The HEAVY hot hatch? | Cupra Born review

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Published on 5 Aug 2022, 16:07
The Cupra Born provides a taste of future electric hot hatches, but is it any good?

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There was a time when SEAT was known as the sporty spin-off marque of the Volkswagen Group, offering buyers a taste of VW build quality, onboard tech and engine performance at a more affordable price. But, with the Spanish manufacturer now focusing on a more mainstream lineup that includes a raft of family SUVs, its Cupra sub-brand (now a standalone concern) has taken up the mantle of producing cars that deliver a sense of sportiness and driving fun.

After sprinkling its engineering knowhow on rebranded versions of the Leon hatchback and Ateca SUV, Cupra launched its first all-new model, the Formentor coupe-SUV, in 2020. Featuring strong petrol and plug-in hybrid engines (some with more than 300bhp), it was an impressive debut, and Cupra is now underway with expanding its lineup.

The all-electric Born hatchback is the first of a number of electrified models that Cupra will launch over the next few years; the Terramar plug-in hybrid SUV, all-electric Tavascan SUV and Urban Rebel electric city car are all due by 2025.

The Born’s sporty character will rival everything from the mechanically similar Volkswagen ID.3 to the Tesla Model 3, while its practical five-door hatchback body style gives it an advantage over smaller EV hatches such as the MINI Electric and Renault Zoe which offer less space and are not that much cheaper to buy. But can the Cupra live up to its sporty badge, despite weighing 1,735kg? Nicola Hume finds out.

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