Cupra Born long-term test: report 4

When we first tested the Cupra Born we were so impressed that we named it Small Electric Car of the Year. But does it continue to impress when you live with it every day?...

Cupra Born loading boot

The car Cupra Born 58kWh V3 150kW Run by James Tute, senior sub-editor

Why we’re running it To see if our Small Electric Car of the Year still makes sense as commuter and leisure transport if you don't have access to a home charger 

Needs to Deliver on the promise of a fun driving experience, low running costs and good practicality, while having enough range for weekend getaways

Mileage 2048 List price £38,390 Target Price £38,390 Price as tested £38,390 Official range 250 miles Test range 272 miles

7 August 2022 – Full disclosure

It’s been an enlightening few weeks with the Cupra Born so it’s hard to know where to begin, but let’s start with a magic number – 300.

Why? Well, that’s what the Born’s range indicator ticked up to at the end of the last full charge. I’d seen 299 before in the same circumstances (Range mode on, air-con off), but this was a new and strangely thrilling high.

Better still, the whole business of charging the Born has become far easier because, after several failed attempts, I’ve mastered fast forecourt devices.

Cupra Born driver display

So, instead of connecting up to a slow Ubitricity street charger in a road with restricted parking times, I now pull into a petrol station on the way home from work, plug in and start the power flowing with a mobile phone app.

And instead of leaving the Born charging overnight and getting up at the crack of dawn to collect it, I relax in the driver’s seat, catching up on phone calls or reading.

A 90% charge at my usual Shell forecourt takes about an hour (rather than eight-ish hours on the street), but knowing I’ll be passing again soon, I’m happy to do quicker top-ups that take 20 or 30 minutes and add 100 miles or so of predicted range.

This is doubly good news because I’m heading a couple of hundred miles north for a staycation next week, and I don’t want to spend it trundling round streets looking for lamppost chargers.

Cupra Born boot loaded

With that trip in mind, I thought it was time to cram some luggage into the Born’s 385-litre boot to see how many outfits me and my two travelling companions will be able to take. As my photos show, I managed two big suitcases and two carry-ons, with a few pockets of space left for cramming in smallish items.

If need be, we can fold down a section of the rear seats to supplement the storage area, but I suspect we’ll throw any extra bags on the back seat instead.

It’s really easy to drop the seat backs when I do need to (there are buttons by the rear doors). They split into two bits, so you can have, say, two passengers plus a long boot section, or one passenger and a wider space.

Cupra Born back seats

It’s worth noting that when the seat backs are down, there’s a big step up (about a hand’s length) from the boot floor proper. In other words, if you want to slide in a long bit of furniture, you’ll have to reach in and do some lifting to get it in.

I’ve tested the back seat personally too, sitting behind the front seat set to my ideal position. At 6ft 3in, I was happy as Larry back there, so the three of us should have plenty of wriggle room.

With its short bonnet (no engine, of course), I reckon the Born looks fairly dinky at a glance, but so far it’s passed all my practicality tests.

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