Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Ora 03 review: not quite the Funky Cat’s whiskers

The Ora 03 may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s a good, left-field electric city car option with a plush interior and all the kit you could possibly need

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Decent to drive
  • Stylish cabin
  • Lots of standard equipment

Cons

  • Unsettled ride
  • Mediocre range
  • Tight boot

Ora Funky Cat verdict

While it may have ditched its rather silly name, the Ora 03 remains a quirky small electric car with plenty of positives. The interior is well-trimmed and suitably funky, plus we like how much equipment the Ora gets as standard. It’s not the most fun car to drive in its segment, though, and we think some rivals offer superior ride refinement. The Ora’s boot is pretty titchy, too, although there’s plenty of space in the rear for taller passengers – not something that can be said for the 03’s competitors. Regardless, if you’re intrigued by its five-star safety rating and somewhat appealing price tag, the Ora 03 should definitely be on your shortlist if you’re after something with a little more pizazz than most electric superminis.

Details, specs and alternatives

Ora is the latest Chinese car maker hoping to take Europe by storm. Its first model, the 03, originally arrived on UK shores with the questionable ‘Funky Cat’ nameplate, but has since been rebranded to suit us prudish British buyers. It takes the form of an electric supermini that straddles two segments, being slightly larger than a Fiat 500e or Vauxhall Corsa Electric, but slightly cheaper and less practical than the equivalent Volkswagen ID.3 or Renault Megane E-Tech. Of course, there’s no forgetting the MG4 and BYD Dolphin, which also both originate from China and are more affordable to buy than the Ora.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

From the outside, the Ora 03 is a somewhat Frankenstein-esque amalgamation of the Porsche 911 and Volkswagen Beetle. It’s a cute thing, nonetheless, and is available in a variety of bright colours. Plus, if buying a car that was once named the ‘Funky Cat’ doesn’t say enough about your personality, you can also specify the car with jazzy two-tone upholstery for an instant conversation starter.

As of 2024, there are two versions of the Ora 03 available to UK buyers: the entry-level Pure+ model gets a 46kWh (usable) battery pack for a range of up to 193 miles. Previously called the ‘First Edition’, the Pure+ has a rather long standard kit list which includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED lights all round, leatherette upholstery, twin 10.25-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless phone charger and a 360-degree camera system.

Introduced in late 2023, the Pro+ model gets a larger 63kWh battery for a 261-mile range, as well as a smattering of extra kit including heated, cooled and massaging front seats – yes, in a supermini! – as well as a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, tinted rear windows and hands-free parking. Both cars get the same 169bhp electric motor and, given how well-equipped the Pure+ is, we’d stick with that unless you really need the extra range.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

It’s also worth noting that GWM Ora says the 03 line-up will expand even further in 2024 with the introduction of a base model with a potential starting price of under £30,000, as well as a high-performance GT model with a much sportier bodykit.

Range, battery size & charging

Model

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge

Pure+

193 miles

5.4hrs (15-80%, 6.6kW)

42 mins (15-80%, 64kW)

Pro+

261 miles

7.2hrs (est. 15-80%, 6.6kW)

48 mins (15-80%, 64kW)

Depending on which version you choose, the Ora 03 is powered by a 46kWh or 64kWh battery which provide a range of 193 miles and 261 miles respectively. While the base Pure+ model is put to shame by the majority of electric superminis out there when it comes to range, the Pro+ is somewhat competitive in its segment, having longer legs than the equivalent Peugeot E-208 or Renault ZOE. The cheaper and larger MG4 EV Long Range still has the Ora beaten with its 270-mile maximum, though.

If that wasn’t enough, we must stress that these figures are a best-case scenario, showcased by the fact we could only manage around 2.8 miles per kWh during our winter tests of the base Pure+. This translates to a range of around 134 miles – quite a lot less than Ora’s claimed figure. It should be much easier to get closer to this during the warmer months, though; we managed around four miles per kWh, giving a range of around 180 miles.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Another thorn in the 03’s side is its mediocre 64kW maximum rapid charging speed; the industry standard is at least 100kW these days, with both the Pure+ and Pro+ taking roughly three-quarters of an hour to top-up from 15-80%. In comparison, the Volkswagen ID.3 can charge at speeds of up to 175kW and can charge its much larger 77kWh battery in just 28 minutes. 

Of course, plugging the 03 into a 7.4kW home wallbox – or even a standard three-pin plug – will take much longer. It can charge at AC speeds of up to 11kW, but most homes don’t have the three-phase electrics to take advantage of that.

Running costs & insurance

You may feel a bit like a cat on a hot tin roof spending more than £30,000 on an electric supermini, but thankfully Ora’s offering has low running costs. For example, its electric car status means the 03 sits in the rock-bottom 2% Benefit-in-Kind bracket for company car drivers. With this in mind, business users could pay as little as £128 in tax per year to run it.

Advertisement - Article continues below

While using public chargers can be just as expensive as filling up a petrol car, charging the Ora at home should cost around £14 at the current maximum energy rate, under the price guarantee of 30p per kWh. It’s also exempt from road tax (VED) until 2025, and can enter the London Congestion Charge and other low emissions zones for free.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

All versions of the Ora 03 occupy the rather high insurance group 30 – shocking, given we doubt anyone would want to steal a car that was, for a long time, known as the ‘Funky Cat’. That said, electric cars do tend to be more expensive than their petrol equivalents due to the added expense of replacement parts. A Vauxhall Corsa Electric, or even a Jeep Avenger SUV, will almost invariably be cheaper to cover than the Ora, though.

