Sunday China Drive | BYD Seal 06 DM-i PHEV has a 2,100 km range with quality to match

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On 28 May 2024, BYD launched the new DM-i 5.0 PHEV platform and advertised its 2100 km range on the Seal 06 DM-i and Qin L DM-i. Both cars were introduced with a starting price of 99,800 yuan (13,750 USD). These cars took center stage at the BYD exhibition at the Shenzhen Auto Show, where BYD invested 138 million USD. Real-world tests concluded with 2.54L of fuel every 100 kilometers. As the production cars hit the market, what are they like to drive, and how is the built quality? Let’s head out with the Seal 06 DM-i on this week’s Sunday China Drive

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Shenzhen Auto Show 2024

It has been a month since we tested the BYD Seagull. We’ve just received the exciting news from the BYD rep that the eagerly awaited BYD Sea-Lion 07 (see specs) SUV, which has completed its on-road registration, is now fully prepared for a test drive. Furthermore, the BYD Seal 06 DM-i production car is also ready to hit the road for an on-road test. With this update, we wasted no time and headed straight to the BYD 4s dealership for the BYD Ocean series to get our hands on both these vehicles.  

First Impressions

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At the center of the dealership stood the BYD Seal 06 DM-i. Why isn’t the Sea-Lion 07 more premium placed in the middle? The BYD rep explained that the Seal 06 DM-i has become very popular. On weekends, many customers have been lining up to inspect the E-segment sedan measuring 4830/1875/1495 mm and with a wheelbase of 2790 mm. The test-drive car became available only two days ago. Hence, our decision to report on the Seal 06 DM-i sedan before the Sea-Lion 07 SUV.

Being named Seal 06 DM-i, it is evident that the new car belongs to BYD’s Ocean series. Its appearance closely assembles the original BYD Seal (EV) and the Seal DM-i. It has a low grille. The door handles are partially hidden. At the rear, a continuous taillight spans across the trunk, and the BYD logo illuminates at night. All the panels are well aligned, and the doors closed, sounding solid.  

The Interior

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Our test car is the top-trimmed 120km flagship model. You will find familiarities from BYD’s Ocean series upon entering the new car. The interior uses lots of soft-touch materials with nice stitching. The style of the three-spoke steering wheel is the same as the one used on the BYD Seal (EV), while an 8.8-inch LCD instrument screen sits above it. At the center lays BYD’s signature 15.6-inch rotating center screen, which can be operated via voice commands. There are no black plastic panels inside the cabin to attract your fingerprints.

The driver’s seat was comfortable, upholstered in perforated leatherette that offered good lumbar support. The rear seats provided ample space and featured three individual headrests. Both headroom and legroom were spacious. This car can comfortably seat five adults.

The Seal 06 DM-i includes six airbags, automatic air conditioning, one-touch driver’s window control, and tire pressure monitoring. It also has a panoramic sunroof with electronic blinds to block out the sun, DiPilot L2 driving assistance, an electric adjustable front passenger seat, a dashcam, 18-inch wheels, and heated and ventilated seats. All these are included in the 19,250 USD package.

As an audiophile, the 8-speaker system surprised me. Unlike the audio system from the Yuan UP, not only did we manage to hear the music from the speakers during the test drive, but the quality was quite musical and did not lack bass.

Storage

The car’s deep trunk is a practical solution to your storage needs, providing a spacious 425-liter capacity. With the rear seats folded down, the capacity can be increased to an impressive 1,440 liters.

Behind the Wheel

We took the new car on suburban roads in Zhuhai to see how it performed. The Seal 06 DM-i’s driver’s seating position is relatively low. The steering wheel is slightly thicker and more extensive than other BYD cars I tested, which required getting used to. Once the sedan began moving, I noticed the quietness inside the cabin. However, the tire noise is quite noticeable.

The steering is responsive, precise, stable through corners, and communicates well with the road. Since this is a hybrid, it doesn’t feel as light as BYD’s pure EVs.

It accelerated quickly during overtaking, reaching 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and weighing 1,775 kg. Like other BYD cars I have tested, the Seal 06 DM-i does not provide explosive acceleration but a linear speed increase. The accelerator is more receptive than the previous Seal DM-i (see specs).

The Seal 06’s MacPherson front suspension and E-type four-link rear suspension provided a comfortable ride. The suspensions also communicated with the driver and the road.

Despite being built on the same platform, the Seal 06 DM-i is tuned to provide a slightly firmer and more sporty ride than the Qin L DM-i. Besides the zippy BYD Seagull, other BYD models we tested emphasized comfort over driving engagement. We experienced a more agile ride in sports mode but cannot categorize the Seal 06 DM-i as a “fun to drive” car as we did with the Geely Galaxy E8.

Range

The top trim Seal 06 DM-i has a 15.9 kWh battery with a 120 km CLTC range. Together with its 65-liter petrol tank, it offers a combined range of 2,100 km CLTC.

Safety Features

The Seal 06 DM-i offers six airbags, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and blind spot detection.

Dealership Experience

The BYD representative I had been in contact with via WeChat was on leave, so I was given a new contact. At the dealership, I found out this person was also on leave. After some confusion and walking around, a friendly sales rep helped and gave me a bottle of water while I waited for the test drive. He accompanied me on the test drives in both the Seal 06 DM-i and the Sea-Lion 07 to explain the details of the cars. Overall, we spent a present two hours at the dealership and test driving.

Conclusion

Despite having previously tested the Yuan-UP and the Seagull, I was skeptical of the Seal 06 DM-i before the test drive. How can an E-segment vehicle be offered from only 13,750 USD, even in China? BYD did not cut down on the quality of the car. At this price point, one should expect BYD to offer something other than bells and whistles, like auto parking or an advanced driver assistance system with minimal reliance on high-precision maps. Overall, the BYD Seal 06 DM-i is good value for money. This is why buyers are willing to wait three months for delivery. Other models, such as the BYD Song Plus and Song L, will be fitted with the DM-i 5.0 powertrain.

BYD is the first to mass produce its fifth generation DM-i PHEV, which achieves 2,000+ km in range. Chery and Geely are also working on PHEV platforms to deliver a similar range. With the ever-increasing fuel prices, the significant market impact of BYD’s fifth-generation DM-i PHEV platform is indeed exciting for car enthusiasts.

Stay tuned for next week’s Sunday China Drive at Car News China, where you can get more evaluations of Chinese EVs from a first-person perspective.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Best evaluations article of Chinese EVs on the web, love those closeup shots, it will be even better if I can see the texture of the leather seats 🙂

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