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New hybrid SUV outdated before sales even start? 2024 BYD Song L could replace Toyota RAV4 rivalling Sealion 6 with 2100km driving range from new-gen powertrain

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2024 BYD Song L. (Image: CarNewsChina)
2024 BYD Song L. (Image: CarNewsChina)

The new BYD Song L was revealed in Chinese technical documents and measures up almost identically to the newly-arrived Sealion 6 SUV (known as the Song Plus in China).

The vehicle you see here, though, is powered by BYD’s new fifth-generation plug-in hybrid system debuted on the Seal DM-i sedan that boasts over 200km electric-only and 2100km combined driving range by CLTC standards. 

This new Song L emerges less than a month after our first Sealion 6 drive and before the medium SUV appears in VFACTS industry sales figures. The Sealion 6 is available to order from importer EVDirect but there’s no guidance on delivery timing yet. 

The Song L is visually similar in proportion to our Sealion 6 though the details are more striking. A broad ‘dragon face’ grille is expressive and aggressive while retractable door handles tidy up the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander rival’s sides.

At the rear there is a hint of Porsche Cayenne in the light details – probably no bad thing – and the tailgate comes to a very similar point to the existing Sealion 6. 

Dimensionally, the Song L is only 5.0mm longer and 8.0mm wider than the Sealion 6, while its 2782mm wheelbase is 17mm longer. This size proximity suggests the Song L is the Sealion 6’s replacement in China. 

While BYD’s plug-in hybrid mid-size SUV is new in Australia, the vehicle was first released in 2020 and facelifted in 2023. An on-sale date in the second half of 2024 is expected in China but Australian arrival is unlikely so soon. 

2024 BYD Song L. (Image: CarNewsChina)
2024 BYD Song L. (Image: CarNewsChina)

Its new fifth-gen plug-in hybrid system promises in excess of 2100km of combined driving range thanks to a 2.9L/100km efficiency when the battery is discharged – beating the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail e-Power. 

So far only a single motor, non-turbo system has been detailed producing a maximum 160kW – the same as the Sealion 6. 

The system is said to be more efficient, though, as evidenced by such an improvement over the existing car’s 1200km combined driving range. A new turbo twin-motor AWD variant, as found in the Sealion 6 Premium, producing 238kW and 550Nm, is yet to be announced. 

2024 BYD Sealion 6.
2024 BYD Sealion 6.

Though there is some clear overlap between this new model and existing vehicle, they may be sold alongside each other. The Chinese market is vast and, like the MG ZS and ZST, manufacturers occasionally choose to keep the old model in production to offer a lower price point. 

The Song L, therefore, may become a premium alternative to the mainstream Song Plus we know as the Sealion 6. 

The Song L’s start price is earmarked at 130,000 yuan, equivalent to $27,000 Australian. Expect the final price to be much closer to the Sealion 6’s $48,990, before on-road costs, starting price if it comes to Australia. 

CarsGuide has contacted Australian BYD importer EVdirect for additional information and this story will be updated if there is a response. 
John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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