BYD Seal - EV Hour

We hit the road to put the BYD Seal through the ringer, to see how the 82.5kWh-powered electric car performs and if it can compete with the best to become a standout EV sensation.

Audio transcription

"BYD. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
Well, how about Build Your Dreams?
That isn't really great either.
But unlike the name, this manufacturer is particularly interesting because unlike perhaps some of the upcoming Chinese EV manufacturers here on the scene, this one is definitely here to stay."

"I've been driving that, one of their main flagships, the SEAL, for a good two weeks, and I have some thoughts about it.
Welcome to EV Hour."

"Let's break with tradition and take a walk around first.
Do you like it?
I kind of do.
I had to get used to it, but there's a bit of Model 3, a little bit of Taycan, and even some old Supra energy in there as well."

"It's gaudy and excessive and loud, but actually, I think it all amounts to something that looks more expensive than it is, which is what you're looking for, isn't it?
The 82.5-kilowatt battery will serve a range of up to 520 kilometers."

"It sports 530 horsepower in the larger engine spec.
You can get it with four-wheel drive.
The massive 19-inch rims look sick.
There's plenty of gadgets all around."

"Like with most EVs today, there's nothing inherently missing here.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I have had people that have sat in this car while I've tested it say that they love the fact that it feels like a natural, luxurious sedan rather than a minimalist, new Nordic EV like, say, a Tesla."

"And there is some truth to that.
I mean, it is very a lot in here, but it's not really my taste, but that does not mean that it's not functional."

"So let's take the main screen here as an example.
Well, here it is.
This is the menu that you boot up to, and I don't really like the look of it."

"I think it has gaudy icons and it's spaced all wrong, but you can't deny its functionality.
So let's go to navigation real quick here.
This is just a basic map, but what if I wanted to run two apps side-by-side, foldable style?
Well, I can very much do that."

"I just have to choose the Spotify app over here, and, well, there you go.
And beyond that, I can choose how much I want each to take up in terms of the actual screen space."

"And if I wanted it vertically, well, I can do this, and the screen will rotate so I can live my vertical lifestyle if that is what I want.
And basically this kind of super functionality, but without much tact, emanates throughout the entire vehicle."

"So for instance, down here where you charge your phones wirelessly, it says Qi in massive lettering.
And this little gear knob and control module here is very functional, and it offloads a lot of the car's functions onto direct buttons."

"That means that I don't have to look for them specifically within that OS, but it's still gaudy.
And I don't know what this NFC tag here does, but I couldn't get it to work, and it's not good looking either."

"So does that mean that the car is ugly?
No, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a constant mix of elements that I like and elements that I don't like."

"And I think that is kind of a problem.
So for instance, take a look at this.
This right here is Alcantara, and it is very nice.
I want every car interior that I've sat in to just have more of it."

"But it is mixed with this leather here.
This is probably optional, and it's very firm, but it's also just, I think, outdated at this point, and I wanted something else."

"So again, a constant mix of different elements that blend together, not seamlessly, but well enough.
That means that it is a good place to sit.
Just not sure about the overall look and feel."

"To be honest with you, this backseat isn't too bad either.
There is a big panoramic glass roof, which extends all the way from the front here all the way out to the back, which is quite nice, to be honest with you."

"And these bucket-style seats here are very sporty looking, but they're also quite comfortable.
And as a plus, there's more space in the back here, at least to my eye, than there is in a Tesla Model 3."

"So build your dreams, or BYD, is definitely onto something.
It's just that it pairs with a little bit of tacky interior design.
It is the driving characteristics that are the most striking here."

"This is sporty in a way a Model 3 really isn't.
It's taut, tight, responsive, and tuned to kick you in the face when you really put your foot down."

"It's a fun little car, it really is.
And while it perhaps lacked the subtlety of, say, the X-Pane P7, it is, well, it's fun.
And then there is the price."

"I know that I actually started the EV hour series not talking about prices too much because I just found it irrelevant to talk, at least spend too much time talking, about whether or not something is worth the asking price, because that depends on the eyes perceiving it."

"But what I will say is that this is probably the same as a Tesla Model 3, meaning that it's in the same price bracket as a Hyundai IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6, as a Polestar 2."

"So it's not exactly coming into the market being, well, markedly cheaper than the competing rivals in that particular bracket.
And while I do think that it's incredibly fun to drive, I do think it would probably have been the better call to make it cheaper also, not by a lot, but by some."

"The BYD Seal is not bad.
In fact, it's a key competitor and rightfully so.
And I enjoyed driving it more than anything else.
But for me personally, I definitely need to see their next outings to judge whether their cars are for me."

"And the Seal U looks to offer up the same characteristics and fun design, but at the same time, offering up more space for less money.
Stay tuned for that on the next EV hour."

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