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In-depth reviews

Cupra Born 2023 review

The Cupra Born is a well-executed electric car – if you put aside any pretence that it’s a genuine hot hatch

Evo rating
from £36,475
  • More engaging than an ID.3
  • The MG4 is better value

The Volkswagen group is pumping serious investment into Cupra. What began as a sportier strand of Seat has become a manufacturer in its own right, with an ambitious product plan that promises a string of eccentric EVs to arrive by 2030. But fanciful concept cars are one thing; if Cupra is going to worm its way into the market as another mainstream pillar of electric cars, it needs to deliver something tangible – and desirable – to customers. That's where the Born comes in. 

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Based on the same MEB platform as Volkswagen’s ID.3, the Born is the first of Cupra’s ground-up electric cars, vying for market share against other hatchbacks like the MG4, Renault Megane E-Tech and yes, its Volkswagen twin. Indeed, its overall proportions, packaging and powertrain tech are shared with the ID.3, but Cupra has infused the Born with its own design and dynamic character, and it’s one that we quite like. 

Cupra Born: in detail

  • Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > Cupra has used Volkswagen’s EV tool kit to create the Born, which shares its core structure with the ID.3
  • Performance and 0-60 time > All Borns are rapid off the mark, but the powertrain runs out of steam at higher speeds
  • Ride and handling > The Born is sharper and more entertaining than the ID.3, but doesn’t quite cut it as a hot hatch
  • Range, charging and running costs > More than 200 miles is easily achievable from a full charge, with the flagship Born breaking over 300 miles
  • Interior and tech > Flashes of colour and fabric trims lift the cabin, but there are fundamental ergonomic flaws
  • Design > The proportions are unmistakably EV, but Cupra has applied its own visual flair to the ID.3’s silhouette

Prices, specs and rivals

The Born is offered with either a 58kW or 77kW battery pack and two power outputs, with the range spanning across three trim levels – V1, V2 and V3. All Born’s are well equipped, with kit such as LED headlights, a rear-view camera, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and a 12-inch infotainment screen included in the V1. Upgrading to V2 spec swaps out the Born’s standard 18-inch wheels for 19s, while adding insulating side glass, a head-up display and heated front seats. The V3 gets 20-inch alloys and sports seats to mark it out as the range-topper. 

The cheapest Born comes with a 201bhp motor and the smaller battery, starting from £36,475 in V1 trim. That places it about on par with the equivalent ID.3 and Megane E-Tech but far beyond the base-level MG4, which remains astonishingly good value at £26,995. If you step up to the MG4 Long Range to match the Cupra for performance and range, the price gulf is still enormous at £6980. 

The more powerful 228bhp Born costs £39,205, and combining this with the larger battery (which you can’t specify with the 201bhp motor) costs an extra £2770. Choosing the top-spec V3 with the upgraded battery and motor bumps the price up to £43,735, and at that level, the Born is on the fringes of the class above; the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 cost similar money.

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