germany, with the Design version priced at 44,500 euros. This hybrid family SUV stands out not just for its affordability, but for its comprehensive feature set and impressive performance, making it a compelling choice for consumers in the European market.

  • BYD's commitment to electric power is further reflected in the efficiency of the Seal U DM-I's dual motor system, which integrates seamlessly with the combustion engine to enhance overall performance and fuel economy. The company's use of a lithium iron phosphate blade battery with perimeter microtubes for thermal management underscores its innovative approach to hybrid technology.
  • The Seal U DM-I's impressive specifications illustrate BYD's focus on providing a premium driving experience at an accessible price point. Despite entering the market in 2023, the rapid expansion and technological advancements in BYD's hybrid models reveal the company's potential to reshape the automotive landscape significantly.
  • The combination of low fuel consumption and substantial electric range makes the Seal U DM-I a practical choice for both city and long-distance driving. The vehicle's adaptability to different driving conditions and the integration of advanced driving aids ensure a safe and comfortable ride, reinforcing its position as a leading hybrid SUV.
Daily Reports
Refs: | ANSA | Merkur |

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