Goodwood Test: Cupra Born 2022 Review

It certainly looks like a hot hatch...
06th October 2022
Ben Miles



Cupra is a name you will most likely know from the world of hot hatches. A sub-brand that has spent its entire existence making Seat’s smaller cars go much faster than originally intended. Now, though, Cupra is more than just a badge, it is a fully-fledged brand of its own. Ready to... well, make Seat’s cars go faster than originally intended.

So, the Cupra Born must be a really fast version of a Seat EV? To put it simply, no. There is no Seat Born, there is only the Volkswagen ID.3, and in the form we’re testing today the Born is no speedier than its VW cousin.

What is the point? Well, this is the upmarket version. Instead of being speedier, the Born goes for higher quality. A lofty ask when you’re taking on a German-made mid-level car. So can the Born hit such heights?

We like

  • Classy, high-tech interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Aggressive looks

We don't like

  • Lukewarm performance
  • Pricey
  • Fiddly touch contols



It starts well. The ID.3 looks like the designers really couldn’t be bothered when you compare it to the Born. Based on the fantastic El-Born concept the Born is almost unchanged from the version first shown in 2019. It has an incredibly aggressive face, the grille is dropped down to the very lowest possible point with an angry chin. That means the space where grille would normally be is free to hold a single design line, in which is inlayed the bronze word “Cupra” just below the equally bronze, spider-like badge.

The side profile is meaty, with the doors aggressively sculpted into dark lower sills. The c-pillar floats, thanks to a small black insert between roof and rear three-quarter panel. At the back the brake light runs across the car, just below a slim rear window and above another bronze Cupra badge. At the bottom is a diffuser – pointless – under a very angry looking rear bumper.

Does it look good? Yes, it might be the best-looking small EV on sale. Does it promise speed? Also yes, which might be the first place the Born falls down.

Performance and Handling


There are several potential powertrains for the Cupra Born, this particular one is the 204PS (150kW) rear-wheel-drive version. It has a reasonable 310Nm (228lb ft) which means the Born will hit 62mph in 7.3 seconds. Not exactly sluggish, but nothing world beating. The ID.3, for comparison, has the same stats.

However, despite not setting the world on fire in a straight line, the Cupra is somewhat engaging to drive. The steering is numb, but rapid and the rear-wheel-drive nature does allow for a modicum of adjustability with the throttle, especially in the wet.

That said, the Born does weigh, at minimum, 1,800kg, and the mass can be felt when you approach a corner. The brakes, balancing regen and braking, are reasonable, with very little of that horrible clunk that can come from the switch from one to the other, but they do feel like they are trying to reign in a lot of mass. The damping does well to try and hold everything together but if you do chuck the Born at a corner with a decent amount of steering lock you may find provoking a howl from the front rubber a little easier than anticipated.

The problem there is that the Cupra Born looks like it should move rapidly around country lanes, but where it is best is at a cruise. Leave everything alone and just go for a more gentle drive and it’s supremely comfortable. The damping is perfect for absorbing town and country noise as long as it’s not attempting to alleviate yaw too much.



This is where the Cupra Born really shines. The interior matches the outside in terms of both design quality and a sense of fun. While much of it retains the basic outline of the sister ID.3, gone are the rather tricky plastics and strangely empty feel of the VW, in their place come vegan leather and seats inlaid with bronze cut-throughs to match the badge. Even the centre console has gone from being a strangely low, small affair, to one that rises up to meet the central dash.

The negative is that the ID.3’s weird instruments are retained, a small screen behind the wheel, as well as the annoyingly placed drive selector to its right. But even the Born’s screen is larger and nicer to look at, although the fiddly touch-buttons on both wheel and below the screen remain to catch you out.

Rear leg room is good and the sports-style seats, although not exactly pinning you in, do provide some support. Even the door cards, with faux suede and patterned plastics, are an improvement over the Volkswagen.

Technology and Features


The dash is dominated by the 12-inch touchscreen, which controls absolutely everything and takes a slightly reskinned version of the current Volkswagen software. That’s not exactly an ideal start, but once you get used to it, it does work acceptably. The Hey Cupra voice recognition, while not as simple to use as some Google-based systems, is quite intuitive and isn’t restricted to a short list of standard commands. 

The touch buttons under the screen for the climate control remain irritating almost beyond belief and the touch buttons on the steering wheel at times just refuse to work.

That said, at least in this V3 spec, the Cupra is not short on tech. You can expect automatic windscreen wipers and lights, rear view camera, sports suspension, adaptive cruise control, speed limiter, lane assist, smartphone integration as standard. Stepping up to V3 adds the augmented head up display, heated seats and steering wheel, 20-inch alloys and massage function.

The 150kW Born comes with a 58kWh battery, which charges through the standard dual CCS charger. That means that if you can hunt down a 135kW charger you’ll be able to charge from five to 80 per cent in just 35 minutes. Charging at home from an 11kW charger will take six hours and 15 minutes and range is stated at around 260 miles, although you can probably expect 210 or so.



Don’t let the looks fool you, this is not a proper hot hatch, no fake diffuser is going to make 7.3 seconds and 1.8 tonnes feel massively sprightly. But, the Cupra is a very good electric family car and showcases all the things lacking in the ID.3.

Driving wise it can be fun, especially in the wet. The torque to the rear axle will definitely show itself if you demand everything before you’ve fully straightened up and with a reasonably quick rack the chassis feels like it would definitely be up for taking more power.

It is a shame the Cupra even tries to look anything like a hot hatch. The interior is absolutely excellent, comfortable and well-built and for town driving and cruising. It’s a brilliant first EV for any family. Perhaps the Born’s real issue is that at £38,390 it’s running some of the real stars of the EV world incredibly close in terms of price. Sadly, the drive is some way off the likes of the brilliant Kia EV6, but in terms of looks and comfort it runs everything else on offer very close. If we’re looking for a spacious family EV, the Born is on our list.


Powertrain Electric motor
Power 204PS (150kW) @ 4,900-8,000rpm
Torque 310Nm (229mb ft) @ 0-4,200rpm
Transmission Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 1,811kg
0-62mph 7.3 seconds
Top speed 99mph
Battery 58kWh
Range 264 miles
Price £38,390

Our score

4 / 5

This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.

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