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Car Review

Cupra Born review

£36,420 - £43,680
710
Published: 04 Jul 2022
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

First impressions are good. The Born seems to have got the choice bits of the ID.3 (such as the rotary gear twister on the dash) that have so far been denied to Audi and Skoda. The plan seems to be to offer it with the more dynamic options such as DCC adaptive chassis control, suede-like Dinamica bucket seats and big 20-inch alloys in a bid to reflect its sportier character. That at least has been successful.

But is it not that sporty?

The mid-spec car with 201bhp and the 58kWh battery certainly isn’t. There’s no drama to the power delivery and no playfulness in twisty stuff. It’s certainly not sluggish – 0-62mph only takes 7.3 seconds with this setup and all versions get the same 229lb ft of torque, but the brake pedal is spongy (the cars with e-Boost get bigger brakes) and it’s so quiet and composed that it doesn’t quite meet Cupra’s claims of “electrifying performance” or an “emotional driving experience”.

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How is it with the 228bhp e-boost?

Marginally faster. But otherwise largely the same. DCC (as in the Mk8 Golf, the £750 system offers 15 different levels of suspension firmness. Crikey) does make a big difference, allowing you to vary the suspension stiffness over a wide range, but we found ourselves erring more towards the comfort settings than the sport, as that seemed to suit the car better. Ramp it up and it goes around corners flat and level, but there’s no more engagement than that, so you get to the end of a good road and just, kind of… shrug.

But as an everyday hatch?

The Born is right up there. The rear-wheel drive layout and low-mounted battery pack means it turns in sharply, gets a neat little turning circle and limits bodyroll well. Rather frustrating that you don’t get a full ‘one-pedal’ driving mode, though – even in Brake mode there could be more immediate regen. But visibility is decent, and the throttle is precise, so it’s an easy, light car to guide around town (although a little hard to judge where the extremities are).

Talk to me about refinement…

Like the ID.3, the Born repels road noise well. Even at motorway speeds you’ll only really notice a touch of wind noise.

Is it efficient?

Very good question. With a drag coefficient of 0.27 the Born is fairly slippery despite its height, and in a 58kWh, 201bhp car we managed over 3.0 miles per kWh with a mix of town and country driving in warm weather. In the faster version with the bigger battery that fell to about 2.7, but stay slow and local and over 4.0 miles per kWh is achievable. Home charging is possible at up to 11kW, fast DC charging can be done at up to 135kW – meaning a 30 minute stop would be enough to lob in over 150 miles.

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

Cupra Born 169kW e-Boost V2 58kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-626.6s
  • CO2
  • BHP230
  • MPG
  • Price£39,150

the cheapest

Cupra Born 150kW V1 58kWh 5dr Auto
  • 0-627.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP204
  • MPG
  • Price£36,420

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