First impression: Australian Cupra Born (Performance Package) EV hatchback

    During the weekend I had the opportunity to experience the Cupra Born (Performance Package) for an hour and a half from the perspective of being a passenger, as well as checking out the interior and exterior.

    Hat tip to my friend Zachariah Kelly from Gizmodo for the opportunity (he has the vehicle on media loan for a week). To give some context to his comment below, I am 1.91m tall.

    Since we’re mentioning height I tested the passenger, driver and back seats. In the front there is plenty of legroom to stretch. There was not much spare space between my head and the roof.

    If the drivers seat was setup for me, someone the same size wouldn’t find it very comfortable in the seat directly behind.

    Speaking of the backseat, CUPRA Australia advise that models of the Born that are fitted with the optional Interior or Performance package have only 4 seats (2 front and 2 rear). This is due to weight limitations as the car is almost 2 tonnes unladen.

    If my photos of the Cupra Born remind you of the Volkswagen ID.3 (not available in Australia yet) that’s because the cars are mostly the same underneath the different styling and tweaks to increase the Born power, lower the Born ride height etc.

    Watching the charge process on a 50kW Evie station, the Born managed a steady 35kW rate from 65-75%. I expected it to be faster but perhaps the mid-teens late Sydney Autumn temperature slowed it down or the charging location was load balancing with the Polestar 2 charging in the next bay.

    Note that the standard Cupra Born has a WLTP range of 511km but versions upgraded with the optional Performance Package have a WLTP range of 475kms.

    From my brief use of the main touchscreen I found it surprisingly laggy for a $60,000 car and was also surprised that there is no built-in Sat Nav software to use if you don’t want to use Android Auto or Apple Carplay.

    The driver instrument cluster screen is small but easy to see and appears well designed, showing useful information.

    If you like proper buttons and knobs that you can use to control your car without looking at them, you need to know that the Australian version of the Born has a lot of haptic swipe buttons to control functionality below the central touch screen, on the steering wheel and to control windows.

    The window buttons actually make you first choose front or rear, and then the specific side! Ridiculous and difficult to do without looking.

    Basically admitting that they overdid this … Thomas Schäfer the CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars announced on Linkedin 7 months ago that:

    “We are sharpening our portfolio and our design, plus creating a new simplicity in operating our vehicles. For example, we are bringing back the push-button steering wheel! That’s what customers want from VW”.

    Something that Cupra has done well is the seat material. Instead of leather or vegan leather (plastic) they’ve used SEAQUAL® YARN, a recycled polymer fibre fabric made from plastic waste extracted from the Mediterranean Sea, as well as other oceans, rivers and estuaries. The production of this innovative material is made possible thanks to the collaboration between fishermen, a number of NGO clean-ups and local communities who collect waste material.

    Hopefully this first impressions post helps you decide whether to consider purchasing the Cupra Born.


    Neerav Bhatt
    Neerav Bhatt
    Thanks to his broad general knowledge, research skills and ability to explain complex issues Neerav Bhatt has appeared in the online, print, radio and TV media including: ABC (Online, TV, Radio), SBS (Online, Radio), BBC World Service (Radio), 10 News TV, Sky News TV, Australian IT, Technology Spectator, Ausdroid, iTnews, APCMAG, IDG CSO and a variety of other publications. In 2023 he joined the techAU team and represents them at Sydney events.


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