Best Electric Car: Cupra Born

The first area where the Cupra Born makes a really clear case to pick it over an ID3 is in the interior.

On a fundamental level, much is still a little too similar to what you’d find in the VW. The Born has the same minimal digital gauge cluster that is mounted on the steering column and is fused with the BMW i3-style gear selector that also features in VW’s EVs. It works but feels a bit mean and plasticky. 

Also reminiscent of VW EVs – in a bad way – is the centre screen and the touch-sensitive slider controls that make for slightly frustrating usability.

The Cupra is a cut above the VW in terms of material quality, however. The door cappings remain plastic, but there are more soft-touch materials dotted around the cabin, and the textured silver trim pieces lend some interest to what could otherwise be a featureless dashboard.

In line with Cupra’s sportier positioning, all Borns get sports seats. The seats in lower-grade cars are upholstered in black cloth that is made from plastic litter reclaimed from beaches. Top-trim V3 models like our test car get Dinamica microfibre, which is made from recycled plastics but feels very plush.

Since no space has to be reserved for an engine, the car’s footprint can be used more efficiently for passengers and luggage. Indeed, the rear leg room in the Cupra in very impressive indeed, equalling that of a BMW 5 Series. The bench isn’t set too low either, benefiting the seating position and preserving a decent amount of head room. 

Space in the boot isn’t quite as impressive, because there’s a battery pack under the floor, but at 385 litres it’s still on a par with a VW Golf. Unfortunately, a false boot floor, to create a flat load space when the rear seats are folded and to hide the charge cables, is a £325 option. There are a few hooks for shopping bags, but that’s it in terms of clever features.

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The Cupra Born has essentially the same set-up we’ve seen on VW’s various smaller ID-brand EVs so far, with a Seat/Cupra-specific skin.

It still has the unlit temperature control-cum-volume bar; it still needs a moment to boot up in the morning; it still doesn’t always respond instantly; and the layout is still a bit unintuitive. 

The built-in navigation is decent enough, though. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be used wirelessly, but an inductive charger is optional on all Borns. CarPlay proved buggy, and switching to the native interface and back is clunky.

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