CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

With compelling driving character, standout style and impressive everyday practicality, here are all the reasons why our colleagues at Autocar love CUPRA's all-electric hatchback...

The road-test team at our sister title Autocar are a pretty discerning and exacting bunch at the best of times – especially when it comes to identifying what really makes a car fun to drive. So, when Autocar says that the all-electric CUPRA Born is its Best Electric Car of 2024, it’s a verdict that’s worth listening to.

During the past year, the CUPRA Born has topped two major Autocar group tests, proving its versatile multi-faceted character. In August 2023 it beat five of its rivals in Autocar’s EV handling day to be named Autocar’s ‘Best Fun EV’. Then, in March 2024, the CUPRA Born pipped 11 other models in an epic supertest of electric cars priced under £40,000 to be named Autocar’s ‘Best Affordable EV’. 

“The fact that the CUPRA Born won both group tests shows its all-round appeal,” said Autocar Editor Mark Tisshaw. “It has a good balance of ride and handling for the real world. It’s the kind of car that engages you in everyday situations. The amount of power is also bang-on. Too often EVs give you too much power and are undriveable. Yet the CUPRA Born has just enough power to really enjoy it. It’s also good value. There have been improvements to the interior, and it’s very practical – with space for four adults and luggage, and a good real-world range close to around 250 miles.”

Now, the CUPRA Born is an even more compelling purchase, with a simplified model line-up and 0% APR for up to three years with a £4,500 contribution towards your finance deposit on Solutions PCP.*

So, let’s delve even deeper into all of the reasons why Autocar love the CUPRA Born so much.

Learn more about the CUPRA Born

CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

The perfect blend of power and poise

As you’d expect, the CUPRA Born’s appeal starts with its driving character. Shorter, narrower and lower than many of its large all-electric SUV rivals, the CUPRA Born hatch is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform – which has been designed around a low-slung battery pack that lowers centre of gravity and pushes the wheels out to the corners for a long wheelbase. 

Is also uses a rear-mounted rear-wheel drive electric motor that delivers more compelling driving character and up to 230PS of e-Boost power, with 310Nm of instantly accessible punchy all-electric torque. As a result, the CUPRA Born can sprint from 0-62mph in as little as 6.6 seconds.

“Just like the Volkswagen Golf GTI did for the petrol-powered hot-hatch, the CUPRA Born arguably sets the template from which to take the electric hot-hatch forward,” Autocar said. “There is, in short, a deeply impressive ‘just rightness’ about this car, which only becomes clearer when you surround it with its many rivals, and then drive it back-to-back with them on an interesting road.

“All of our testers agreed that the CUPRA Born takes the promising characteristics of an EV – the ones that most EVs squander – and puts them to best use. The low centre of gravity, the rear-wheel drive, the lightly loaded front-end and the long wheelbase combine to create something that feels agile yet friendly and has responsive and precise steering that remains free of cloying weight.

CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

“The CUPRA Born is powerful enough in its own right to feel urgent and athletic when you want it to, and it deploys and carries speed in a way that doesn’t have you looking down at your remaining range and questioning whether it’s sensible to be ‘enjoying’ driving your EV quite as much as you may be. 

“Being rear-motored and rear-wheel drive, there’s a sense of natural poise about the way the CUPRA Born gets down a road and around a corner. It feels lighter on its feet and more sweetly balanced. The slightly more permissive Sport setting for the stability control also allows a hint of throttle adjustability – gently rotating on the throttle out of corners and tucking its nose in following a life in a fast corner.

“The standard [passive suspension] set-up is on the firm side, but not excessively so – soaking up bumps without disturbing the balance. It’s never uncomfortable or ragged, which lets the CUPRA Born calmly take apart a bumpy road.”

And don’t think that the CUPRA Born’s impressive performance compromises its range and practicality. The CUPRA Born comes with a 59kWh battery as standard, which offers an official range of up to 266 miles. The CUPRA Born V3 also offers the option of a 77kWh battery with an official range of up to 348 miles.

CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

Impressive comfort and practicality

The CUPRA Born has also been designed to stand out, with head-turning exterior style, cossetting interior comfort, and a wealth of advanced in-car technology. “The CUPRA Born is the best of the pack in the compact electric class,” Autocar said. “It brings greater desirability and driver appeal to the affordable EV scene than many rivals, but has practical qualities and a competitive price, too.

“The CUPRA Born is a cut above the Volkswagen ID 3 in terms of material quality. There are more soft-touch materials dotted around the cabin, and the textured silver trim pieces lend some interest. In line with CUPRA’s sportier positioning, all CUPRA Born models get sports seats. The top-trim CUPRA Born V3 gets Dinamica microfibre, which is made from recycled plastics, but feels very plush.