Performance, motor & drive

Model

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

Pure+

8.3s

99mph

Front

169bhp

Pro+

8.2s

99mph

Front

169bhp

The Ora 03 may not be quite as enjoyable to drive as, say, a MINI Electric, but it still feels relatively light on its feet. The 03’s electric motor offers plenty of punch – especially around town where it’s able to dart in between small gaps with ease. The steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but it’s direct nonetheless, and there’s little body roll whenever you throw the car into a corner.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Its biggest flaw, however, is the ride, because the Ora’s firm suspension means it tends to jostle about over poorer road surfaces. It’s never uncomfortable, but an MG4 feels a lot more refined, despite being even sportier to drive.

Like many electric cars, the Ora 03 has a one-pedal driving mode. This can be configured in three different levels of brake regeneration via the touchscreen and is incredibly smooth around town. Once you’ve got used to how the system works, you’ll very rarely have to touch the brake pedal at all.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

The bright and jazzy interior of the Ora 03 will either be loved or hated. We happen to be quite fond of the Ora’s cabin and think it’s almost criminal to go for anything other than one of the two-tone colour schemes; material quality is strong throughout and we particularly like the quilted upholstery on the door cards.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Ora’s dual-screen infotainment system has more of a whiff of Mercedes A-Class about it, although it’s nowhere near as intuitive to use. In contrast to the 03’s bright interior and exterior, both screens’ graphics are rather dark and dingy, with a few too many sub-menus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard and we recommend you use them because although the main display itself is pretty responsive, the native software lets it down. It’s also annoying that the climate controls are buried in the touchscreen, rather than being integrated into the row of satisfying toggle switches below.

Boot space, seating & practicality

LengthWidthHeightBoot space (seats up/down)
4,235mm1,825mm1,603mm228/858 litres

Although it may look like a mutated Fiat 500 from a distance, the Ora 03 is actually more similar in size to the slightly larger – and much more expensive – Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born. The doors don’t open all that wide, but there’s plenty of head and legroom in the rear seats, with the flat floor enabling you to easily carry three abreast for short journeys.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The 03’s boot, on the other hand, isn’t great, and with just 228 litres on offer, there’s not enough room to swing a Funky Cat (sorry, we couldn’t resist!). A Vauxhall Corsa Electric has a 390-litre boot, while a Kia Niro EV almost has double the amount of space, at 475 litres. Still, the Ora’s rear seats can be folded to expand space to a better-but-still-not-fantastic 858 litres.

Reliability & safety rating

We’d be surprised if you’d heard of GWM Ora before the arrival of the 03 – especially given it only formed in 2018 back in China. Therefore, there’s very little to go on in terms of reliability – the Ora is yet to have sold in large enough numbers to feature in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. What we can say, however, is that electric cars should, in theory, be more reliable than their petrol brethren, given they have fewer moving parts to go wrong.

Being a new entry into the market hasn’t stopped the 03 from being awarded a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Standard safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree camera system for tricky manoeuvres. Adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist should also help you feel like the cat that’s got the cream in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

Skip advert
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Volkswagen Golf GTE review
Volkswagen Golf GTE
In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Golf GTE review

20 Sep 2022

Most Popular

Where can I buy hydrogen and where is my nearest hydrogen filling station?
hydrogen filling station
Your questions answered

Where can I buy hydrogen and where is my nearest hydrogen filling station?

A guide to where you can find hydrogen fuel stations for filling up a hydrogen fuel-cell car in the UK
11 Apr 2024
Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: specs, details and prototype ride of the new EV G-Class
G 580 with EQ Technology roadtrip photo front 3/4 on a hill
News

Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: specs, details and prototype ride of the new EV G-Class

The new G 580 will be revealed to the world on the 24th of April, we look at all the details of the forthcoming model and we ride in the prototype
12 Apr 2024
Audi RS e-tron GT gets big improvements and welcome changes
2024 Audi RS e-tron GT - front tracking
News

Audi RS e-tron GT gets big improvements and welcome changes

Audi’s flagship RS e-tron GT electric sports car gets an upgrade in cutting edge tech and a performance boost
15 Apr 2024

More on Funky Cat

GWM killed the Funky Cat: electric hatch renamed Ora 03
Lancia 03
News

GWM killed the Funky Cat: electric hatch renamed Ora 03

The controversially-named Ora Funky Cat has been renamed as part of the Chinese brand’s rebranding scheme
15 Jan 2024
New Ora Funky Cat First Edition+ gets more range, but not the cream
Ora Funky Cat First Edition+ - header
News

New Ora Funky Cat First Edition+ gets more range, but not the cream

New version of GWM Ora’s curiously-named hatchback gets more range and a more generous kit list
2 Oct 2023
New ORA Funky Cat electric car: prices, specs and walkaround video
ORA Funky Cat
News

New ORA Funky Cat electric car: prices, specs and walkaround video

First Edition models of the electric hatchback priced from £31,995; additional trim levels to added to Funky Cat line-up in 2023
23 Jun 2022