Cupra Born long-term test: report 12

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?...

James Tute looking under the bonnet of a Cupra Born electric car

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 6353 List price £40,150 Target Price £40,150 Price as tested £40,150 Official range 250 miles Test range 203 miles

13 February 2023 – The checks factor

I’ve got a guilty secret: I used to rather enjoy the ‘tyres, oil, lights, fluids’ ritual. You know, the routine car maintenance checks we’re encouraged to do regularly to make sure everything’s topped up and tip-top under the bonnet.

Now, though, there are dashboard lights to alert us to low tyre pressures, oil sensors in place of messy old dipsticks, and long-lasting LED headlights. Oh, and what with not having an engine, electric cars don’t even have engine oil to keep an eye on.

So, what’s left to do on a Sunday afternoon to make sure my Cupra Born is fit for the Monday morning commute?

Cupra Born washer fluid cap

Well, there’s still some interest under its wee bonnet – along with a couple of symbols showing lightning and a book, which I take to mean “danger of electrocution if you fiddle with things you don’t understand”.

To the right of the electric motor is an excellently designed windscreen wiper fluid top-up point. There’s a persistent warning light on the driver display to tell you when the fluid level is low and, when it is, refilling is simple.

The easily accessible bright blue cap flips up on a hinge (so it won’t slip through your fingers and roll under the car), revealing an opening wide enough to avoid spills. There’s a golf ball sized top reservoir, so you get fair warning when the main reservoir below it is full.

On the other side of the ‘engine compartment’ you’ll find the coolant and brake fluid caps and tanks, with traditional level indicators. I haven’t had to top up either in more than 6000 miles with the Born.

Cupra Born tyre pressure display

And, other than giving the radar sensors on the front and rear bumpers a wipe to make sure the car continues to ‘see’ what’s going on around it, that’s about it. If I want to get my hands dirty, I can do a tyre-pressure check in the old-fashioned way, although again the wheels are monitored by sensors so the driver display should flag up if any of them are low.

Who said life was getting more complicated?

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Read more on our long-term Cupra Born >>

Also consider