Road test: CUPRA Born
In our not-so-distant past, the concept of driving an all-electric vehicle to the end of the road in Australia produced ‘range anxiety’. Driving from Hobart to Cockle Creek powered by battery alone proved a very different mission in the new CUPRA Born.
We sink into the space-age cockpit, and it lights up to greet us. I feel like I’m at the helm of an aircraft, the signature copper of CUPRA’s badge glowing large from the touchscreen. Accents of coppery textures whisper style – not overdone but very much a statement. Copper stitching meets refined interior touches that celebrate what this VW Group-owned Spanish car-maker vehicle is known for: a commitment to design, the environment and individualism. It’s a good-looking car, disrupting the norm with its youthful and vibrant feels.
“Even the showroom is like nothing we’ve seen here in Australia and we’ll soon have ours ready,” smiles the sales representative during handover of keys. “Born only launched in May 2023 and is turning heads for its bespoke touches, heavy design focus and range of up to 511km.”
Having driven electric cars across Tasmania in the past, I understand that range anxiety is real. When it’s dark and there’s uncertainty around making it to the next highway-side plug, it does tend to make one grip the steering wheel a little harder.
With the CUPRA Born on full charge, I feel fully at ease. My photographer mate Stu pops his gear in the generously sized boot and we’re buried in fog shortly after leaving the city.
My only reason for grabbing the steering wheel tightly on this trip is because I’ve set its heating on high to counteract the chilly zero-degree weather outside.
When we pull up in Geeveston to check out the charging situation, a friendly traveller topping up his own vehicle gets terribly excited about our CUPRA. In dashing red, we make quite an entrance. Knowing that this enthusiast could swallow our entire morning gushing over our Dynamic Chassis Control driveability, Performance Package alloy wheels and all manner of CUPRA touches, we bid a quick farewell.
We take a detour at Southport (because we can hit the indicator with our bold range!) to cruise alongside old-school shacks that still line the beachfront. The road hugs the shores in these parts, with crashing waves just metres from my window.
Back on course, we dodge a few potholes as bitumen turns to gravel. We’re drawing close to Cockle Creek, where bushwalkers start or finish the epic South Coast Track.
I kick off my boots and walk the cool sands of Cockle Creek beside terrifically clear blue water. Interestingly, CUPRA is fighting plastic pollution in partnership with Seaqual, with the Born’s bucket seats made from a recycled polymer fibre fabric derived from plastic waste from the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. It’s fitting to consider the car maker’s environmental focus at this Tassie outpost.
As we venture back to Hobart, we pull into Lunaris Gemstones near the Lune River where owner Boris has been hunting gems since the 1960s and sharing them at Salamanca Market for a quarter of a century. In stark contrast to a CUPRA Born, just been born, we’re thrown into a world where Boris points out Jurassic-era 182-million-year-old tree fern fossils. I pull back a curtain to reveal fluorescent fossils and Stu gathers a series of mega-fascinating rocks for his fossil-loving son and promises to return for some family riverside hunting.
We find that Masaaki doesn’t have his fine sushi available for late lunch back in Geeveston, but the award-winning steak and cheese pie at the local bakery (made onsite like everything else) hits the spot.
From old to new, from remote to the bustling CBD, it’s a colourful day out with CUPRA and Stu.
We’ve laughed, we’ve walked beaches, we’ve met locals and we’ve rolled back into town with plenty of range. We give the CUPRA a quick hose down, guilty there’s a shade of coppery dust blanketing a once-radiant red.
Then again, the copper badge seemed to suit a dusting of Tassie copper, proving that the Born is up for some of Tassie’s most remote quests.
Pricing: $67,090 drive away
Body style: Hatchback
Seating: Demonstrator vehicle is four seats, however a five seater is available
Engine consumption: 18.2kWh for demonstrator vehicle
Safety: 5 Star ANCAP Rating
Engine type: Electric
Battery: 82 kWh
Charging/plug: CCS Type 2, AC 11kW, DC 170kW
Range: 475kms demonstrator vehicle, 511kms standard
Drive type: RWD
Max. power: 170kW
Max. torque: 310
0-100km/h: 7.0 seconds