CUPRA Born - ABC Leasing

Car & Driving
The independent definitive CUPRA Born video review
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    THE BORN IDENTITY(some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Ten Second Review word count: 39

    Fledgling Spanish brand CUPRA offers a surprisingly appealing compact family EV with sporting genes, this car, the Born. It takes all the clever ingredients of other VW Group EVs, but blends them into a more engaging and characterful confection.

    Background word count: 225

    It was only a matter of time before we started seeing performance-orientated versions of compact family EVs, but what if you could have one that was, in all its forms, fundamentally developed for enjoyment at the wheel? Yet still as practical, ecological and frugal as its battery-powered rivals. That's the promise of this car, the CUPRA Born. You may by now be vaguely aware of the CUPRA brand. Once it was purely a performance badge on fast SEATs, but now it's a marque in its own right offering two repackaged SEAT models (the CUPRA Ateca and the CUPRA Leon) and one design of its own (the CUPRA Formentor SUV). CUPRA was clear from the start that electrification would play a major part in its product development and, sure enough, the Leon and the Formentor can both be had in Plug-in 'e-Hybrid' forms. The Born though, is a full EV, using the same engineering you'll find in a Volkswagen ID.3 or a Skoda Enyaq iV, but packaged with a performance twist. You'd think this CUPRA EV model would have had a wider audience with the SEAT branding it was originally supposed to have (initially it was slated to be sold as a SEAT el-Born). But the VW Group has decided instead that this car should be a touch more aspirational than that. Let's check it out.

    Driving Experience word count: 436

    The Born springs away from rest of course, as all EVs do, running out of puff just after the point where you realise that the torque rush has inadvertently pushed you over the speed limit. Everything so far is just as it would be in the Volkswagen ID.3 this Born is almost entirely based on. But CUPRA wants to convince you that this is a far sportier confection. And to that end, has fitted shorter coil springs lowering the ride height, along with wider tyres, a more direct variable-ratio steering set-up and a retuned stability control system. To fit with all this, the electric power output of the kind of Born model most people will choose - 204PS - is the kind of output only offered at the heady heights of the ID.3 line-up, though the 58kWh battery it's linked to is the one that most versions of that VW use, here delivering a range of up to 265 miles. That figure falls fractionally to 262 miles if you add in the optional e-Boost motor you can't have on an ID.3, which adds an extra 26PS of power for 30 seconds when you stamp on the throttle and ought to have been standardised on the Born to give it a more significant unique selling point. The 230PS e-Boost motor comes as standard if you pay the extra for the larger 77kWh battery, which increases driving range to 343 miles. At the top of the line-up, there's a sporty BZ model, which remains rear-driven but gets power boosted to 325PS (with 545Nm of torque), with handling tweaks to suit the extra power, which sees 62mph dispatched in just 5.7s on the way to a higher 120mph top speed. This top variant has a slightly larger 79kWh battery, offering an extended range of 353 miles. Across the Born range, there are four main drive modes - 'Comfort', 'Performance', 'Range' and 'Individual', with a further 'CUPRA' setting for the e-Boost and BZ models. Optional 'DCC' adaptive damping enhances the 'Comfort' setting, but you don't really need it because the standard passive set-up is very good indeed. The Barcelona engineers must have worked really hard on that: a pity then, that they weren't given leave by Wolfsburg to fiddle with the steering, which despite its quicker rack feels remote and very light on feedback. Even as it is though, this is (as intended) a far more engaging thing than its ID.3 cousin; to the point where we'd find it hard to think of another similarly-sized EV in this price bracket that we'd recommend over this one to a keen driver.

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    Category: Compact Car