GWM ORA Funky Cat review


What is it?

That’s a question you’ll find yourself being asked on a regular basis if you drive an Ora Funky Cat, and once you’ve informed the asker of the full name it’s usually followed up by another. Although the second question is often along the lines of ‘are you having me on?’

So, it is actually called the Funky Cat?

It really is. In China this car is called the Good Cat, while the other cars in Ora’s range are known as the Black Cat and the White Cat (both are small electric city cars). Fans of political quotations may recognise the naming strategy from former paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China Deng Xiaoping’s 1960s quip: “No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.” Niche.

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However, the brand’s European head office in Munich decided that Good Cat didn’t really work on our shores, so for reasons known only to them it is now called the Funky Cat.

The brand in question is of course Ora (which apparently stands for ‘open, reliable and alternative’). It’s new to the UK but has been building electric cars in China since 2018. Oh, and its parent company is the giant that is the Great Wall Motor group.

Ora sits alongside Haval, Wey, GWM and Tank as brands owned by the overlord, and a few years ago it signed a joint venture agreement with BMW for the “development and production of electric vehicles in China”. That means that much of the Funky Cat’s underpinnings could make their way into future electric Minis. 

Tell me more about the car, then…

Well, from the outside it rather looks like a mashup of a number of different designs. There’s more than a hint of bloated Mini about it and there’s definitely some K12 Nissan Micra vibes too. Heck, even the Porsche 911 could have been an influence on Ora’s designers if you really squint.

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But essentially what has come out in the wash is a Volkswagen ID.3-sized five-door hatch with a small boot but decent space for rear seat passengers. There’s a fancy interior too with two 10.25-inch screens, but you can read more on that by clicking on the ‘Interior’ tab of this review.

How far can it go on a charge?

Great question. The Funky Cat gets a relatively small 48kWh battery which makes for a WLTP range of 193 miles. 

What will it cost me?

Well, it’s not as cheap as the other Chinese electric hatchback on sale in the UK today, that’s for sure. Whereas the MG4 starts at £26,995, the Funky Cat will set you back £31,995 before any options.

Our choice from the range

GWM ORA126KW First Edition 48KWH 5DR Auto£31,940

What’s the verdict?

Interesting to look at and to explain to your friends, but the Funky Cat is let down by some fundamental issues

It’s an intriguing proposition, the Funky Cat. The cutesy retro design will no doubt win it some fans and it’s certainly more interesting to look at than rival electric hatches like the ID.3 and MG4, but Ora will have to hope that those same folk who love the pumped-up Mini aesthetic aren’t too bothered about the clunky, disconnected driving experience.

The substance just isn’t there to back up the style at the moment, and it’s let down by simple mistakes like the lack of heated seats, the small luggage space and the fact that there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto just yet, although we’re assured that the latter will be sorted soon.

Still, overall it’s a decent, tech-filled first attempt from a young carmaker and the ability to deliver one to your door in as little as three weeks will be a big selling point. There’s also rumours of a larger 63kWh battery option potentially arriving in the UK at some point in the near future, which would be a welcome addition to solve the current range issues.

The Rivals

Mini Electric

£10,342 £36,420

MG Motor UK MG4

£28,440 £31,440

Volkswagen ID.3

£29,565 £40,495

Continue reading: Driving

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