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

Cupra Born review

CUPRA Born

We drive the Volkswagen ID.3’s stylish Spanish cousin, named after the cool El Born district of Barcelona…

I have to be honest, this is a painful article for me to write because I really like the Cupra Born – I just don’t think I could live with it.

Let’s start with the positives. It’s an electric hatchback. SUVs are all very well, but they are two a penny and not everyone wants to sit high up, largely disengaged from the road.

It shares a platform with the acclaimed VW ID.3, which is no bad thing. In fact, Cupra’s done a great job giving the sporty-looking Born a character all of its own with some eye-catching design features. It’s also practical with plenty of space for the family and has a decent 385-litre boot.

CUPRA Born

And as I’ll explain, even though it would be wrong to call it a hot hatch, there is still fun to be had, while its official range is between 260-340 miles, depending on the size of battery chosen.

However, like most new Cupra and (sister brand) Seat cars, along with many of the other Volkswagen Group models (eg the latest Golf), the Born has an infuriating infotainment system.

And I’m sorry, but for me it’s a deal breaker. Cockpit minimalism is all very well, but channelling so much functionality through a centre touchscreen is a step too far for me. Add touch-sensitive sliders (on the steering wheel) too, and it’s seriously frustrating.

CUPRA Born

In other words, pretty much everything from the heating to the navigation and radio are accessed via the 12.0-inch touchscreen and there are no physical short-cut buttons.

On a cold day you have to wait for the infotainment system to fire up, then fiddle around with sliders and menus. If you want to adjust the radio volume urgently, you have to mess about with the unresponsive touch-sensitive slider on the steering wheel. The same slider that you can sometimes accidentally touch with your hand when you’re turning the wheel.

If you can live with the above, then stick with this, because the Cupra Born has a lot going for it.

CUPRA Born

About the same size as a VW Golf, the Born has the edge on the ID.3 in the looks department. It has a lower, more athletic stance, with an aggressive front end featuring an inwardly sloping bonnet and large honeycomb vent below.

The rear gets a meaty diffuser, spoiler and distinctive taillight design, while Cupra’s trademark copper-coloured design flourishes adorn the car throughout.

Inside, the Born gets a digital driver’s cluster with side-mounted drive-mode selector, just like the ID.3. However, the cabin overall gets a darker look with a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel.

CUPRA Born

There are more copper accents and stitching throughout the interior, such as the air vents, door handles, centre console and sports seats. Oh, and the driving position is excellent, especially if you prefer to sit lower in the cabin (a rarity in an EV).

The Cupra Born range starts at £34,715 and at launch there was a choice of three batteries (45kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh) which power a single electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

That said, only the two more powerful versions are currently marketed. The 58kWh is available with either 201bhp or 228bhp (there’s also a 228bhp with e-Boost), while the 77kWh only comes with e-Boost.

CUPRA Born

The Born can be charged overnight by a home wallbox, but if you can hook it up to a 120kW rapid connection, 5-80% will take just 35 minutes.

There are three levels of trim (V1, V2 and V3) and we tested the 58kWh Cupra Born V2 with e-Boost, which temporarily increases power to 228bhp.

On paper, my test car had a range of up to 260 miles (closer to 220 miles in real world driving) with 0-62mph acceleration of 6.6 seconds (compared to the regular version’s 7.3 seconds).

CUPRA Born

The Born may have the looks of an EV hot hatch, but the reality is that it’s a little sharper than the sensible ID.3, but there’s no hiding its 1.8-tonne weight.

Yes, it’s fast off the line and fun to drive, but it can become unsettled if you hustle it in more challenging corners. What’s more, the suspension set-up is on the stiff side, so it’s worth test driving the Born on rougher roads too.

That said, the steering is quick and responsive, there’s plenty of traction when launching, grip in corners is good, and the sports seats are suitably supportive.

CUPRA Born

You can switch between various drive modes (Range, Comfort, Individual and Cupra) which change the response of the accelerator pedal and you can alter the amount of regenerative braking.

Oh, and the e-Boost button is fun, delivering instant performance at the push of a button on the steering wheel.

Ultimately, for me, the Cupra Born is no hot hatch in the traditional internal combustion engine sense and there’s still space in the market for an electric hatchback with the dynamism of a well sorted Golf R, Focus ST or Civic Type R.

CUPRA Born

So, there you have it – and I haven’t even mentioned the generous rear passenger space and the 1,267 litres of load space if  you flip the back seats, or the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, or the generous equipment levels.

Verdict: More sporty family hatchback than hot hatch, the Cupra Born is a welcome addition to an EV sector dominated by SUVs. Fun to drive, practical and with a decent range, it’s an excellent choice (if you can live with the irritating infotainment tech).

Cupra UK

CUPRA Born

Electric hearse available for eco-friendly funerals

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Co-op Funeralcare launches Nissan Athena Electric hearse

The respectful silence of a funeral cortege is set to get even quieter in Scotland as the UK’s largest funeral provider, Co-op Funeralcare, launches a Nissan Athena Electric.

Featuring the chassis of a Nissan Leaf EV, an exterior structure made from recycled composite materials further enhances its sustainability credentials.

Co-op Funeralcare is also introducing a private ambulance based on a Maxus van – it’s 100% electric too for an even more discreet service.

The all-electric funeral fleet will serve communities right across the Edinburgh region, including Dalkeith, Galashiels, Leith, Piershill, Musselburgh, Niddrie, North Berwick, Tranent and Sighthill.

“We are excited to be bringing our fully electric Nissan hearse and private ambulance to Scotland to offer dignified, elegant and environmentally friendly services for families and communities in the area.

“The way people choose to say goodbye is changing and those who have worked hard to reduce their carbon footprint in life, are also passionate about reducing their impact on the planet when they pass away.”

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Less than one in 10 UK motorists know the difference between standard tyres and EV tyres – and the money-saving benefits they offer.

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Of 2,000 motorists questioned,, 47% said they will be switching to an EV to save on high fuel costs, with 56% sold by the environmental benefits of driving an electric car.

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EVs are much heavier than conventional cars and the added weight is ultimately carried by the tyres. Without adaptation to compensate, non-EV tyres are much more likely to wear quicker and won’t last as long.

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