New Cupra Born vs Volkswagen ID 3: interiors

The new Cupra Born has a lot going for it, being closely related to the five-star Volkswagen ID 3. But which is the better electric car?...

New Cupra Born dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

The seats in both of these cars perch you a little higher than those in a Seat Leon or Volkswagen Golf. Add in the fact that their windscreens are huge and a long way ahead of you and you feel a bit like you’re sitting in an MPV. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s great for visibility. Your awareness of your surroundings is further aided by front and rear parking sensors on both cars, as well as rear-view cameras.

Both cars offer comfortable driving positions, with plenty of adjustment for the seats and steering wheels, although we’d prefer a little more side bolstering on the Volkswagen ID 3’s cushions for better support. The Cupra Born’s sports seats are slightly more generous in this area and hold you in place a little better without pinching your waist, but sadly you have to pay more to get adjustable lumbar support in the Born (as part of a pack that includes a massage function for those in the front), or move to a higher trim in the ID 3.

Volkswagen ID.3 dashboard

With just two main screens and a notable absence of buttons on the dash, you might think these interiors would be easy to get to grips with, but in reality they can be equally frustrating to use.

The 5.3in digital instrument panels are small and offer only a limited amount of information. Because both cars rely heavily on the central touchscreen to control most functions (including media settings and driving modes), even minor adjustments can prove tricky and distracting. And the touch-sensitive sliders for adjusting the air temperature and sound system’s volume aren’t backlit, so you’ll fumble around at night trying to locate them. You can use voice commands or the steering wheel controls instead, although these aren’t all that user-friendly either.

The ID 3 is trimmed in a mixture of light and dark grey tones that help to brighten up the interior, and there are some soft-touch materials on the dashboard and doors, but the hard plastics used elsewhere look and feel cheap. The Born’s more monotone interior may be darker, but the flashes of silver and bronze trim add welcome contrast, and the use of suede-like material on the seats and doors helps the Born feel more premium overall.


Cupra Born

New Cupra Born infotainment

One area in which the Born is more advanced than the ID 3 is its infotainment system, although that isn’t saying much. Its touchscreen is larger (12.0in), with more substantial icons that are easier to hit when you’re driving. But while its menus are less confusing than the ID 3’s, they’re still far from easy to navigate, and in our test its screen seemed slightly slower to respond to inputs. As in the ID.3, phone mirroring for Android and Apple devices is standard.

Volkswagen ID 3

Volkswagen ID.3 infotainment

All ID 3s come with a 10.0in touchscreen. Its small, poorly labelled icons are difficult to identify at a glance and minor functions are buried in sub-menus. The ID 3 scores back some points by having a separate row of touch-sensitive shortcut keys below the screen for quick access to the certain menus (such as the climate control and driver aids), but they don’t always respond well to inputs. The system is still full of bugs and frustratingly prone to crashing, too.

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