Motoring

Car of the week: Cupra Born has a feel-good factor

November 25th, 2022 10:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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BY BRIAN BYRNE 

IT’S getting harder to suggest a real difference between car brands and models from the same automotive group when they all come underpinned by the same platform and electric powertrains.

In the internal combustion era, substantial upshifts in power could be offered for performance variants, but with electric drivetrains offering high acceleration in even most basic configurations, is there a real difference any more between standard and sporty? 

That’s my dilemma with the Cupra Born and its Volkswagen brand kissing cousin ID 3. Cupra, spun out of SEAT, is now the VW Group’s performance flag-carrier, and the Born its first electric car.

Compared to the ID 3, the Born is a tad longer and a wee bit lower. All dimensions inside are the same. For the Cupra style you get a sharper look to both front and rear, and also the brand’s bronze metallic detail cues scattered around the sheetmetal, wheel designs and interior. And, of course, the Cupra logo which I find attractive in its own right. All in all, the Born does offer a bit more distinctiveness over the ID 3.

Inside there are the familiar controls and instrumentation designs as we get across all VW Group electric cars — including the just launched here ID Buzz in passenger and cargo variants. The Born has its own dashboard styling around these, and a different central console with useful covered storage.

My review car had the optional sporty bucket seats with non-adjustable integrated head restraint, which for me worked fine but a passenger was mildly bothered by the non-adjustment. Otherwise the seats were well-designed, supportive and comfortable. For those in the rear there’s good leg and head room. The Born is in the compact family segment, so three adults in the back would need to be comfortable being in close contact with each other. The boot is adequate at 385 litres and is well finished. Overall, for the diver the car felt good.

My review car was the basic version sold here, with 204hp and a 58kWh battery that is rated for range at 417km under the WLTP testing regime. While that can be achieved, the realistic figure in general Irish motoring is more likely to be 320km, but if you’re doing a lot of city driving, the range can go up substantially. As in all VW EVs so far, there’s no real ‘one-pedal’ regenerative option, but a ‘B’ drive option does go some way in that direction, and some may find it useful in urban driving. The 7.3s 0-100km/h sprint is very respectable, but no more than the equivalent ID 3. You can get better acceleration from the upper-level Borns with what they call e-Boost.

The advantage of not having a very large battery — there are smaller and bigger ones available in other markets — is that the Born doesn’t feel over-weighted. So it handles well and if you want to give it some sporty work it feels up to it.

But the overall ‘performance’ addition we get with this car is the style from outside and the sportier sense of the inside with the Cupra design details. It’s ‘feel good’ and that’s probably enough to make the choice worthwhile.

VERDICT

What I liked: Feelin’ good, man.

Price:  From €39,020 including grants; review car €42,412. 

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