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Cupra Born 2022 review

CUPRA Born 01 HQ scaled
CUPRA Born 01 HQ scaled

The name CUPRA creates expectations. What used to be Seat’s performance label, now stands on its own. Like Polestar was once a sporty emblem on a Volvo. And just like Polestar, CUPRA claims to make life just that little bit more exciting. This is called ‘Electrifying performance’. And only intended for drivers who appreciate this catchy sauce: car enthusiasts. The question that then arises is: how difficult is that if you are a decent Volkswagen ID.3 under the skin? The Cupra versions of two existing Seat models, the Ateca and the Leon, got shiny new logos.

CUPRA is a brand for car enthusiasts and car lovers. So, for real petrolheads? Well, leave out the ‘real’ thing, and the word ‘petrol’ can also go in the trash. Sustainability in combination with performance, that’s what CUPRA is all about. Porsche and Polestar succeed, now CUPRA joins in.

Cupra generates expectations because it asserts that it is just a bit more exciting than other car brands. That is problematic if you use technology from Volkswagen. The appearance is in any case more frivolous than that of the Volkswagen ID.3 and the dashboard has more coloured accents. You also get standard sports seats and a cool sports suspension.

Under the skin, the Cupra Born is of course ‘just’ a Volkswagen ID.3. Both cars roll off the same production line in Zwickau, Germany, and use the same MEB platform. Many specs are therefore familiar to us: a battery pack of 58 kWh, a power of 204 hp. Although Cupra likes to be sporty, it does the standard sprint to 100 km/h just as fast as the ID.3 (7.3 s) and the top speed is also the same (160 km/h). Volkswagen finds steel wheels more than enough for the basic version with 58 kWh, while the Cupra Born steals the show with light metal. Adaptive cruise control, heated seats and a reversing camera are also included in the price. You pay almost the same.

The Born is available with three different batteries and two different motors. A decent 58 kWh with 150 hp will become the most common in our country next year. But the most CUPRA-worthy is the 77 kWh with 204 hp. And if you want extra flames and feel like a ‘petrolhead’ again… Then put wider tires, bigger rims, and an e-boost option on the wish list. The latter provides 231 hp and with that, you can fly from 0 to 100 km per hour in 6.6 seconds.

You can also see the similarities in the lines, just like in the design of the dashboard. So, the Born must put up with that dreadful to control infotainment system; even lowering the climate control or radio is tiresomeness. You must press your finger on the thin keys placed below the navigation screen. That needs so much meticulous work that you must keep your eyes off the road. Anyhow, you have had to hear this dirge more often… hopefully they will read along in Zwickau.

The interior of the CUPRA Born is like the Volkswagen ID.3. This is no surprise. But here the garlands are hung. And if you love all the brass accents on the outside, wet your car-lovers chest for the inside. Even more copper-coloured accents. Everywhere. In the seats, on the dashboard, in the centre console. You can also choose between vegan-suede bucket seats or standard seats, made from recycled plastic bottles that have been fished from the sea.

Do not expect a sensational driving experience, the similarities with the ID.3 are too great for that. Although thanks to the e-Boost he has just enough Spanish personality to make your drive a lot more interesting.

Value for Money
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is the editor of Absolute Gadget and has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives.
cupra-born-2022-reviewThe electric Cupra Born and the Volkswagen ID.3 roll off the production line together and share all the technology. How can Cupra turn a standard electric Volkswagen into something exciting?