ORA Funky Cat review

ORA Funky Cat

We road test the first car from a new brand to the UK – the ORA Funky Cat EV…

With its cool name and retro looks, this affordable electric hatchback is our introduction to ORA – one of five brands owned by Chinese car giant, Great Wall Motor.

Founded in 1984, GWM is China’s largest producer of SUVs and pick-up trucks, and the Funky Cat will be followed by more 100% electric siblings, probably all with cute feline names.

Apparently, ORA stands for “Open, Reliable and Alternative” and so far the strategy seems to be working well because ORA sold 135,000 cars in China during 2021 and several thousand UK motorists have already registered an interest in the Funky Cat.

ORA Funky Cat

Priced from £31,995, ORA has kept it simple at launch with just a ‘First Edition’, available in four colours, including Aurora Green and Nebula Green.

Featuring a 48kWh battery offering an official range of 193 miles, power comes from a 169bhp electric motor driving the front wheels, giving a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 99mph.

It can be charged via a 6.6kW home charger in five hours 24 minutes, or 3 hours 12 minutes using an 11kW public charger.

ORA Funky Cat

If you can find a rapid 100kW connection, you’ll be back on the road in less than 45 minutes.

The Funky Cat is bigger than it looks in pictures, so it’s more Golf than Polo, or Focus than Fiesta. Crucially, it’s also about the same size as the VW ID.3 – the electric vehicle ORA reckons is the Funky Cat’s closest rival (though we’d say the Citroen e-C4 is closer still).

With its blend of retro features and modern touches, this five-door family hatchback is a breath of fresh air on the road.

ORA Funky Cat

There are hints of MINI, VW Beetle, Nissan Micra and Alfa Romeo MiTo, with its round headlights, sloping nose and bonnet creases.

The Funky Cat’s wheel-in-each-corner profile is more unique with clever curves and a high waistline, while its pert rear is not unlike a Nissan Leaf, though the ‘Cat’ has low set lights, a full width lightbar along the bottom of the tailgate window and a sporty spoiler.

The interior is right up there with the MINI Electric in terms of build quality and the near-premium use of materials. It feels solid too (the doors close with a satisfying clunk).

ORA Funky Cat

It’s funky inside with a minimalist design and a trim matching the exterior colour. There’s a big two-spoke steering wheel, a row of toggle switches and a 10.25-inch touchscreen, plus a large digital driver’s display (also 10.25 inches).

Note: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will form part of an over-the-air update in summer 2023.

A special mention for the voice command system, which works surprisingly well. Simply say “Hello Ora” and you’re away. It recognises your voice too and it’s very good at opening and closing windows!

ORA Funky Cat

The Funky Cat is spacious too, with enough room for adults to sit behind adults, though the boot is a modest 228 litres (rising to 858 litres with the rear seats flipped down).

The heated and electrically adjustable leatherette seats are comfortable and even feature cool cross stitching usually found on luxury cars (check out the door cards too).

When it’s time to set off, simply select D via a centrally located rotating knob, release the parking brake and you’re away. Accompanied by a distant whine, the Funky Cat is as swift as you’d expect for a relatively lightweight EV.

ORA Funky Cat

Smooth, comfortable, fun, and easy to drive with light steering, visibility is good, while cabin refinement is admirable.

There’s also some decent performance (it’s not hard to spin the front wheels if you floor it, especially in the wet) and you can choose from various drive modes.

Stick to Eco for town driving, Normal on more open roads and Sport for occasional bursts of range-sapping run.

ORA Funky Cat

You can also select single-pedal drive mode, which almost eradicates the need for brakes – simply lift off and it slows down fast. Or you can choose between three levels of regen via the touchscreen.

However, despite its looks, the Funky Cat is no match for the MINI Electric in the handling department. Push it to the limit in faster corners and it becomes unsettled, but for everyday driving it’s a joy.

So, as long as you don’t go expecting hot hatch driving dynamics, the Funky Cat won’t disappoint, while a real-world range of 150 miles is way above the smaller MINI’s 100 miles.

ORA Funky Cat

Standard kit on the Funky Cat Launch Edition includes LED headlights, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera system, a rear traffic cross alert and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

In fact, it’s so safe that Euro NCAP awarded it a maximum five stars in crash testing.

