IT was back in 2019 that we first caught a glimpse of the CUPRA Born when it was shown in concept form and called the Seat el Born.
Fast forward a few years and the Born has arrived. It's now under the new CUPRA badging - the sporting arm of Seat - and it is the marque's first fully electrified car.
There's a choice of three powertrains - a 58kWh 204ps, 58kWh 230ps e-Boost and a 77kWh 230ps e-Boost with an EV driving range of up to 261, 264 or 340 miles depending on the model. And there are also three well-equipped trim levels called V1, V2 and V3.
We opted for the CUPRA Born in top V3 specification, costing £38,390 and powered by the smaller 58kWh 204ps battery. With 310Nm of torque, this five-door, rear-wheel drive car can reach from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and maxes out at 99mph.
The CUPRA Born is certainly a head-turner with a sportier profile than the VW ID.3 with which it shares a platform. It features dynamic lines, dark tinted rear windows, a light bar at the rear connecting the lights, lots of copper-coloured trim, sweeping light clusters, plus 20-inch alloys to complete the strong styling.
Move inside and the interior is very upmarket and minimalist in its layout. A smart 12-inch touchscreen is the nerve centre and is the access point to the navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, audio, climate control and plenty more besides.
A small 5.3-inch digital display offers information about the remaining driving range, battery charge level, gear selector and speed. And there is also a head-up display which is another convenient feature.
Comfort levels are sublime with sports seats that are heated, 12-way power adjustable and even have a massage function, and the cabin is exquisitely designed with neat copper stitching to the dashboard, steering wheel and seats, along with copper trim on the air vents, doors and centre console. Even the CUPRA logo on the steering wheel is copper-coloured.
Like almost every EV, the Born is quick out the starting blocks with instant power at your disposal and good acceleration through the single-speed automatic transmission. It quickly reaches the 70mph cruising limit on motorways, but offers edgier handling through the country lanes with great grip and balance.
Drive modes called Range, Comfort, Performance and Individual alter the reactions of the car and there is a B mode that increases the strength of the regenerative braking. Single pedal driving is not quite achievable but it gets very close.
The handling is crisp with well weighted steering and cabin space also impresses inside the Born. Two adults can sit one behind the other provided the front seats are not pushed right back and a trio of youngsters will fit easily in the back.
The boot can swallow 385 litres of kit, a capacity that increases further with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Up front, a cover slides back in the centre console to offer access to a very deep tray and double cup holders. And for convenience, there is a wireless charging pad, glovebox, seat back pockets, practical door bins with a bottle holder, a cubby box, and two additional cup holders in the fold-down rear central armrest.
Charging the battery from 0 to 100 per cent takes six hours, 15 minutes via an AC 11kW point or just 35 minutes from five to 80 per cent on a DC 135kW charger.