“Putting our sensible hat on, the CUPRA Born makes the most of its EV-ness on the day-to-day as well. It capitalises on the lack of an engine by packaging executive saloon levels of interior space into a Volkswagen Golf-sized footprint. Indeed, the rear leg room in the CUPRA Born equals that of a BMW 5 Series. The bench isn’t set too low either, benefitting the seating position and preserving a decent amount of head room. And, at 385 litres, the boot space is on par with a Volkswagen Golf.”

CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

Any good drivers’ car also needs to be comfortable over long distances, making it user-friendly for epic road trips. And that’s an area in which the CUPRA Born excels.

“The CUPRA Born is beautifully judged in respect of comfort,” Autocar said. “The [passive] suspension is relatively firm, but very well controlled and feels expensively damped. You would never guess that our test car – like all top-spec CUPRA Born V3s – rode on 20in wheels. It won’t appeal to those seeking a floaty ride, but CUPRA has struck a very good compromise. 

“Just as important as the ride are the seats and in our CUPRA Born V3, they didn’t disappoint. The sports seats are luxuriously padded but supportive and offer a decent amount of lateral support, without being hard to get in and out of.”

CUPRA Born: why it’s Autocar’s Best Electric Car for 2024

CUPRA Born VZ: a taste of what’s to come

As Autocar has pointed out, the CUPRA Born is just the first taste of the potential that performance electric hatchbacks have for the future. And that’s why the imminent arrival of the even-more potent CUPRA Born VZ is eagerly awaited. 

VZ stands for ‘veloz’ meaning ‘fast’ in Spanish, and the CUPRA Born VZ boosts the CUPRA Born’s performance significantly – delivering 326PS of power (40% more than any other CUPRA Born) and up to 545Nm of torque (a staggering 75% over its sister models). That means 0-62mph in as little as 5.6 seconds. 

Under its skin, the CUPRA Born VZ’s handling has been sharpened even further with upgraded DCC Sport suspension, more responsive steering and an improved brake pedal feel, while the 20in alloy wheels use wider performance tyres. You also get a 79kWh battery that offers up to 372 miles of range and can be topped up from 10% to 80% in as little as 26 minutes on a compatible 185kW DC charger.

“The dynamic changes to the CUPRA Born VZ are extensive,” Autocar said. “There are new springs and dampers for the rear suspension and tuning changes at the front. Adaptive DCC dampers are standard and tuned to transmit more from the road to the car’. The steering has been given a new map to translate faster to the driver what the front wheels are doing. 

“The CUPRA Born VZ can take its power hike well, and the extra acceleration is useful and usable when attacking a series of corners. There’s a lot of grip at the front, and the car’s front-end inspires a lot of confidence to really attack corners, while the rear remains stable. The CUPRA Born VZ reminded me of a Volkswagen Golf GTI: rewarding and composed without being razor-sharp. That comparison extends to the steering, too, which is communicative enough while remaining light. Very little unsettles the car and the tuning is commendable.”

Inside the CUPRA Born VZ, you can appreciate all of that – and the vastly upgraded tech – from the enhanced cup bucket seats, which offer a more sport driving position and are trimmed in a rich-feeling Dinamica trim. “There’s huge visual appeal to the CUPRA Born VZ, inside and out,” Autocar said. “It certainly looks the part as a serious hot-hatch: powerful and purposeful. There’s also a special paint called ‘Dark Forest’, offered alongside Midnight Black. All very dark and moody, yet set off nicely with CUPRA’s now familiar copper trim.”

“The CUPRA Born VZ’s interior blends sportiness and technology well. The steering wheel and column have been tweaked – gaining paddle shifts to adjust regenerative braking levels, and also a new position for the drive selector. An enhanced 12.9in touchscreen is another addition. 

“The key addition is the new bucket seats – or Cup Bucket seats to give them their official name – which are fabulously supportive. They’re designed to make you feel lower to the ground, even if they are not mounted lower than the standard CUPRA Born’s seats. They’re also trimmed in natural fibres – the back trim using natural flax fibre that feels fantastic. Materials like this make leather feel increasingly old hat.”

So, whether you’re picking the CUPRA Born for its scintillating acceleration, its compelling driving character, its standout style, or the feel-good high-tech factor in the cabin and its everyday practicality, maybe it’s time to put it on your shortlist.

Learn more about the CUPRA Born

* With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. Maximum 36 month contract. Minimum 10% Deposit. Maximum 40% Deposit. 18s+. Subject to status & availability. T&Cs apply. Available when ordered by 30 September 2024 from participating CUPRA Retailers. Indemnities may be required. Subject to changes in vehicle or equipment prices. Not available in conjunction with any other finance offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at 07/2024. Freepost SEAT Financial Services.


Also consider