ORA Funky Cat

No car is perfect, and the Funky Cat is no exception., because it’s not without its irritations.

For instance, the indicators are tricky to cancel. They require an incredibly light touch and it’s all too easy to activate the opposite signal.

We’re sure it won’t be such an issue after a few weeks of ownership, but it’s not ideal initially.

ORA Funky Cat

The various bongs and safety warnings are slightly overbearing too, while the infotainment screen looks cool, but could be much bolder with a larger typeface.

Overall, the Funky Cat is an impressive debut model for GWM in the UK, and if it can keep its pricing competitive, it could be the cat’s whiskers.

Verdict: The all-new ORA Funky Cat is a welcome addition to the EV scene. Not only does it stand out from the crowd, but it also offers practicality, fun driving, good build quality, a useful battery range and a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

GMM ORA UK

ORA Funky Cat

School runs are smiles cheaper for EV drivers

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Citroen e-C4 - school run

Families owning electric vehicles can complete up to two full weeks of school runs on a single charge, according to new research by Citroen UK.

Ahead of schools returning in September, 2,000 parents were surveyed and the average school run is 10.4 miles (5.2 miles each way).

With a WLTP-certified range of 219 miles, parents driving a Citroen e-C4 EV can complete up to 20 school runs on a single charge, saving more than £26 in the process.

When charged overnight using a 7.4kW home wallbox on an EV electricity tariff, a single charge for e-C4 Electric can cost as little as £3.75, while on a standard tariff the same charge will cost £14.

Using a comparable petrol-powered C4 would cost £30.12 to cover the same distance, meaning that parents could save up to £26.37 every two weeks.

The research also found that parents drive their children to school on average 3.5 times per week, with public transport, lifts from other parents, walking and cycling making up the rest of the trips.

Although the average school run was found to be a 10.4-mile round trip, 7% of the respondents reported having to cover more than 30 miles during the school run.

No vehicle idling sign

Citroen also asked whether vehicle emissions outside schools were a concern for parents. Unsurprisingly, 19% of parents said they were strongly concerned and 41% were somewhat concerned.

Previous research carried out in London found children are exposed to five times more air pollution on the school run than when they are in school.

“Doing the school run in an electric car not only reduces local air pollution but also helps families save on day-to-day running costs,” said Eurig Druce, Citroen UK’s Managing Director.

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Best beaches for electric car drivers

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Citroen e-C4

England’s Top 10 beaches for drivers to visit in an EV this summer have been revealed in a new study by Citroën UK.

Roker and Seaburn Beaches on the North East coast are the most EV-friendly location for drivers looking for a seaside getaway.

To rank the top 10 beaches in England for electric vehicle drivers, Citroën compared how close the highest-rated beaches on TripAdvisor were to the 10 most populated cities in the country, with the requirement that they can be reached using the 219-mile all-electric range of the Citroën ë-C4.

Additional points were awarded according to the number of public charging points within a two-mile area for each beach.

Citroen e-C4

First place Roker and Seaburn beaches, in Tyne and Wear, can be reached from eight major cities using the 219-mile range of Citroën ë-C4, including Birmingham and Liverpool, while the local area contains 13 public electric vehicle chargers with speeds of up to 50kW.

For EV drivers based in London, second place Brighton beach is a short 53-mile drive away and offers more than 120 public chargers within a two-mile radius, including 20 fast chargers (7-22kW) and four rapid chargers (25kW and higher).

Third place Bournemouth Beach can be reached from six major cities and features the highest number of rapid chargers (five). With 100kW rapid charging capability, a 0-80% charge for Citroën ë-C4 can take as little as 30 minutes, while for those enjoying a whole day at the seaside, a full charge can be completed in 7.5 hours from a 7kW fast charger.

Thanks to lower running costs, Citroën UK claims ë-C4 EV drivers can enjoy an affordable seaside retreat, with the 400-mile round trip from Birmingham to Roker and Seaburn Beaches costing less than £30.

