Cupra Born hatchback review
"The Cupra Born is effectively a sportier, more distinctive version of the Volkswagen ID.3"
- Good to drive
- Stylish design
- Respectable range
- No frunk
- Some cheap trim
- Frustrating controls
The Cupra Born is the first all-electric model from the sporty offshoot of SEAT. Sharing its platform with the Volkswagen ID.3, it's intended as an electric car ‘with attitude’ that aims to take on everything from the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 to the BMW i3. It's slightly lower, longer and more aggressively styled than the VW on which it's based.
It has more flair and feels less clinical than the ID.3 by comparison but you pay a small premium for this. Features like copper accents, dramatic LED lighting and 20-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels add some cool to the eco-credentials of electric motoring. Inside, a central display and digital instruments are just as crisp, and the software is marginally better to use than the VW's, even if frustrating touch-sensitive temperature and volume sliders are shared between the two cars.
It feels a bit more special inside thanks to some nicer materials and racy sports front seats. These are trimmed in a choice of materials containing recycled substances. A decent 385-litre boot should be just big enough for most owners but there's no 'frunk' under the bonnet. Rear passenger space is also a bit tighter than in the ID.3 because of the lower roofline.
Three versions of the Born are offered. Most buyers are likely to choose the 58kWh battery, which is offered with or without an ‘e-Boost’ function. The e-Boost models boast an extra 30bhp and a 0-62mph time of 6.6 seconds, compared to 7.3 seconds for standard versions. That power boost should make the Born feel like the electric hot hatch it’s marketed as. Both the 58kWh versions can manage up to 260 miles on a charge, while there’s also a 77kWh e-Boost model that promises up to 340 miles between top-ups.
Charging speeds of up to 120kW and 135kW for the 58kWh and 77kWh batteries respectively mean a public charge from 5-80% can be achieved in as little as half an hour or so.
We’ve now driven the cheapest model in the UK. Like the mechanically similar Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance, it’s quick off the line, initially feeling faster than its 0-62mph time suggests. But it didn’t feel that different to the Volkswagen, and acceleration tails off noticeably as you get up to speed. It could be more engaging to drive too; Cupra managed to make its version of the Leon better to drive than the standard SEAT model, for example. We hope the e-Boost versions will feel like the electric hot hatchback the car is intended to be.