A VW ID.3 with a little individuality
The new CUPRA Born is named after the El Born barrio of Barcelona, and while its exterior style is inspired by Iberian energy and individuality, underneath it’s essentially identical to the Volkwagen ID.3.
As with the VW ID.3, the CUPRA Born is a five-door all-electric hatchback, with exactly the same dimensions, and it will be available with the same three battery sizes, all capable of very impressive electric ranges.
The ways in which it sets itself apart is: by having a different design at the front, an upgraded interior (with extra tech), fine-tuned steering with lowered ride height (depending on spec), and some delicate tweaks that ensure it can beat the Volkswagen ID.3 in a sprint.
Impressive range, pace and handling
The Cupra Born (like the VW ID.3) has a choice of three batteries – 45kWh, 58kWh, and 77kWh – which power a single electric motor, that drives the rear wheels. The official WLTP range starts at 211 miles for the 45kWh battery, and goes up to a very impressive 335 miles with the 77kWh battery.
The CUPRA Born is also very nippy. Not quite up there with the Tesla Model 3 for pace, but CUPRA offers a Performance Pack option that can be added to the two larger batteries, which bumps up the power to a very respectable 228bhp, which is quicker than any ID.3. However, 228bhp is only possible for up to 30 seconds at a time, so it doesn’t qualify as a proper hot hatch, or match other CUPRA offerings in that respect. And instead, it acts more as a splendid alternative to the ID.3, with a little extra juice.
The suspension and ride comfort is good, though a little firm due to the heavy battery, and slightly lowered ride height. While the handling is precise and pleasing, and more actively engaging than the Hyundai Kona Electric or Renault Zoe. However, the brake can take a little getting used to, from initially doing little, to quickly biting to brake, which can take a try to two to smoothly master.
Inviting interior and infotainment
The CUPRA Born comes with a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system (that’s larger than the 10-inch screen in the VW ID.3). It’s bright and clear, and the operating system is far more intuitive than that of the ID.3. However, the system used in the Kia e-Niro is more straightforward to operate.
The Kia e-Niro, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are also slightly easier to use, as they offer physical buttons and straightforward knobs, while the CUPRA Born has lots of touch-sensitive controls, for example on the steering wheel, which can be tricky to get used to (easy to accidentally trigger etc.) and many other operations have to be done from the infotainment system, which can feel distracting, but again, this just takes some time to get used to.
The visibility is very good, and parking sensors (front and rear) are due to be standard on all models. While the interior looks and feels classier than the ID.3 and the Nissan Leaf, particularly around the centre console and arm rests.
The CUPRA Born is spacious in the front, with plenty of room, even for those over six feet tall. There’s good storage space too, in the centre console and in various cubby holes.
While the rear space is adequate – the same size as a Volkswagen Golf – which also allows for tall passengers in the rear, but doesn’t leave much space beyond. It’s more capacious than a Renault Zoe, but the Kia Soul EV is bigger, as is the Tesla Model 3.
Equally, for boot space, there is generally enough room, to fit a buggy, shopping, or two big suitcases. However, again, the Nissan Leaf offers more room, and the Tesla Model 3 much more, if boot space is important to you.
A little more expensive than the ID.3
The CUPRA Born is due to be a smidge more expensive than the Volkswagen ID.3. Cheaper versions will compete with the MG5 and Renault Zoe, while the more expensive versions are up against the Kia e-Niro and Tesla Model 3.
The CUPRA Born has the ability to fast charge at 100kW (or 125kW for the largest battery), which means the mid-range 58kWh battery will charge 10-80% in about 30mins, which is quicker than the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
The standard spec will be as good as the ID.3’s, and lots of extras and options are expected to be available. While the safety standard is superb, with an extensive suite of kit as standard, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, a driver fatigue monitor, and traffic sign recognition, which shows you the current speed limit. The Tesla Model 3 is just slightly better overall for safety, but the CUPRA Born is highly qualified with some impressive credentials.
Ready to take on any rival
The CUPRA Born has all the good stuff from the VW ID.3 (which is a sensationally good small electric car that you can depend on) but with a Mediterranean makeover, and some extra sporty allure.
Essentially, this is a great alternative to the Volkswagen ID.3, should you want a slightly different looking, plusher, and more eco-friendly choice.
While some small practical elements are bettered by the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Tesla Model 3, the CUPRA Born has stand-out style. With excellent range and acceleration, as well as a polished interior, and an impressive infotainment system, this model is rationally impressive – thanks to the VW credentials – but also emotionally appealing – thanks to CUPRA characteristics – which brings a certain flair that its competitors can’t quite match. And as such the CUPRA Born should certainly be on your shortlist, and given a try when you get the chance.