What is it?
Well, it might once have been called a SEAT although the Volkswagen Group has decided to rebrand its Spanish unit to become more sporty and electrified – and the The Cupra Born lives up to its billing as an electric hot hatch.
The Born is the Cupra brand’s first electric car and is based on the Volkswagen Group MEB platform so it is closely related to the VW-badged ID.3 and although they share many mechanical and electrical components the Cupra Born has very much its own, ahem, identity.
There are three trim levels – V1, V2 and V3 and two battery versions: a 58kWh and the larger 77kWh. According to official figures, the 58kWh has a range of 263 miles, while the 77kWh battery claims 340 miles of range from a single charge.
For those regularly travelling longer distances, the 77kWh battery makes most sense and the price difference between the two is not huge. For most, the range from the 58kWh car is probably enough. The 77kWh battery 135kW rapid DC charging, adding 60-odd miles1s of range in seven minutes. A charge from 0-80% takes around 35 minutes.The 58kWh supports 120kW charging but charging times are similar thanks to its smaller capacity.
A full charge from an 11kW wallbox takes just over six hours for the smaller battery and seven-and-a-half hours for the larger one; expect charging to take longer if you only have a 7kW wallbox at home.
Curpra Born V1 trim comes with a generous level of specification as standard, including rain sensing wipers, electrically adjustable, folding and heated door mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels LED lighting back and front, adaptive cruise control, rear view camera plus lane assist. There’s also a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav and a 5.3-inch digital cockpit display.
V2 and V3 add an augmented reality head-up display which projects driving information on to the windscreen as well as some sat nav info. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while a standard three-year ‘Remote Access’ subscription which allows you to control certain functions, such as pre-warming the cabin, remotely locking/unlocking the car and scheduling a service, using the Seat Connect app.
There’s loads of safety tech including a front assist system with emergency braking capable of detecting both pedestrians and cyclists, as well as other vehicles. It provides visual and audible warnings and, if the driver still fails hit the brakes in time or with insufficient effort, maximum braking is automatically applied.
The Cupra also has also an acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) to make vulnerable road users aware of its presence.
So what about costs? P11D price of the 58kWh is £40,095 – with e-Boost it’s £40,900, while the 77kWh e-Boost version has a P11D figure of £43,680.
What do we think?
The Born certainly has the looks and the performance of a sporty car and, of course, it does this while hardly making a sound. That’s something the car enthusiast will increasingly have to come to terms with.
There’s plenty of traction to give you a decent launch from the traffic lights and it also provides good grip round the bends and while the suspension sits the car down fairly low it’s not at the expense of comfort.
In terms of range, we could get close to the 263 miles claimed for the 58kW version we tried. Just over 220 was about it although that said, the car did have to deal with some pretty appalling weather as well as plenty of steep Dorset hills.
Cupra does offer a heat pump as an optional extra costing £925 to mitigate the loss of range when using the heater etc during the winter months.
So far so good, while its comfy enough for four passengers – it’s deceptively roomy inside – rear seats in the smaller battery version can accommodate three passengers at a squeeze, although the centre seat makes way to accommodate the larger battery of the 77kW version.
However, the controls take some working out. The touch sensitives buttons on the steering wheel appear to be a little too sensitive. I kept inadvertently increasing or decreasing the sound volume. Rather than knobs and buttons, many controls are found on the touch screen which often didn’t like my touch and so became a distraction rather than a help.
I don’t think I am the first to experience the occasional glitch with the infotainment system which required reboot. While on the subject of boots, the Born’s cargo area is a pretty good 385 litres, it’s deep as well making the space very usable.