First drive: Review of the GWM ORA Funky Cat?

One would not immediately think of “a sense of ORA  humor” as a tool that the more robust Chinese auto sector can use to break into the European market. Yet so, here we are, with Great Wall Motor’s electrified sub-brand ORA going all out for hearts and minds with a peculiar blend of vintage style and zany branding that appears to have gone down a storm even before the Funky Cat has found its first client. While it may appear like a novelty at first glance, the Funky Cat is really a standard electric hatchback, with a price and specification that place it squarely in the center of the fiercely competitive small EV market.

The Funky Cat, like the Honda E

The Funky Cat, like the Honda E, is more like the size of a Nissan Leaf or even a Volkswagen ID.3 on the road, and it has comparable performance and range. The price is still reasonable, but it’s not as low as the initial publicity made it seem like it would be, so the product needs to work harder to win over customers. The innocent, wide-eyed gaze, curving contours, and nostalgic sweetness of the Funky Cat are instantly endearing. If you want to be kind, you could say it’s a Chinese take on the Japanese vintage kitsch Nissan successfully capitalized on with vehicles like the Figaro and Pao a few years ago. Be wary of wishing for too much, however, since the frenzy also brought us the bizarre Mitsouka Viewt, which clearly inspired by the Mk2 Jaguar.

The vehicle confirmed for European

GWM Ora, however, has inundated with interest ever since the vehicle confirmed for European sale, and the company even asked the 8,000 or so individuals on its email roster to vote on the color combinations they wished to see made available for sale. There are more subdued black and pastel green options with monochrome interiors, as well as bolder color combinations like red and green. Considering electrification’s potential to give automobiles a new, dynamic appearance, the industry’s reluctance to pursue this avenue unexpected; the positive reception given to the Funky Cat demonstrates that consumers are more receptive to novel concepts than many established brands may believe.

Effectiveness and Control

When pitted against its more apparent competitors, the Funky Cat’s 171PS (126kW) engine powering the front wheels is competitive. There is not much of drift hunters a discrepancy in the kerb weight, acceleration, and max speed from what is typical for the category. The 48kWh battery pack is also average, with a stated range of around 190 miles. In the near future, a 63 kWh battery option will be available. There aren’t any big surprises behind the wheel, since GWM’s partnership with BMW and its R&D center in Munich have unmistakably shaped its Euro-friendly architecture. For an unknown quantity like ORA, “good enough” might sound damning with scant praise; but, the Funky Cat does that electric thing of easy acceleration coupled with a favorable center of gravity to aid in the corners, so this is really a solid result. Some tire noise and unexpected wheelspin under hard acceleration on a wet surface persist as reminders that the car is not quite perfect.

The more involved EV driver trying to maximize economy,

For the more involved EV driver trying to maximize economy, the regenerative braking options buried in a finicky touchscreen menu; paddles or a simple “B” mode on the gear selector would far more convenient. Even if a black inside is an option, the two-tone choice appears essential to the positive emotions the automobile aspires to elicit. The imitation leather seats, quilted door cards, and carefully stitched cloth on the dashtop all contribute to the air of luxury. When you scratch the surface, you’ll find a lot of hard, cream-colored plastic, but there are no annoying rattles or squeaks that detract from the overall sense of high quality. While the cabin is generously proportioned because to the vehicle’s long wheelbase, high roof, and flat floor, the trunk disappointingly short and has an oddly curved rear end. In this respect, it is not as ineffective as a Honda E. It would be more practical to have something more like to a Nissan Leaf or a Corsa-e.

Inventions and Tools

The First Edition Funky Cat’s metallic paint is the sole extra expense, but the abundance of other cool features more than makes up for the price. With the Funky Cat, ORA is betting the company on the type of app-supported, connected ownership experience that today’s electric vehicle consumers have come to anticipate. With an over-the-air upgrade scheduled for next year, this expected to implemented, but only if you don’t plan on using CarPlay. There are two 10.25-inch displays, one for entertainment in the center of the dashboard and the other for your instruments behind the wheel. Four tactile toggle switches provide quick access to heating and demisting functions. Fairly typical for the modern period, and the polish shows how seriously Chinese companies and consumers take their electronics. However, the user interface is clumsy, with small symbols that stray fingertips may miss and a complicated menu structure that makes VW’s widely criticized ID family infotainment system seem like a bastion of UX purity.

The company get the five-star NCAP

Although if ORA comprehensive suite of ADAS helps the company get the five-star NCAP rating it needs to seem legitimate to European purchasers, the company’s actual operation leaves much to desired. The repeated corrections to the wheel from the ‘Emergency Steering Function”s aggravating ‘false positives’ were particularly distracting. It is missing the point somewhat. While drivers who used to facial recognition software on their phones are likely to less concerned about having the same technology installed in their cars, the mere thought of having a camera pointed directly at our faces as we drove, analyzing our every expression and urging us to pull over if we so much as yawned while behind the wheel, would have us reaching for the electrical tape in the first few hours of ownership.  

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