Cupra Born Review
The Born is an electric family car designed to amuse enthusiastic drivers with its sporty handling and performance
Strengths & weaknesses
The Cupra brand is not yet all that familiar – it was only created in 2018 when it was spun off from Seat, so it’s hardly going to be as recognisable as BMW or Ford – but it’s quickly built a reputation for creating fun, practical and relatively affordable performance cars.
The Cupra Born is the brand’s first ground-up attempt at an electric car and, with Cupra being part of the VW group, it shares a lot of components with the popular and capable Volkswagen ID.3 electric family hatchback.
Put the two side by side and you’ll recognise the similarities in shape between the ID.3 and the Born. In profile, especially, they’re almost identical. Where the Born differs from the ID.3 is in the details. It’s got a much sharper-looking, more aggressive nose for a start, and some of the overall detailing makes it look a little more sporty than the VW.
It also features copper highlights in various places, including the badge and – on some models – the wheels, which is all part of Cupra’s brand identity. Similarly, the choice of dark, muted colours are all part of Cupra’s slightly moody vibe.
The Born also gets sharper-feeling steering, a lower ride height and some models have greater performance than the fastest ID.3. Combined with the optional adaptive suspension (Cupra calls this Dynamic Chassis Control) it makes the Cupra quite entertaining, if not quite as much fun as a petrol-powered hot hatch such as a Ford Focus ST or Honda Civic Type R.
All models come with a single electric motor driving the rear wheels, though a twin-motor version with four-wheel drive is on the cards, too. There’s a choice of an entry-level version with 150hp, a 45kWh battery and a maximum range of around 211 miles, a 204hp, 58kWh version that’ll give you a range of up to 263 miles, a 230hp 58kWh version (capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, and a long-range 77kWh 230hp car that will take you a theoretical 335 miles on a single full charge.
Inside, the Born will again be familiar to anyone who’s had a look at a VW ID.3. It has much the same basic layout and (unfortunately) frustratingly sensitive touchpads on the steering wheel and for the heating/air-con controls, and you may well want to make use of the standard-fit Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity to sidestep some of the more frustrating aspects of the media system, but actually the Born has a more impressive interior than the ID.3, because it feels as though it’s built from much higher-quality materials.
There’s plenty of room, and the boxy bodyshape creates a really airy feel to the car’s interior, although rear-seat passengers might feel a little high-up, as though they’re perched on the car rather than sitting in it. There’s decent legroom in both front and rear, however, and the front seats are supremely supportive and comfortable. In the boot, meanwhile, you’ll find around as much space as you would get in a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf.
Should I get a Cupra Born?
✔ Good battery range
✔ Good levels of standard equipment
✔ Feels impressively upmarket
✘ Ride can feel a little firm
✘ Some dashboard controls are fiddly
✘ Not as much fun to drive as a traditional hot hatch
As a slightly more sporty, smartly styled and upmarket alternative to the VW ID.3, the Cupra Born is a very appealing car. It’s fun to drive, well equipped, feels like a premium product and looks good.
However, if you’re expecting a genuinely sporty driving experience it might leave you a little disappointed – even the most powerful models are only just as quick as a conventional petrol-powered hot hatch such as a VW Golf GTI.
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Charge time
- Best Born for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
|V1||Limited stock: V1 models are pretty generously equipped, with adaptive cruise control, built-in sat-nav, autonomous emergency braking, 18-inch alloy wheels and a reversing camera.|
|V2||From £28,400: Moving up to a V2 model nets you all the goodies you get in a V1 car, but with larger 19-inch alloys, heated seats and a head-up display.|
|V3||From £30,900: V3 is the top of the range for the Cupra Born and comes with 20-inch alloys, plus electrically adjustable front seats that are also equipped with a massage function.|
Given the performance-focused ambitions of the Cupra Brand, the e-Boost model - which gives the full 230hp for up to 30 seconds at a time - is the most appropriate choice of motor.
This is enough to get the car from 0-62mph in a creditable 6.6 seconds, provided you pair it with the smaller 58kWh battery (rather than the larger and therefore heavier 77kWh option).
There is a choice of three battery pack sizes with the Cupra Born. The smallest – and cheapest – is a 45kWh setup, which will deliver a maximum range of 211 miles. The mid-sized battery is a 58kWh pack and, combined with the 204hp motor (rather than the 230hp e-Boost) is theoretically capable of 263 miles on a single charge.
The biggest battery pack is a 77kWh unit, which gives the Born an impressive maximum range of 335 miles.
The 58kWh and 77kWh batteries will charge from 5-80% in around the same time (35-36 minutes) because the larger battery supports faster charging (135kW) compared with the smaller battery (120kW).
Go for the 58kWh battery pack and you'll be able to charge in around nine hours, or 11 and a half hours for the larger pack. Both are capable of 11kW AC charging (cutting times to five and a half hours and seven and a half hours), but these chargers tend not to be installed at home.
