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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...

WINNER: Small Electric Car of the Year

Cupra Born 58kWh V2

Car of the Year 2022 logo - Ohme

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.

Cupra Born 2022 side

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.

Cupra Born 2022 interior

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.

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