New Ora Funky Cat vs MG 4 EV

The MG 4 is currently our favourite small electric car, but is its position under threat from Chinese brand Ora’s new contender?...

New Ora Funky Cat vs MG 4 EV header

The Contenders

New Ora Funky Cat First Edition

List price £31,995
Target price £31,995

New Chinese electric hatchback offers cheeky looks and an inviting interior, but can it compete with the class best with an official range of less than 200 miles?

MG 4 EV Long Range Trophy

List price £32,495
Target price £32,495

The MG 4 is our Small Electric Car of the Year in entry-level SE guise, but this time we’re testing it in top spec with a bigger battery and an official range of 270 miles

When electric cars first burst onto the scene, they came with the promise of being kinder to Mother Earth and with running costs that were far lower than petrol and diesel alternatives. While that’s still largely true, the issue is that electric vehicles (EVs) tend to carry hefty price tags. And if you want something with a good range for driving long distances, you have to pay even more.

MG 4 EV rear cornering

At least, that was the case until the MG 4 EV came along last year. Okay, calling it ‘cheap’ might be a stretch (even the entry-level version is more than twice the price of a Dacia Sandero), but it instantly made cars like the Peugeot e-208, Renault Zoe and Vauxhall Corsa Electric seem overpriced by offering a longer range and more interior space than those cars for similar money.

The MG 4 starts at £26,999, and even if you want the Long Range version and lots of standard kit, you’ll be paying a reasonable £32,495 – which is only £500 more than a brand new and similar-sized EV called the Ora Funky Cat.

Like the MG 4, the Funky Cat hails from China, and there’s currently only one version, called the First Edition. It has a smaller battery than its compatriot but promises to be a more upmarket choice in other ways, particularly when it comes to interior quality.

So, has the MG 4’s reign at the top of the class come to an abrupt end already? Or is the Funky Cat as weak as a kitten?

MG 4 EV rear cornering


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

In Long Range form, the MG 4 has a relatively large battery with a 61.7kWh usable capacity. The Funky Cat makes do with a much smaller, 45.4kWh battery – so it’s hardly surprising that it can’t travel as far between charges.

The difference might surprise you, though. Officially, the MG 4 can manage 270 miles on a fully charged battery, compared with 193 miles for the Funky Cat. And in our annual winter range test, the MG 4 managed 196 miles and the Funky Cat just 130 miles.

Okay, that’s still a better range than you’ll get from a Mini Electric and is enough if you’re just looking for an urban runabout – particularly if you have a second car for longer jaunts. But then you might expect to pay less money for something like that.

MG 4 EV cornering

It’s also disappointing that, despite being slightly smaller and lighter, the Funky Cat isn’t as efficient as the MG 4. It averaged just 2.9 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh) in our test, compared with 3.2 miles/kWh for the MG 4. That means you’ll be spending more on electricity for every mile you travel (more on that later).

On top of its longer range, the MG 4 trumps the Funky Cat when it comes to performance. The former has a 201bhp electric motor driving its rear wheels and can sprint from 0-60mph in a thrifty 7.4sec. The Funky Cat, on the other hand, has a 170bhp motor powering its front wheels and is good for a time of 8.4sec.

That’s still not bad, though – it’s way quicker than any Volkswagen Polo other than the hot GTI model, for example – and means you can get up to motorway speeds plenty quickly enough. And some better tyres would help the Funky Cat to get off the line better; it struggles for traction when pulling away quickly, especially in cold and damp conditions.

When it comes to slowing down again, both cars have regenerative braking – which all EVs use to recover energy under deceleration – and there are several settings to choose from. These also increase or decrease how quickly the car slows when you lift off the accelerator pedal. However, only the MG 4 has an adaptive function, which changes the braking strength automatically depending on your distance from the car in front and your closing speed.

New Ora Funky Cat cornering

Around town, both cars are fairly firmly sprung but do a decent job of soaking up the many lumps and bumps that you might encounter. Head out of town and you’ll notice a slight fidget in both cars, although this is more pronounced in the Funky Cat at higher speeds.

We’ve previously criticised the MG 4 for how much wind noise you hear at motorway speeds; on earlier test cars, it was almost as though there was something wrong with the door seals. This latest test car was much better, though – nowhere near as hushed as a Renault Megane E-Tech, for example, but not irritatingly rowdy, either. It’s certainly quieter than the Funky Cat, which generates more wind and road noise at both 30mph and 70mph.

Turn off the motorway and onto a winding country road and neither of these EVs is as much fun to drive as a Cupra Born. That said, the MG 4’s better body control pays dividends and means that it leans far less through corners than the Funky Cat. Its steering is also more direct and naturally weighted, making it easier to place the car where you want it through corners. The Funky Cat's steering is light and feels artificial, never giving you much information about how much grip the front wheels have. 

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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