With a variety of equipment trim levels, power outputs and battery sizes, there’s a broad choice of Cupra Born models available to suit a variety of different requirements.
|Cupra Born V1: Although you don’t get an especially powerful motor or a particularly large battery pack, the lowest-powered Born, with 150hp and a range of 211 miles is significantly cheaper than the cheapest VW ID.3.|
|Cupra Born V2, 58kWh, 204hp: The V2 spec Born adds little extra goodies such as heated seats – for not much more than the cost of the V1 trim level. Meanwhile, the 58kWh battery should give a decent range for most family trips, while keeping the overall cost down compared with the bigger battery|
|Cupra Born V2 58kWh e-Boost: With the e-Boost version of the Born, there’s 230hp available for up to 30 seconds at a time. With the slightly lighter 58kWh battery pack, that’s enough to get the car from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds.
|Cupra Born V3 77kWh e-Boost: This is slower than the smaller battery pack car, yet more expensive. It’s only worth going for if you really need the extra range.|
Aside from the obvious comparison with the Volkswagen ID.3 – with which the Born shares much of its design and underpinnings – there are various alternatives to factor in if you’re considering a Cupra Born.
At the lower end of the Born range you are looking at the Mazda MX-30 small crossover SUV, which is an impressive electric car but only offers a comparatively short range. The BMW i3, meanwhile, is great to drive, but also is compromised by a relatively poor range on a full charge.
If you want a longer-range car, then it’s worth considering the MG 5 estate or Nissan Leaf e+, but neither of these are as sporty or as upmarket as the Born.
Cupra Born practicality: dimensions and boot space
At 4,322mm long, 1,809mm wide and 1,537mm tall, the Cupra Born is a fairly compact car. It’s about the same size as a VW Golf (and of course almost identical to the ID.3 with which it shares so much design and technology).
That makes it shorter, but a little wider than the Nissan Leaf, and significantly shorter and more narrow than the chunky Kia EV6.
|Length 4,322mm||Width 1,809mm|
|Height 1,537mm||Weight 1,736kg - 1,871kg|
A 385-litre boot is about par for the course for a family hatchback – it’s five litres more than you’ll get in a VW Golf, for example. However, compared with the Nissan Leaf’s 435 litres of boot capacity, or the 572 litres of room in the boot of a Kia EV6 (admittedly a much larger car), the Born falls a little short.
If you’re comparing it with a BMW i3, however, it fares rather better – the BMW can muster just 260 litres of room.
|Seats up 385 litres|
Both the Cupra brand and the Born model are a bit of an unknown quantity when it comes to reliability. Even the VW ID.3, upon which the Born is based, is too new to make a judgement on how reliable the Born is likely to be.
However, looking at Cupra’s parent brand Seat, you can probably expect reasonable if not sparkling reliability – the brand (Seat, that is) came in 15th out of 29 brands tested in the 2021 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
As standard, all Cupras get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is pretty average. You can extend it to four years and 75,000 miles if you so wish, however this will of course incur a cost.
The batteries for the Born, however, are covered for rather longer: eight years or 100,000 miles – whichever comes first.
|3 years||60,000 miles|
Both financing companies and buyers are still a little unsure of electric cars on the secondhand market, as they’re still relatively new and unusual, with relatively untested technology.
As a result, pricing can be inconsistent, particularly when you’re looking at PCP finance. This is because the finance companies setting the price use predicted future values of secondhand cars to work out monthly payment costs – and if they’re unsure how much a car will be worth, they will ask for higher monthly payments as a result.
That said, as the used car market gets used to EVs, there is reason to suspect they’ll be more robust as used cars than petrol or diesel models, as electric motors are simpler than internal combustion engines.
What’s more, with significant improvement in battery technology in recent years, latent worries about reduced range capacity in older batteries doesn’t seem to be proving true – so there’s no reason to imagine that a Cupra Born’s range capacity will drop significantly over time.
Entry-level V1 cars are very well equipped, with a 12-inch central touch screen,18-inch alloy wheels, climate control and built-in sat-nav as standard. And the most modest motor option – giving 150hp of power – is more than enough in most instances.
Unless you really want the short bursts of extra power that the e-Boost models bring, the V2-spec car with the mid-range 58kWh battery and the 204hp power output is really the sweet spot in the range. It’s significantly cheaper than the e-Boost cars, its 263-mile range should be enough for most everyday needs and it still feels spritely.
The higher-spec models in the Born range – the V3 models – can start to get rather expensive, edging close to the lower rungs of the Tesla Model 3 in terms of price, so they seem like less good value. This is particularly true of the big-battery 77kWh model, which blunts performance and costs more. Unless you desperately need the 335-mile range, this really isn’t the best set-up in the Born line-up.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.