In-depth reviews

Cupra Born review

More adventurous styling and a better-quality interior help set the Spanish brand's first electric car apart from the Volkswagen ID.3 it's based on

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Decent ride and handling
  • Better interior than VW ID.3

Cons

  • No 4WD version offered yet
  • Only slightly quicker than ID.3
  • Some rivals offer faster charging
Battery/motorRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
45kWh/148bhp211 miles7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)26mins (10-80%, 100kW)
58kWh/201bhp264 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)35mins (5-80%, 125kW)
58kWh/228bhp261 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)35mins (5-80%, 125kW)
77kWh/228bhp340 miles12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (5-80%, 135kW)

The Cupra name isn’t new, although it only recently became a standalone brand within the VW Group a few years ago. Formerly a badge applied to hotted-up SEATs, the sub-brand was split from its parent company and now offers a range of cars. The first was the highly popular Formentor SUV, available as a plug-in hybrid, but the Cupra Born is unlike anything the Spanish brand has released to date, because it’s fully electric.

The first time we drove Born was on Spanish roads, where we filmed our video review (above), but now we’ve had a chance to take the zero-emissions family hatchback out on UK roads. Our test car featured a 58kWh battery and single electric motor producing 201bhp and 310Nm of torque; enough for 0-62mph in a respectable 7.3 seconds and a range of 264 miles.

This is the first of four Born variants that'll be available in time, including one capable of up to 340 miles on a charge. We also expect a more potent variant to arrive later down the road – Cupra’s equivalent of the upcoming Volkswagen ID.3 GTX hot hatchback.

Underneath, the Born shares underpinnings with the ID.3, which we’re very familiar with at this stage, as well as the ID.4, ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron and Skoda Enyaq iV. The challenge for Cupra, then, was to make the Born different enough from those cars for it to have a distinct appeal to certain buyers.

The first element of this is styling, where a sculpted bonnet, sharp LED lights and eye-catching wheels have been employed to make the Born look sportier and a lot more aggressive than the smoothed-off, non-threatening VW.

Interior quality is very good, too. This is one area where the ID.3 has come in for criticism – and one area where the Cupra registers a definite improvement over its sibling. It looks and feels nicer than the rather austere VW, and it even has a better thought-out infotainment layout.

A higher centre console means the Cupra doesn’t feel as roomy as the VW, but the trade-off is a more driver-focused feel – which ties in nicely with its sporty appearance, with the driver and front passenger getting supportive sports bucket seats. On the downside, however, the Cupra persists with the annoying touch-sensitive sliders on the dashboard and steering wheel that cause so much frustration in the VW.

On the road, the Born offers refinement, solid handling and good ride comfort in most situations, even on our test car’s chunky 20-inch alloy wheels. There’s also a decent amount of body control and grip is good, however acceleration can tail off after the initial sprint from 0-30mph. It therefore can't truly be considered an 'electric hot hatch' just yet, but power delivery is smooth, which does at least make it predictable – unlike the whiplash-inducing rides some sporty EVs offer.

The Born may have a higher starting price than its ID.3 sister for the time being, but the entry-level version of the Cupra has yet to arrive. Plus, you get a sharper-looking car with a more attractive and better-quality interior for your money. It also manages to offer a subtly different driving experience to the VW, although we’d have appreciated even more sportiness and driver involvement from the brand’s first electric offering. For a more detailed look at the Cupra Born, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

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