Our Review of the CUPRA Born – A Hot Hatch Gone Electric

The CUPRA Born stands out from the crowd – both on paper and in person. As one of the very few electric hatchbacks currently available, it’s quickly carving out a niche in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market. Arriving at Archibalds this September, our team had the privilege of putting one of only two models in the country to the test. Our journey took us from our central Christchurch showroom through the Port Hills and Godley Heads, where we had the opportunity to really put the Born through its paces. Read our review below.

CUPRA Born pricing and specifications

  • CUPRA’s first all-electric vehicle
  • Priced from $77,900 CUPRA DriveAway, eligible for a Clean Car Rebate
  • All-electric range of 548 km WLTP*
  • 0 – 100 km in 7 seconds
  • Coming to Archibalds September 2023. Make an enquiry with our team to book a test drive.

CUPRA’s design DNA

In a world enamoured by SUVs, the Born emerges as a captivating gem. Yes, it’s a hatch, but there’s more than meets the eye. Its racy and challenging design is CUPRA through and through and the Born delivers this (and more) in spades. Defined by a sleek body and sportive lines, its aggressive stance really does turn heads out and about – or at least in the bustling Christchurch CBD. Clearly communicated in the Born is CUPRA’s design DNA, and we particularly like the copper accents highlighted throughout the vehicle. Fully aerodynamic 19″ Typhoon wheels not only provide the finishing touch but ensure you can maximise electric range, whilst an infinity taillight balances out the rear.

Whilst our demonstrator model donned Quasar Grey, our preference gravitates towards the striking Aurora Blue (available for an additional $850 and pictured below), which complements Born’s gorgeous copper accents very well. Colour options are:

  • Glacial White
  • Geyser Silver
  • Rayleigh Red
  • Vapor Grey
  • CUPRA Born in Christchurch Port Hills

Behind the wheel of the CUPRA Born

Take a seat inside the Born and what quickly becomes obvious is Born’s dedication to its electrified personality and advanced features, starting with the expiry of the traditional gear lever and start/stop button. Starting your journey is as simple as shifting into drive by rotating the gear lever to the right-hand side of your steering wheel. What we thought would be quite an adjustment was actually rather easy, what with not having to move our hands far from the steering wheel and the added bonus of a substantial amount of storage space in lieu of where a traditional gear level would be. We also liked how easy it was to activate maximum regenerative braking – simply rotate it while you’re in D and it selects B for maximum regen.

Speaking of space, there’s a lot. Despite being a hatch that comes in at just over 4.3 metres, there are multiple roomy compartments and cup holders that provide additional storage. Meanwhile, the dashboard and infotainment system harmoniously aligns with the Born’s dimensions, creating an environment that feels proportionate and well thought out. At the centre of it all is a floating 12″ touchscreen infotainment system that features the latest generation of technology. Completely customisable with the added benefits of voice control, physical buttons, and a touch screen, we found it intuitive to use.

Concluding your journey and turning off the Born is a breeze. While an ‘off’ button offers an extra layer of reassurance, it’s worth noting that it’s not a mandatory step – adding to the use of ease that defines the CUPRA Born driving experience.

Connectivity

The Born caters to those with a penchant for music and cutting-edge technology. With both wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, seamless connectivity is at your fingertips. Add in wireless phone charging and two twin USB-C charging ports in the rear seats and you’re set for those longer road trips.

  • CUPRA Born interior dashboard and infotainment system overlooking Canterbury

SEAQUAL YARN seating

One interesting feature in the Born is the bucket seats crafted from SEAQUAL Yarn, a material that’s manufactured from 100% plastic waste extracted from the oceans, rivers, and estuaries. We particularly liked this fabric not only for the sustainability aspect but also because it’s actually comfortable, and actually looks good. A win-win. The seats are also heated, so those currently experiencing a chilly Canterbury winter can rejoice.

How does it drive?

Fast. To cut to the chase, it’s unequivocally a hot hatch in every sense. Even when adhering to the 30 km/h speed limit within central Christchurch, the irresistible urge to unleash its power was palpable – a temptation we kept in check. As soon as we hit the open roads of the Port Hills we found a grin permanently etched on our faces, a sentiment shared by curious onlookers, with one or two even bold enough to ask exactly “what it is.”

Effortlessly smooth to drive, the all-electric powertrain propels the Born from 0 – 100 km/h in just seven seconds. If you really need more speed, there’s the CUPRA button (easily accessible on the steering wheel) that offers an additional 20 kW of boost. Performance has been a clear focus for CUPRA in developing this model – its seamless acceleration and smooth handling through corners and up windy roads truly is exceptional.

Speaking of buttons, easily accessible to the left side of your wheel is the drive mode button that enables you to switch between Comfort, Performance, Range, and CUPRA Individual. Our journey predominantly unfolded in Performance mode (a choice that proved to be irresistibly engaging). We found Eco, Comfort, and Range modes all shared a degree of similarity.

Boasting all the modern safety features you’d expect of a vehicle of this calibre, we particularly enjoyed the Adaptive Cruise Control, Travel Assist, and a Top View Camera, all of which contribute towards a 5-star NCAP safety rating.

A chameleon of sorts, the Born is at home wherever you venture. Whether that’s a short trip to town or a Sunday drive up the Canterbury hills, this hatch will have you calling shotgun on the driver’s seat.