Cupra Born 2022 review: the new Spanish automotive brand ready to make its mark

One of Europe’s most exciting new car brands is gearing up for its Australian assault, and we’re trying out one of its best models.

There aren’t many electric vehicles like the Cupra Born. This fast and sporty battery five-seater hatch also happens to be relatively affordable.

In Europe, the Born costs less than electric vehicles of similar size like the Nissan Leaf e + and Hyundai Ioniq Electric, cars sold in Australia for between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000. Neither can compete with the Born for fun factor or the practice.

The Spanish brand Cupra, a sporty derivative of the VW group’s Seat brand, will arrive in Australia in mid-2022.

The Born is the first full-time electric vehicle to wear the company’s copper-colored badge.

It is expected to arrive at the end of next year or early 2023.

Like the other Cupra models, the Born is built on the foundations of the VW Group – it’s basically a VW ID.3 with a bit of Spanish spice. Although the ID.3 is not sold in Australia, it is a huge success in Europe, where it struggles with the Tesla Model 3 at the top of the electric vehicle sales charts.

The ID.3 was designed from the start only for battery power. Cupra uses the same body structure, chassis, batteries and electric motors as the VW. But the newborn is not a clone.

With a different nose, tail, and interior, the Born has sportier visuals inside and out. It’s also a sportier ride. The Cupra drives lower, its suspension and steering are readjusted, and the software for its multimode chassis dynamic control system is revised.

And there is more to come. Next year, the Cupra will offer more power than the VW. The optional e-Boost package briefly increases the power of the single motor mounted on the rear of the Born to 170 kW, which is 20 kW more than the ID.3. The option also includes larger front brakes and 19-inch wheels and tires.

The e-Boost option will only be offered with 58kWh or 77kWh battery packs. Unlike elsewhere in the world, Cupra aims to position itself in Australia solely as a performance brand. This means that the most basic Born, with a 110 kW motor and a 45 kWh battery, is not likely to follow us. It’s just not fast enough.

But the fastest born of all is sure to come. Optionally with e-Boost, this is the version with the lighter 58 kWh battery. According to Cupra, it can go from standstill to 100 km / h in 6.6 seconds. It’s close to quick hot-hatch; the VW Golf GTI, for example, does 0-100 km / h in 6.3 seconds.

Compared to an ID.3 with an identical battery, the e-Boosted Born is much more lively. It also handles curves better than the VW and, despite its lowered suspension, drives smoother. On the narrow, winding roads near Barcelona, ​​the Born’s added agility and energy was evident. It would have been even better with more grippy tires. Our test car didn’t have the optional wide rubber package planned for next year, long before Born’s launch in Australia.

The look of the Cupra is also attractive. Its redesigned nose, along with its lower stance, adds aggression and attitude. Inside, changes include sportier front seats and a new steering wheel design. The standard seat upholstery material is Seaqual, made in Spain from plastic recovered from the sea and recycled.

There is a practical side to going with eco-credibility. Born’s back seat is spacious and has a fairly large luggage compartment. The Cupra’s center display, which houses an easy-to-navigate but up-to-date infotainment system, is large and bright.

The range is better than the average for small electric vehicles. With the 58 kWh battery, the Born is good for just over 400 km between charges according to the WLTP test standard. The 77 kWh battery brings that to over 500 km.

The Born’s on-board AC charger can handle 11kW, so night charging from a home wall box is fast. For long trips, the 58kWh battery can take up to 120kW from a fast DC charger, while the 77kWh battery can take 170kW. What these numbers mean is that just over 30 minutes is enough to boost the Born’s battery from 10% to 80%.

Cupra’s first electric vehicle is a surprisingly efficient blend of German technology and Spanish spirit that should appeal to performance-loving Australians curious about electric vehicles.

CUPRA BORN VITALS

Price: $ 55,000 (estimated)

Motor: Single synchronous permanent magnet; 170kW / 310Nm

Security: Automatic emergency braking, predictive adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot warning, vehicle exit alert

Transmission: Single speed; RWD

Efficiency: 15.5 to 16.7 kWh / 100 km (WLTP Europe)

0-100km / h: 6.6 seconds


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Freeda S. Scott

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