I have a lot of affection for Cupra, and happily, the new electric Born V+ does not disappoint.
I am unashamedly a fan of all things Spanish (a Spancophile?), so this hot little EV and I were maybe destined to be together.
Cupra is part of Seat, which is owned by VW. It shares a lot of its core with VW’s Audi brand, but it is more Spanish than German.
The Born is marketed as a hot hatch EV that is best described as a lot of fun.
It has an impressive 548km range, thanks to a large (for the car size) 77kWh battery. It has the same 150kW power output as the VW ID.4 but is sporty and quick rather than sluggish and unimpressive.
New Zealand is not getting VW’s ID.3, and I suspect a bean counter somewhere in Germany has rationalised allowing the Born to be sold in NZ as an alternative. From what I have read, it has a better, more luxurious interior and also sits lower than the ID.3.
The Born races from 0-100km/h in 7 seconds, which is not great but feels quicker. And 0-50km/h in 2.7 seconds.
Pressing a Cupra spider button on the steering wheel gives you an extra 20kW of power for 30 seconds, which makes pulling away from traffic lights or overtaking lots of fun. In the city, where I mostly drove it, this is a car that’ll put a smile on your dial.
Its batteries will charge in under half an hour on a supercharger at 170kW DC, and it has a five-year/100,00km mechanical warranty and an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty. That is more than enough.
The downside? It might be the price. At $74,900, it is at the upper end among the current crop of EVs, most of which are currently heavily discounted ahead of removing the $7,015 clean car rebate at the end of the month.
This puts its price higher than the Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6, Peugeot e-208, MG4, BYD Dolphin, etc.
The door-mounted window buttons are a bit of an oddity. By default, they’ll work the front windows, but because there are only two buttons, you need to press a toggle to operate the rear windows. Naturally, I learnt this by mistake.
Formentor PHEV on sale
Cupra also has the super impressive Formentor V PHEV on sale. If you are not yet ready to commit to full EV, it is definitely worth a look.
It is $63,900, discounted from $79,550. And you are still eligible for a $4,025 clean car rebate until month’s end, so it’ll squeak in under $60k.
The plug-in Formenter will do 54km in electric mode, will sip just 1.3l petrol per 100km (well, that’s what they say) and is generally a thing of beauty. I think it may just be the most cost-effective luxury vehicle for sale in NZ right now.