What is it
Here we have the CUPRA Born e-Boost model. We’ve not done a review for a while and the last car was the CUPRA Born V3 (150kW/204PS). The e-Boost model we have for this review has an extra 26HP. The V3 whilst down on power has more kit than this model but comes at quite an increased cost as a result. The e-Boost we have here is Vapor Grey and costs £38,185 (at the time of review) and includes the optional Tech Pack which makes up £740 of that total.
This will be a shorter review than usual as the car isn’t vastly different from the previously reviewed model and we have made references back to that review in this one where appropriate.
CUPRA’s warm hatch won’t set your world on fire, but it’s fun to drive, comfortable when cruising and about town. Range is ok but suffers as expected in cold weather. Is the e-Boost worth the extra cash for 26HP? We suggest driving both back to back to make your mind up.
What we liked
- Good looking
- Comfortable seats
- Physical CUPRA Button
What we didn’t like
- Mirror controls
As the risk of sounding lazy I won’t repeat the details of the exterior of the car from the previous review of the V3. The only exterior difference you would notice is the wheels. The V3 has 20″ ‘Hurricane’ machined aero wheels and this e-Boost V2 has 19″ ‘Typhoon’ alloy wheels. If you’d like to read more about the exterior check out the other review.
I will mention the colour though. I really liked the Vapor Grey this car came in. I think I preferred it to the white as it’s just a bit different. I’d be happy with either though. I still think the blue or red would be my choice if I was in the market for one.
Again, the interior is very similar to the V3. The V2 gets the following included over the V1. Heated leather steering wheel with the CUPRA button. Heated front seats, rear tinted windows, and the head up display. What you are missing out from the V3 is different seat design, 12-way electrical adjustability, lumbar adjustability, and the massage function. Cosmetically the interior is largely the same. You know the score, if you want more detail, check out the review of the V3.
So, the main reason you may be reading this review and comparing to the other models is the addition of what CUPRA call “e-Boost”.
There are three ways to activate e-Boost on the car. Firstly, you can choose it from the CUPRA Drive profile which is just not practical. Secondly you can use the CUPRA button on the steering wheel. Finally, you can press right down on the accelerator which has a second stage you can depress. The latter is the way I triggered it. I confess I didn’t know about the other two options until I read the brochure after handing the car back.
The brochure describes the e-Boost as offering “unbridled performance”. So, when I put my foot down, I did feel a huge surge of power and get thrown into the back of my seat? Erm, sadly not. It just felt “fine”. Now it has been a good few months since I drove the non-e-Boost model so I’m unable to do a direct comparison. I’m sure I would have noticed more of a difference driving them back-to-back as we’re talking about an extra 26HP. Overall though my feeling would be you can take it or leave it. This is no hot hatch and the acceleration and performance is good enough for most people.
This model has the smaller battery. The e-Boost is available with the larger 77 kWh battery which adds 112KG and will of course affect performance to some degree.
On The Road
The Born has plenty of acceleration for day-to-day driving. This includes motorways with enough grunt for easy overtaking or getting up to speed on the slip road.
It is very comfortable cruising along and handles potholes and our great British Roads well.
At low speed when coming to a stop sometimes the brakes make a weird but brief grinding sound which is a bit disconcerting. I’m not the only reviewer to notice this so unless the other publications had the same press car, I suspect it’s not a one off.
Handling wise the car was fine and quite good fun. Don’t just don’t go in expecting hot hatch levels of enjoyment and you won’t be disappointed.
In terms of range, I was a bit surprised at how quickly the battery level dropped. However, I’ll cut it some slack as it was particularly cold while I had the car and I know that can affect the battery. In addition, I was using the heated seats and steering wheel at times and the climate control would have been working harder to keep the cabin warm.
Infotainment while driving. No surprises it is frustrating. At least with this one you get the CUPRA button so you can change drive mode without having to faff with the infotainment system.
The car turned a few heads as it is a good-looking car, and you still don’t see that many on the road yet (well in my area at least).
The Born is enjoyable to drive and I would happily have one as my everyday car. For 99% of drivers, it is a safe bet. It won’t set your world on fire but is enjoyable enough to drive. I’m still in the camp of electric cars being somewhat of a novelty as I don’t own one yet. I do like the idea of not destroying the environment whilst sat with the heating on while the windows clear on a frosty morning. Also, the smooth acceleration without gear changes is quite addictive.
Is it worth £38,185? That’s for you to decide we don’t compare to other manufacturers here.
Let’s hope CUPRA make a more extreme version with over 300HP, that would be interesting (but unlikely).