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Car of the Year Awards 2022: Small Electric Car of the Year
This class embraces nimble city cars and family hatchbacks, as long as they are no more than 4.5 metres long...
Cupra Born 58kWh V2
Born is an appropriate name, marking the arrival of Cupra as a maker of fully electric cars. And as entrances go, taking our Small Electric Car of the Year award at the first try is a big one. Admittedly, it had a bit of a head start; the Born shares its structure and systems with the Volkswagen ID.3, which lifted the title last year. That means the Born makes a good family car, with a big boot, an interior that’s spacious for four adults, plenty of storage space and a generous level of kit on all models.
However, the Born eclipses the ID.3 in the way it drives. Choosing a Cupra typically means a bigger focus on driver appeal, and the Born certainly delivers. It feels more eager to turn in to corners than the already crisp-handling ID.3 and also offers a sharper drive than any of its other rivals, including the Nissan Leaf and Peugeot e-208.
Yet, despite having lower, stiffer suspension, the Born’s ride is only a little firmer than the ID.3’s and far from harsh. What’s more, road noise is kept to a minimum, so there shouldn’t be many complaints from resting occupants during longer journeys.
The 201bhp electric motor is our pick of the Born line-up; it provides enough poke to compete with the range-topping 62kWh e+ version of the Leaf, while leaving the e-208 and Renault Zoe behind. If that’s still not fast enough, performance fans can up the ante with an e-Boost version that lifts power by 27bhp – something you can’t have with the ID.3.
An official 263-mile range from the standard 58kWh battery places it among the higher achievers in the class; only the more expensive 77kWh ID.3 Tour can beat it.
Our favourite V2 spec also represents great value, giving you a large, 12.0in infotainment touchscreen and even an augmented reality head-up display; this can project turning prompts onto the windscreen as if you were playing a computer game. Its interior feels more special than the ID.3’s, too, and is light years ahead of the Nissan Leaf’s.
As small electric cars go, the Born is a fantastic all-rounder and proves that turning your back on petrol doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun. Talk about a triumphant debut.