GWM Ora Funky Cat First Edition
What's an Ora Funky Cat like to live with?
It’s back! After leaving us four months ago, the Funky Cat has finally returned from its trip to the vets. It’s undergone some cosmetic surgery in that time after it was cruelly kicked while street parked in London. Not by a West Ham United footballer, we must add for legal reasons.
That was a whole four months ago though, and Ora has been curiously quiet about ‘our’ car’s whereabouts during its time away. We’d begun to think it had gone off to live on a farm in the countryside…
Anyway, it has now returned looking as fresh as the day it rolled off the production line, but sadly this reunion will be fleeting. We’ve only briefly been reunited so that we can say a proper goodbye. Plus, I’ve already moved on to what is perhaps its total opposite in the small hatchback market – a 3cyl Dacia Sandero.
Amazingly, at over £32k as tested the Funky Cat First Edition costs more than double the top spec Dacia. And although we did develop a bit of a bond with the Chinese EV, it’s the Sandero that’s much easier to love.
Despite being curtailed, our time with the Funky Cat proved that its poor Giti Tires couldn’t cope with the mighty 169bhp and 184lb ft of torque on offer, with the front wheels often spinning up in the wet or even exiting junctions in the dry. It also struggled with motorway manners and the suite of active safety systems were far too overeager to react to perceived dangers that were actually nothing of the sort.
That last complaint is in stark contrast to the Dacia, which makes sure it’s strong and all of the passive safety is up to standard, but doesn’t complicate itself with annoying active systems.
“The whole thing is about making choices, and you know that we are serious about passive safety, because we care about people,” Dacia boss Denis Le Vot told me last year. “But there is a whole thing about active safety which we can discuss.
“Lots of people deactivate the lane keep assist. You do that because you’re a human being and you assess the situation so you deactivate the technology. What we do is we don’t sell it to you. We know that people deactivate lane keep assist, so why would we sell it?”
It’s a very fair point, but the systems are so ingrained in how the Funky Cat works (the facial recognition tech can be used to automatically adjust the seating position when you get in, for example) that turning them off is a very long-winded process.
There’s some decent battery and motor tech buried in the Funky Cat and for some the design will sell the car straight away, but its driving dynamics and software just aren’t up to scratch right now. What’s the betting it won’t take Ora long to catch up, though?