England’s Top 10 beaches for EV drivers

Ranking Cities accessible to beach within  ë-C4’s 219-mile range Total number of public chargers within 2 miles Number of fast chargers (7-22kW) within 2 miles Number of rapid chargers (25kW ) within 2 miles
Roker and Seaburn Beaches, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear 1st 8 13 10 3
Brighton Beach, East Sussex 2nd 5 123 20 4
Bournemouth Beach, Dorset 3rd 6 11 4 5
Hunmanby Gap, North Yorkshire 4th 8 1 1 0
Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall 5th 1 6 5 1
Whitby Beach, Yorkshire Joint 6th 8 0 0 0
Weymouth Beach, Dorset Joint 6th 6 3 2 1
Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset Joint 8th 6 0 0 0
Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall Joint 8th 1 3 3 0
Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe, Devon 10th 3 0 0 0

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Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

What are your key considerations when choosing a new car – practicality, running costs, connectivity or safety?

The reality is that looks tend to trump all of the above, which is why kerb appeal is so crucial.

Now, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’d argue that the all-new Mokka is the coolest looking Vauxhall ever.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Putting aside the argument that Vauxhall’s DNA isn’t what is, because it’s now owned by the giant Stellantis group which was formed from the merger of France’s Groupe PSA (Peugeot, Citroen) and FCA (Fiat, Jeep etc), the Mokka urban crossover is a stand-out vehicle.

Battling it out against the likes of the big-selling Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, the good news for the Mokka is that it has an ace up its sleeve – it’s available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, plus a 100% electric variant.

Our focus is on the latter – the Vauxhall Mokka-e – which is competitively priced from £30,540 (after the £2,500 PiCG, or plug-in car grant) and boasts a decent 201-mile electric range.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Sharing the same underpinnings as the Citroen e-C4, Peugeot e-2008 and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense (which is no bad thing), it looks like no other car on the road.

In a nutshell, the second-generation Mokka is radical compared to its dumpy predecessor. Slightly shorter, it has smaller front and rear overhangs and a more athletic stance.

It also features the bold new brand ‘face’ of Vauxhall (known as Vizor) which “organically integrates the grille, headlights and badge into one dramatic sweeping module”.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Call me old fashioned, but being able to view that long, horizontal bonnet with the strong centre crease as you drive along is such a unique pleasure these days.

Inside, the cockpit is futuristic and minimalist. Dominated by a large central infotainment screen (7″ or 10″) and digital driver’s display (10″ or 12″), there’s a real step-up in build quality throughout the cabin.

The pure electric Mokka-e has a 50kWh battery and a 134bhp electric motor that powers the front wheels and delivers 260Nm of instant torque.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

It can be charged overnight if you have a home wallbox, while 80% of charge can be reached in as little as 30 minutes using a rapid 100kW public chargepoint. A more common 50kW fast charger will deliver around 100 miles in less than half an hour.

In real-world terms, we reckon the battery range is closer to 175 miles in everyday driving, while Vauxhall calculates the Mokka-e’s running costs are from 3p a mile.

The cabin is comfortable with plenty of space up front, even offering a lower, sporty driving position if you prefer. It’s a little tighter in the back for adults, while the boot has a useful 310-litre luggage capacity, expanding to 1,060 litres with the rear seats folded.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review
Vauxhall Mokka-e review

The Mokka-e is simple to drive and silent (none of the faint whine or audio enhancement you get with many EVs), and while it’s swift, it’s not stupidly fast. For the record, it can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.5 seconds.

If you want a bit of fun, then switch the drive mode from Normal or Eco to Sport, but apart from the odd blast, you’re more likely to want to squeeze out as many miles as possible.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

The benefit of a smaller battery pack is that it’s easier to see instant results from regenerative braking (which returns most of the energy from braking and coasting back into the battery while you’re driving) and the Mokka-e’s system is particularly satisfying.

With light steering and good visibility, it’s a doddle to drive and surprisingly nimble. However, because it’s more comfort than performance focused, it loses its composure when pushed on more challenging roads.

Vauxhall Mokka-e review

Broadly speaking, electric vehicles’ brakes tend to be disappointing and the Mokka-e is par for the course. Our test car’s system didn’t seem to be terribly progressive, but did the job.

Ultimately, even if the Mokka-e looks sportier than it actually is, it’s still a refreshing sight on our roads – especially in Mamba Green. Rivals include the MINI Electric, Honda e, Fiat 500 and Mazda MX-30.

Verdict: The Vauxhall Mokka-e is a funky, all-electric urban crossover that dares to be different. Affordable, well-equipped, safe and fun to drive, it has a unique charm.

Vauxhall