GWM Ora Funky Cat First Edition
Ora’s controversial design philosophy: brilliant or bonkers?
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Ora Funky Cat is an interesting looking thing. But having lived with the car for four months now, we’re really coming around to the way it looks. Okay so the rear end is a little bloated and the little bits of textured plastic on the cheeks of the front bumper make it look like a teenager with acne, but at least it has some character.
That’s important for a new brand that’s trying to make an impact in a tough-to-break market, and Ora is fully aware that the jazzy looks won’t be for everyone.
“It's so much easier to launch a brand where the cars are distinctive,” Ora’s UK boss Toby Marshall tells TG. “And I know that means it’s not for everybody, but I’d much rather have that than a vanilla SUV. I drive all sorts of cars, but you get recognised in the Funky Cat like you’re in a fancy sports car.”
He’s not wrong. And our recent change of heart has been helped by the unveiling of the Lightning Cat – the next model that Ora will bring to Europe as it plans to release at least one new car onto our continent each year for the foreseeable future.
Now, it may not actually be called the Lightning Cat when it goes on sale over here – Ora is still working that one out – but we do know that it looks dramatic. Like with the Funky Cat there are clear design influences (shout out to the original Porsche Panamera and even the Bugatti Galibier), but again it’s an interesting and eye-catching style that should be polarising enough to get Ora noticed.
“It has the same DNA as the Funky Cat,” says Marshall. “Just by looking you know it’s the same make, which makes our life easier trying to build the brand. It looks different to anything else too, so you know it’ll get attention.
“And again, it’s not an SUV. Although we will get one eventually.”
The as-yet-unnamed saloon should also be slightly better equipped for long-distance travel than the Funky Cat too. Ora reckons on a range of over 300 miles, and recent motorway trips in our car (including one to meet its soon-to-be-sibling) have proved that it’s not really at home outside of the city limits. The road and wind noise at motorway speeds require a rather drastic increase in the volume of your chosen podcast, and we’re struggling with the range indicator which only shows a mileage readout rather than a percentage.
And yet when you make changes to your drive mode, speed or air conditioning, the readout won’t offer you an amended projection. Instead, your total range figure will simply drop faster than before if you decide you need a bit of heating or want to try out Sport mode for the full 169bhp experience. Phwoar. We tried that briefly once, then went straight back to Eco mode for maximum efficiency.