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First report: Cupra Born long-term test

Date: 28 July 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

The Born is Cupra's first EV - but how will we get on living with one for six months?
Cupra Born V3 58kWh
P11D price: £39,140
As tested: £39,230
Official range: 260 miles
Our average consumption: 3.3 miles/kWh
Mileage: 1,520

One car that really stood out among those I drove last year was the Cupra Formentor. On top of its unusual crossover styling, the interior quality felt more Audi than Seat and the sense of style really appealed. So, when Cupra asked if we'd like to run their first EV on our long-term fleet, we quickly accepted and luckily, having to return the iX3 to BMW, it would be me running it.

One month in and almost 1,000 miles under the wheels of our Born and it's time to tell you my likes and dislikes of the new Cupra. 

Firstly, there's the Born's exterior styling. Yes, the links with Volkswagen's ID.3 are obvious, but the Cupra certainly has its own attractive and sporty sense of style, with the more aggressive shark-like nose, LED lights and the copper-tipped front airdam. At the side, I like the turbine-look of the standard 20in 'Hurricane' alloys and the unusual aerodynamic fin to the rear of the side skirt. At the back, the concave styling really appeals, together with the large rear roof spoiler and chunky diffuser. 

Then there is our choice of colour and what a colour it is. Called Aurora Blue, our Born is finished in the same colour as in all the adverts and promotional material. It is also the only option on this car, and at £840 it might not be as popular as the white and other metallic red, grey and silver options offered. This is a shame as I think it looks stunning and works well with the copper and grey body highlights. 

Inside, like the outside, the Born is based again on the ID.3. However, like my Formentor observation about its interior, with its Cupra interior's liberal use of man-made suede trim and copper highlights, the Born feels much more special and sportier inside than the Volkswagen. 

Another of the Born's sporty features, which I particularly like, are the one-piece sports seats, which on top of being super supportive and heated, have a massaging feature. At the moment, I haven't quite worked out if this is a benefit, or if it's a bit of a gimmick - hopefully a few more long drives should answer that. My wife and children certainly seem to appreciate the back massage the passenger seat gives. 

So far, I haven't managed to match the claimed 260 miles WLTP range; instead 235 seems more the norm. We hope this will improve over the course of the loan, as this is considerably down over the  outgoing BMW. On the road, the Born's more direct steering and lowered suspension help it feel more engaging and fun than the Volkswagen, yet the ride still remains impressively comfortable and composed. Think more sophisticated than sporty. 

However, it is not all good news with the Born. My biggest issue with this car is the infotainment - perhaps I've been spoilt with the BMW? However, I can't help feeling that although it's better than I remember in the original ID.3 I drove coming up to two-years ago, it should be better in a car which is now costing nearly £40,000. My biggest problem with the 12in touchscreen is how slow it is to operate any of the functions - particularly first thing in the morning. 

The graphics and maps are not as easy to read either and then there's ventilation controls. These are also held in the screen and are not, in my opinion, particularly intuitive to operate. 

Having a conventional gear stick for gear selection has been a pleasure over the past five-months, so selecting gears by twisting the side of the small instrument panel is feeling quite alien now, but I am sure it's something I will get used during the time I have this car. 

When on the move, I sometimes find the brakes hard to modulate, plus I wish the 'B' drive mode gave more regen - allowing one pedal driving.

Our V3 is the top-of-the-range, but keyless unlocking and locking and a power-operated boot for convenience would be really appreciated on the equipment list. 

Overall, I'm already enjoying my time with the Born and am looking forward to unearthing more of its talents over the coming months.