The Cupra Born is the most beautiful car built on the Volkswagen MEB platform. However, does it offer something more than an eye-catching silhouette? I decided to check it out.
Better than Volkswagen ID.3
At the very beginning, it must be understood that the Cupra Born is almost a twin of the Volkswagen ID.3. Both cars have a lot in common, and in many respects they are almost identical. However, this does not mean that there is no difference between them.
First of all, the appearance is amazing, which in the case of the Cupra is more aggressive and sportier, and it is also a more beautiful car. Yes, the ID.3 looks great, but the Cupra Born is the most attractive MEB electric platform currently in production.
Cupra Born looks modern, but – which many people may like – it has the same design as the combustion models. Only green plates immediately show that we are dealing with an electrician. I admit that after I posted a picture on Instagram, where the plates were not visible, I got a question from my friend if I have a combustion car instead of an electric car for testing this time.
I would like to add that I like hatchbacks, because they are a really good car, especially for people who move around the city. However, it doesn’t necessarily meet my taste in terms of visuals – I’m closer to sedans or coupes. However, I can name a few hatchbacks that are quite neat and the Cupra Born is certainly one of them.
It is possible that my comments were added by the version I received for testing. Well, the so-called varnish Aurora Blue fits perfectly with brass inserts. I suspect that such a combination will not look good on all cars, but in the case of the Cupra it not only fits, but also makes me like it even more. Pardon the admiration of the appearance of Born, but he really hit my taste.
But let’s move on to some numbers now. The electric Cupra is 4.32 m long, 1.8 m wide (2.07 m from the windshield), 1.54 m tall and has a wheelbase of 2.76 m. For comparison, Volkswagen ID.3 is 4.26 m respectively, length, 1.8 m and about 1.57 m high, and the wheelbase is 2.77 m. It is clear that the Cupra is slightly longer and lower, which may herald more sporty expectations.
I’ve seen it somewhere
Not only “under the hood” or under the floor, the Cupra Born is very similar to the Volkswagen ID.3, but also inside the cabin. On the one hand, this can be considered an advantage, but on the other hand, Born repeats some of the shortcomings of ID.3, adding his own. Before continuing with the shortcomings and solutions that deserve to be included in the list of minuses, we will list the advantages, because there are some of them.
A small 5.3-inch screen, used as the main indicators, was placed on the steering column. This means that by changing the position of the steering wheel, we also change the position of the screen connected to it. It only provides basic information, such as current speed, active speed limit, cruise control functionality or simple navigation arrows.
However, I would prefer a slightly larger screen, which, for example, allows you to view the full navigation map. More so the same set of information can be found on the Head-Up display. Speaking of the head-up, it should be added that it supports augmented reality – it is quite good, although it does not have a significant impact on the use of even navigation (real arrows are covered on the road).
On the steering wheel you will find a large set of buttons, which – unfortunately – are tactile. Yes, it looks good visually, but it’s not necessarily easy when managing individual tasks. They did not bother me in the ID.3, but it is possible because of the slightly different arrangement of the buttons in the Volkswagen. However, in the Cupra, not only did I accidentally change the volume, but when I wanted to turn the music up or down, I had trouble with it. You have to press the touch panel, and then, holding your finger, move it down or up – it’s very difficult.
The steering, compared to the ID.3, is better, and it also has two additional buttons to select the driving mode. The first one, with the word “Save”, allows you to switch between all available modes. The second, bearing the Cupra brand logo, is used to activate the Cupra mode, which activates the sportier settings. I didn’t use them almost at all (I rode mainly in basic conditions), but I have to put their presence on the list of advantages – they just look good.
The second, larger, 12-inch screen is located in the center of the dashboard and is slightly oriented towards the driver. So it’s easy to guess who is the most important in Borna – yes, it’s the driver. Yes, some passengers will not complain, but it is worth remembering that it is primarily the person holding the steering wheel who should have the most fun while covering the next kilometers.
The screen itself is characterized by a good image quality, and – which I really liked – confidently resists all the effects that the user’s fingers can leave. The problem appears a little below this screen, namely the panels used to control volume and temperature. As in the Volkswagen ID.3, they are not illuminated, which means that at night we have to show a lot of intuition to hit the right panel. Especially at the beginning, it is annoying, because at night controlling these tasks is undoubtedly pleasant.
When it comes to the quality of the interior, including the materials used, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, this is not the level known from premium products, but it is very close. We will find cheap plastic, but mostly we are dealing with high-quality plastic, as well as with alcantara or a material that perfectly imitates alcantara. Individual components, with the exception of the central screen, do not sound under strong pressure and everything is firmly connected.
