2024 BYD Sealion 6 review

Andrea Matthews

Posted May 20, 2024

BYD Automotive has introduced its newest electric car, the plug-in hybrid BYD Sealion 6. The Chinese brand believes the Super Hybrid system that underpins this medium SUV will change electric vehicle adoption in Australia forever, thanks to its claimed class-leading fuel consumption of 1.1L/100km, potential combined driving range of over 1000km, and sharp price.

The BYD Sealion 6 is the company's first plug-in petrol hybrid vehicle to launch in Australia, and is now on sale priced from $48,990 plus on-road costs, undercutting mainstays of the popular medium SUV segment including the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander but more expensive than its slightly smaller sibling, the battery electric Atto 3 SUV.

Yet to hear about BYD? In 2023, the Chinese manufacturer overtook Tesla for global battery electric vehicle sales and sold over 3 million vehicles worldwide, placing the company in the top 10 global automotive sales chart for the first time. BYD's rapid expansion plans are set to see it substantially increase sales volumes in Australia, where it has already introduced three EVs in two years, including the Atto 3, Dolphin hatch and Seal sedan.

Does the BYD Sealion 6 have what it takes to be one of Australia's best medium SUVs?

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The BYD Sealion 6 has a 15.6-inch touchscreen with surround view camera

The BYD Sealion 6 medium SUV has a 15.6-inch touchscreen with surround view camera. Image: Supplied.


How much does the BYD Sealion 6 cost?

The BYD Sealion 6 comprises two models - Dynamic and Premium. Both vehicles feature a similarly impressive level of standard specification, with the main difference being the powertrain. The 160kW front-wheel drive Sealion 6 Dynamic costs $48.990 plus on-road costs and the 238kW all-wheel drive Sealion 6 Premium is on sale for $52,990 plus on-road costs.

At 4.77-metres long the Sealion 6 is about the same length as a Tesla Model Y and almost 40 cm longer than the BYD Atto 3. It has strong European-inspired styling, which is no surprise considering BYD’s design head, Wolfgang Egger, was formerly head of design for Volkswagen’s prestige portfolio. 

Standard features on both Sealion 6 models include a choice of five exterior paint colours, 19-inch alloy wheels and synthetic leather upholstery with a blue/grey finish optional on the Premium model. All vehicles have a panoramic sunroof as standard as well as privacy glass in the rear and a one-touch opening tailgate. Both front seats have power adjustment as well as heating and ventilation. Vehicle to load capability with discharge adaptor is also standard on all Sealion 6 models.

Like the BYD Dolphin and BYD Seal, the Sealion 6 features a large 15.6-inch colour touchscreen which rotates 90 degrees to be used in landscape or portrait mode. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are included with wireless connection, a first for a BYD vehicle. The Premium model adds to its technology inclusion list with a head up display.

A black/brown interior is standard in both Sealion 6 models with an optional blue/grey available in the Premium. Image: Supplied.
Rear seat space in the Sealion 6 is adequate for adult passengers. Image: Supplied.
BYD uses the same shifter in its Seal sedan. Image: Supplied.

What is the BYD Sealion 6 like inside?

Step inside the BYD Sealion 6 and it feels like any other premium mid-size SUV. That’s to say it’s well-finished but conventional and user-friendly. The interior of the Sealion 6 is both welcoming and accommodating, and each of the synthetic leather upholstery options are attractive - although the blue and grey give the car a much brighter feel.

The large touchscreen of the BYD Sealion 6 dominates the dashboard but the rest of the cabin is neat and well organised without too much clutter. There are two wireless charging docks for phones with storage below which is large enough for a small handbag. The shifter and vehicle controls in the BYD are all neatly packaged to take up minimal room and the shifter has a faceted design akin to more luxury medium SUVs.

The driving position is good, although the steering wheel adjustment is quite stiff. Room in the rear of the Sealion 6 is adequate for three adult passengers with plenty of legroom, and the full-size sunroof, although unable to be opened, increases the spacious feel for those in the second row.

How much boot space does the BYD Sealion 6 have?

Boot space in the BYD Sealion 6 is decent at 574-litres, putting it on a par with the Nissan X-Trail’s 575-litres. The Sealion 6 also beats the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander for space.

The Sealion 6 is also much more flexible than the BYD Atto 3, its battery electric sibling, which is over 30cm shorter and offers boot space of 440-litres as well as less room in the second row.

Like all vehicles in the medium SUV segment, boot space is significantly bested by the Tesla Model Y which has an impressive 854-litres available, although it's worth noting Tesla quotes a total volume loaded to the roof.

More: Tesla Model 3 compared to the BYD Atto 3

Can the BYD Sealion 6 tow?

The BYD Sealion 6 Dynamic has a braked towing capacity of 750kg, and the Sealion 6 Premium can tow 1300kg.

Boot space is on a par with most medium SUVs, however there's no spare wheel

Boot space in the Sealion 6 is larger than many medium SUVs, however there's no spare wheel.


How does the BYD Super-Hybrid DM-i technology work?

