2023 Cupra Born V3 58kWh
While most new marques take a while to establish themselves, Spanish brand Cupra has hit the ground running. It helps that the name isn’t completely unknown, as it’s been attached to the sportiest SEATs for years. During 2021, Cupra shifted 7,584 cars, the majority being the Formentor SUV, that is unique to the sporty arm, and not having a SEAT badged sister car.
FIRST UK TEST
With such a cracking start, Cupra salespeople must be foaming at the mouth to get hold of the second unique car, the Born hatchback. Sharing its underpinnings with the Volkswagen ID.3 and a significant number of parts, it’s all wrapped up in a hotter, prettier, more compelling package. Whereas the ID.3 could be described as blobby, the Cupra looks sensational. Sister brand SEAT has always attracted a younger audience than other brands in the Volkswagen portfolio, and this new Cupra is set to make electric cars sexy for the young (and young at heart).
With 201bhp on tap and 229lb ft of torque, there’s a lot of zip on offer when you squeeze the throttle. And thanks to its rear-wheel drive set up, the handling feels that little bit more dynamic. Select ‘B’ for maximum brake regeneration and you can mostly drive using one pedal, as well as harnessing every bit of energy that is traditionally lost when slowing down. Other driving modes include Range, Comfort, Performance and Individual, with each designed to give subtle differences to the way the Born feels. The steering is light and agile, with good responsiveness, particularly around town when you need to manoeuvre in and out of tight spaces. Choose to take the back road and you’ll be rewarded with a chassis that is well sorted, feels planted and yet has the power to entertain. Grip is good, and there’s very little in the way of body lean when cornering. Refinement is excellent with tyre, road and wind noise neatly contained. Ride comfort is better at higher speeds, as around town there’s a sportier ambience that introduced a jiggly side to the suspension.
Anyone that has spent time in Volkswagen’s new breed of ID electric cars will already be at home with the cabin of the Born, as it follows a familiar path. Large central touchscreen, a gear selector that sprouts off of the instrument binnacle and acres of space is the order of the day, with the Cupra spruced up with copper detailing that looks modern and youthful. Nice tactile materials are used throughout, and while some may feel a little plasticky, there’s quality touches, too, like the padded dashboard top and the lovely one-piece huggy seats. Lots of storage areas are dotted around the cabin and hidden underneath a roller blind is a rather handy centre cubby, with a pair of cupholders as well as space for other detritus. There’s also a height adjustable armrest, large door pockets and a compact glovebox.
The majority of the controls are located within the central touchscreen, including the ventilation system, and this all takes some time to get used to. It isn’t a car that you can just jump in and go, there’s some familiarisation to go through. And then there’s some of the buttons which are overcomplicated, like the electric window switches – it would be simpler to have the usual two banks of controls, rather than fiddly buttons to switch from front to rear. At first acquaintance, the gear selector being mounted next to the instrument cluster is strange, but quickly becomes second nature. It certainly frees up space on the centre console which we’re all for. Space inside is decent, with generous leg and knee room, both front and back. Head space at the front is good, with only the tallest of occupants finding that their hair brushes the headlining in the back. If the front seats are in their lowest position, there isn’t much in the way of foot room in the back, though. Access to the rear requires you to bow your head, but thanks to wide opening doors, that isn’t a problem. USB-C sockets in the back help to keep children whinge free as they can charge up their consoles and tablets. And as everyone knows, happy kids equals happy parents.
“…THERE’S A LOT OF ZIP ON OFFER WHEN YOU SQUEEZE THE THROTTLE.”
FACTS & FIGURES
- In showrooms Now
- Prices £34,715 to £41,975
- Bodystyles 5-door hatchback
- Engines Electric automatic (201 and 228bhp)
- Trim levels V1, V2, V3
- Also consider Renault Megane, Volkswagen ID.3
- Model tested 2023 Cupra Born V3 58kWh
- Price £38,390
- Built in Zwickau, Germany
- Codename Unknown
- Generation 1
- Platform MEB
- Bodystyle 5-door hatchback, 5-seats
- Layout Rear-wheel-drive
- Powerplant Electric motor and 58kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Gearbox 1-speed automatic
- Max power 201bhp @ 4,900-8,000rpm
- Max torque 229lb ft @ 0-4,200rpm
- Top speed 99mph
- 0-62mph 7.3secs
- CO2 emissions 0g/km
- Range 222-259 miles
- Recharge time (Domestic socket/11kW/50kW/100kW) 29 hours/6 hours 15 minutes/53 to 55 minutes/35 minutes
- Insurance 25
- BIK rate (2021/2022 tax year) 2%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,322/2,070mm
- Boot space (min/max) 385/1,267 litres
- Kerb/max towing weight 1,811/0kg
- Euro NCAP rating
- Spare wheel (Full-size/spacesaver/run-flat/selfseal/repair kit) No/no/no/no/yes
- Warranty – car 3 years/60,000 miles
- Warranty – battery 8 years/100,000 miles
- Verdict It’s the sportiest electric hot hatch so far, with eye catching looks and a roomy cabin. It’s awinner, we adore the Born.
- Rating ■■■■■■■■■■9/10