Infotainment system in Cupra – this should be banned!
In modern, computerized and electric cars, the infotainment system should work just as well as iOS on iPhones. Unfortunately, what I had the opportunity to see in the Cupra Born was certainly far from the system known from Apple smartphones.
Interface in terms of intuitiveness and ease of use while driving can be considered acceptable, but that’s about it for the pluses. The software works worse than in the Nissan Ariya, which I complained about this issue. Cupra Born means frequent reductions, sometimes the integration of the interface, and all the negative feelings are reinforced when we decide to run the built-in navigation. I would expect such efficiency from a cheap tablet from Aliexpress, but not from a car for almost 200,000. zlotys.
I don’t know what exactly failed – it’s the program itself poorly optimized, or there is a cheap processor under the hood, but the system’s response to any command discourages use. Do you remember how the cheapest smartphones on the market used to work? The infotainment system in Borna works the same way. Cupra has really disappointed me in this regard.
However, I can write that I have found one more great advantage. Well, the Cupra Born is perfectly compatible with the iPhone, both wired and wireless, so I could use Apple CarPlay, significantly reducing communication with the infotainment system itself. Interestingly, CarPlay works almost perfectly, just like on the excellent BMW iDrive.
How does the Cupra Born ride?
The driver gets 204 hp or 231 hp with the e-Boost function. In most cases, however, it will use 204 hp, because the maximum power is only available in Cupra mode, when the battery capacity is more than 80%.
Although the grain of the Cupra looks like a real sports car, acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h is 7.3 seconds, which is equal to the value of a new family station wagon with a 2-liter diesel under the hood. It is even better when accelerating from 0-50 km / h, because it takes 2.9 seconds – driving with power in the city of Bornem is therefore possible.
Perhaps it will not be a big surprise when I write that the Cupra reacts effectively to every powerful “gas” press, after all, this is the behavior of many electric cars. The steering system has a bit of a claw, and with a low center of gravity, cornering is quite pleasant. It should only be remembered that we are dealing with a heavy car – the curb weight is about 1800 kg.
Of course, we enjoy driving the car, although I expected something more than just the characteristics that resemble the most prestigious Volkswagen ID.3. It’s good, but it could be better. The suspension is quite strong, but this is not a defect, but a feature of a sports hatchback.
It should also be mentioned that the car is transferred only to the rear wheels and on the wet surface, when we press the hard “gas”, the Cupra Born can gently play with its butt.
For long trips, it is better to choose a version with a larger battery
I received the Birth Battery with 58 kWh (net) for testing, but the offer also includes a variant that offers a 77 kWh battery. If we don’t often go on long trips, then 58 kWh will be quite enough, but if we plan more frequent trips, I recommend choosing a model with a larger battery. This is due to a simple fact – it will give more variety.
My average consumption per 100 km was:
- city - 15 kWh, i.e. a range of 360 km,
- route 90 km/h – 17 kWh, i.e. a range of about 340 km
- route 120 km/h – 22.5 kWh, i.e. a range of about 250 km,
- 140 km/h route – 26 kWh, or a range of about 220 km.
I would like to add that I went to Malbork with a Cupra Born from the Łódź region, driving mainly the S7 route. I decided to top up the charge approximately every 150 km, taking a break of 15-20 minutes. The trip was more pleasant, because I got to my destination quite efficiently, and I spent only 10 minutes under some chargers, charging more times than I thought at first. It was not necessary, but in the event of the route I decided to check what the infrastructure looks like.
However, if I were to drive such a route more often, I would prefer to have a version with a 77 kWh battery, with almost 100 km of additional range at a speed of 120 km / h. The birth of 58 kWh is a city and a short route, unless one does not mind frequent stops at the charger.
Speaking of charging, the electric Cupra will take a maximum of 11 kW on AC chargers, and 120 kW on DC fast chargers (135 kW in the case of a large battery).
Cupra Born – overview
The electric Cupra looks great, drives really well and is fun to drive. I suspect that the version with a larger battery will perform better during long trips. Added to this is a very good fit inside.
However, I can’t agree with the way the infotainment system works – the cutscenes, animations and general clumsiness. This shouldn’t happen in any car, much less in a modern one with computers, and that’s what the Cupra Born strives to be.
Borna prices with a 58 kWh battery start from PLN 204.8 thousand. zlotys, and for the version with 77 kWh we have to pay 232 thousand. zlotys. Well, it’s not cheap, so some shortcomings, especially the average infotainment system, hurt more.
Photos of the electric Cupra were taken by GRI CARS. I invite you to watch his Instagram profile.