Great Wall Motors from China is putting a lot of pressure on to get a foothold in the car market in Europe. To score points with electric cars in the motherland of the automobile is a prestige task and should put the traditional German brands under pressure. The Ora Funky Cat was already presented at the IAA 2021 in Munich and can now also be configured directly online. The future market is also being fiercely contested in Europe by suppliers from China. How can the Ora Cat convince?
At first glance, the Ora Cat with its somewhat chubby rear is reminiscent of the first electric cars in the compact class, but at second glance the organic shapes with the striking roof end have their own design language. Here I am, as a competitor to the ID.3, Model 3 or the new Mini with its own accents. At the latest when you have taken a seat, you can see the pairing of a dignified interior with well-made materials and the digital flair of departure with a clear division of the digital displays.
The Chinese group Great Wall Motors (GWM) is placing the first model on the German market with the still young Ora brand with the Funky Cat. The group, which is established in China, has a strong interest in gaining a foothold in the European market. The new platform for the Ora will also be used for the next generation of the all-electric Mini SE in cooperation with BMW. This vehicle is also manufactured exclusively in China.
Ora will be a competitor for some established Europeans with the Cat. The 4,24 m long Funky Cat looks small, but it is already a competitor for the ID.3, the Fiat 500, Opel Corsa or the new E-Renault 5.
Extensive equipment package
If you want to score points with this competition with a new model, you have to present yourself with convincing arguments. The Ora Cat 400 Pro+ is currently the highest quality equipment package. The warm-looking interior scores with vegan leather, a backlit information display and, in this equipment variant, with a panoramic sunroof for fresh air and plenty of light in the interior. GWM convinces with a very good processing quality and ergonomically shaped seats with an appealing lateral support and numerous adjustment options. The chrome-plated toggle switches for air conditioning and ventilation can be operated intuitively.
The digital passenger
A unique selling point is the avatar with its own name. The digital assistant is called up with Hey plus a name and appears as a little man on the display. In a dialogue he asks me about the wishes and settings of the car. As with all other digital voice assistants, it takes some getting used to. Clearly structured statements such as "Open sunroof" or "Switch on heated seats" are implemented correctly. When it comes to more complex requests or the search for navigation destinations, the limits are already recognizable.
But the assistant also takes over the complete driver monitoring. The driver is constantly checked by camera. As soon as you're not paying attention to the road, he reports and reminds me to check myself. Even with supposed collision warnings or apparently recognized mental absence, the admonishing voice resounds from the loudspeakers. According to the manufacturer, the system will be further refined in the next updates. Probably with the use of the AI a lot more can be expected in the next updates.
I think more subtle hints as with other manufacturers are sufficient. So you are more often annoyed while driving, like by an overly cautious digital passenger.
The model we tested uses a ternary lithium battery with NCM/NCA cell chemistry with a net capacity of 59,3 kWh (gross 63 kWh). The DC charging power is a maximum of 67 kW and therefore the charging time for the charging process from 15 to 80 percent is 48 minutes; AC charging with 11 kW is 6,5 hours. The competition with the current models is much better when it comes to loading times.
The electric motor with 126 kW/ 171 horsepower is a permanently excited synchronous motor. It ensures a lot of driving fun and fast driving in the city. The usual overtaking maneuvers from 80 to 120 km/h are carried out pithy. The low center of gravity, which is typical of electric cars, allows it to glide through corners without any major rolling movements.
Unfortunately, the control lever for the adaptive cruise control was placed behind the steering wheel under the indicator lever, completely out of sight. This is not user-friendly and requires unnecessary fiddling behind the steering wheel, especially when used at higher speeds. If it is activated, it will hold Safety distance automatically and stays on track. However, it takes over the speed limits and so adjustments must be made accordingly.
Anyone who invests a little more time can configure all the essential assistants to their own taste and log in to the central information display with their own smartphone. After the first rides, you can select or deselect the assistants that are important to you personally.
The trunk is small at 228 liters and the high loading sill is impractical when stowing the purchases. The volume can be quickly expanded to up to 858 liters using the divisible rear seat.
security and guarantees
When it comes to safety, the Funky Cat with the highest equipment package received all five stars in the 2022 Euro NCAP crash test. Seven airbags, emergency call triggering and door unlocking contribute to crash safety. The vehicle comes with a 5-year unlimited mileage guarantee and an 8-year guarantee for up to 160.000 kilometers on the drive battery.
The Funky Cat has some individual approaches and conveys good agility in everyday life and exudes its own charm. The consumption values during our test drives in summer are between 15 and 19 kWh per 100 kilometers in short trips and city traffic. On the highway when driving quickly, it is over 20 kWh. That is appropriate and so we were over 300 kilometers in real ranges.
If you opt for the Funky Cat, you will receive a fully equipped car with the richly equipped version 400 Pro+ for the list price of 47.490 euros (August 2023). Range, driving pleasure and the very good workmanship offer an attractive vehicle in this vehicle segment. Fine adjustments should still be made with the announced updates in everyday digital life for the areas of infotainment, driver monitoring and the digital assistant.
- Jeep Avenger Altitude Electric – the flexible outdoor SUV - December 1, 2023
- Ora Funky Cat 400 Pro+ - The Purring Cat - December 1, 2023
- Minus 8 degrees, 15 cm of fresh snow - VW ID.4 Pro in the winter test - November 30th 2023