At the heart of the new Sealion 6 is BYD Automotive’s own plug-in hybrid system, what the company calls its Super-Hybrid DM-i technology. It’s an electric-first hybrid system pairing high output electric motors with an 18.3kWh battery which is backed up with an efficient 1.5-litre petrol engine (turbocharged in the Premium) and 60L fuel tank to deliver additional range when required.

The Super-Hybrid system takes power from the battery first, and offers an EV hold mode able to hold off on using any petrol power until the battery reaches 15 per cent capacity. It operates as a series hybrid, using the fuel powered engine to charge the battery while the battery powers the car.

Maximum range and efficiency can be achieved in the single motor, front-wheel drive 160kW Sealion 6 Dynamic which uses a normal aspirated engine, whereas the dual motor, all-wheel drive Sealion 6 Premium teams a 150kW motor on the front axle and a 120kW motor on the rear with a turbocharged engine for maximum power of 238kW and 550Nm.

Depending on driving style and terrain, the company says the BYD Sealion 6 Dynamic can achieve all-electric range of 92km compared to 81km in the Premium model. Fuel economy is a claimed 1.1L/100km and 1.4L/100km respectively.

This claimed fuel economy compares favourably to Australia's current best-selling plug-in hybrid, the Mitsubishi Outlander. Its 4WD model will achieve a greater electric only range of 84km but offers fuel usage on the combined cycle of 1.5L/100km and emits 35g/km. The five seat Mitsubishi Outlander Aspire PHEV is currently available for $69,390 driveaway - significantly more than the Sealion 6.

The BYD Super-Hybrid DM-i technology pairs a 1.5-litre petrol engine with an 18.3kW battery and motor.
The Sealion 6's battery technology has been developed and manufactured in-house by BYD.

Is the BYD Sealion 6 good to drive?

BYD introduced its prospective game-changing EV at Holden’s former Lang Lang Proving Ground. This location presents a solid selection of road surfaces and speeds, including the high speed bowl, and was sufficient to form an initial assessment of the BYD Sealion 6’s handling characteristics, but we’d like to carry out a longer term drive to maximise understanding of the hybrid’s long range claims.

In line with its European styling characteristics, the Sealion 6 feels distinctly European behind the wheel, too. We only drove the dual motor Premium model so as you'd expect from a dual-motor electric-first vehicle, acceleration was impressive. BYD claims an acceleration figure to 100km/h for the Sealion 6 Premium of 5.9 seconds.

The Sealion 6 benefits from an engaging steering tune which is direct, and gives great feedback compared to other medium SUVs. The European feel extends to the BYD's suspension which is taut but not too stiff. Both BYD Sealion 6 models come with 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, fitted with a 235/50 Giti tyre that contribute to a ride which is sporty, yet comfortable. The tyres also didn’t appear to contribute much road noise to the overall quiet driving experience.

And speaking of quiet, BYD have executed a very quiet hybrid with the Sealion 6. Conventional hybrids can emit a fair amount of noise from the engine once it kicks in but it's hard to pick when the engine starts up in the Sealion 6.

As a passenger in the rear of the Sealion 6, sharp undulations in the road did cause some suspension rebounds which transferred through to the back seat. Overall, given the space in the rear, passengers in the Sealion 6 should expect good levels of comfort.


The BYD Sealion 6 looks and drives like a European SUV.

There's more than a nod to Porsche design in the front end of the BYD Sealion 6.


How safe is the BYD Sealion 6?

The Sealion 6 is currently untested by ANCAP.

Both BYD Sealion 6 models come equipped with a full suite of safety technologies as standard including BYD's driver assistance systems. Front and rear parking sensors are supported by front and rear cross traffic alert with braking and a 360 degree camera delivers a top down view of the car when parking which can be adjusted on the large colour touchscreen.

Lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control as well as intelligent speed limit control serve to keep the Sealion 6 in its lane.

While some cars offer an occupant reminder function to encourage drivers to check their rear seat for passengers, the BYD Sealion 6 has a child presence detection function which uses wave radars to monitor the vehicle interior for signs of life. If the Sealion 6 senses a child may have been left in the vehicle, it honks the horn five times and then another 5 times. If the vehicle is not unlocked after that time, the car will switch on the air conditioning.

The BYD Sealion is able to operate small applliances

The BYD Sealion 6 is able to operate small appliances - like this coffee machine - using its electric power.


Should I buy a BYD Sealion 6?

On first impressions, the BYD Sealion 6 has plenty to offer the medium SUV buyer and is priced to get your attention, but it's important to note that its value reflects BYD's vast economies of scale rather than a budget approach to electric vehicle development.

If you're a driver who covers fewer than 80km a day, and has access to home or workplace charging, you'll rarely need to use the engine during the week but you'll have the flexibility of a long range vehicle for longer day trips on the weekend.

That gives you the experience of owning and driving an electric vehicle, with the peace of mind that you don't need to rely on a still-growing EV charger network if you choose to head further afield on a longer road trip.

Add its European design and engineering feel, and high level of technology to its economical powertrain, and the BYD Sealion 6 becomes even more worthy of your serious consideration.  If you're in the market for a new family mid-size SUV, don't miss test driving the BYD Sealion 6. 

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.