1 / 10
- Launched: 2022
- Family hatch
- Excellent value for money
- Interior is bright and cheerful
- So is the exterior
- An MG4 or Cupra Born is more fun to drive
- Boot is pretty small
- No heated seats
On the inside
Cost to run
Prices and Specs
Overall verdict on the Ora Funky Cat
"Weird name aside, the Ora Funky Cat is actually a really likeable electric car. We love its cutesy looks and cheerful interior, while it also strikes us as excellent value for money. This could well be the electric car that, er, sets the cat among the pigeons..."
What exactly is the Ora Funky Cat? Well, it's made by Great Wall Motors - the Chinese automotive giant that has largely stayed away from the European market (apart from the Great Wall Steed pick-up truck... the less said about that, the better). Ora is Great Wall's electric car subdivision, while the Funky Cat (also known as the Good Cat in other markets) is its electric family hatchback.
Ora says the Funky Cat will be tempting buyers away from models like the Cupra Born, Renault Megane E-Tech, Volkswagen ID.3 and Hyundai Kona Electric. The MG4 is curiously missing from that list but we reckon it's the Funky Cat's closest direct competitor - not least because it's also a cut-price Chinese electric hatchback. The ageing Nissan Leaf will probably be on your radar, too, while the Ora Funky Cat's low starting price (£31,995 in the UK) means it could also be compared with smaller electric cars.
It certainly looks quirky enough to tempt buyers away from the MINI Electric and Fiat 500, while its friendly front end is much less aggressive than the MG4's. You can decide for yourself whether you like how it looks from the rear, but the light bar running along the width of the rear windscreen does some pretty cool stunts when you unlock the car.
The Funky Cat line-up will initially be pretty limited, with just a single First Edition model available in a choice of four colour combinations. We'd encourage you to go for one of the bolder colour schemes with a two-tone interior... while they won't be to everyone's taste, they certainly add to the Ora Funky Cat's sense of fun.
The interior feels pretty special, in fact, especially when you consider the Funky Cat's relatively affordable price tag. You get retro quilted fabric on the doors, a fabric-covered dash and two digital screens side-by-side acting as the central infotainment display and a digital instrument cluster. These look sharp and are easy to use, while shouting 'hello Ora' also summons a useful (if a bit gimmicky) virtual assistant.
It's relatively spacious, too, with loads of headroom and legroom (even in the back). That does come at the expense of boot space, though, while a high load lip will also get in the way when loading heavy or bulky items.
Although bigger battery versions are expected, the Ora Funky Cat First Edition comes with a 48kWh battery which provides a range of up to 193 miles. That's less than an entry-level Volkswagen ID.3 or MG4, but still a much more useable distance than a Mazda MX-30 or Honda E. Charging (from 15 to 80%) takes around five and a half hours using a home charger or 45 minutes using a public rapid charger.
A single electric motor drives the front wheels and, while we're used to punchy acceleration from electric cars, the Funky Cat actually feels pretty timid. It builds speed quite gently, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, although it doesn't take much to cause the front wheels to spin up. The slow, light steering is a bit of a faff at town speeds and doesn't provide confidence at higher speeds, either, while refinement isn't quite as impressive as more expensive electric vehicles.
There's a long list of driver assist and safety features fitted as standard to the Funky Cat. One of the most innovative is a camera which watches the driver and is keen to tell you off if you're not paying sufficient attention or appear tired. This also doubles up as a facial recognition system which can adjust things like the electric seats and entertainment to your tastes - great if you regularly share your car with other drivers.
The Ora Funky Cat performed very well in Euro NCAP crash tests, which should help provide a little reassurance about buying an electric car from a brand that's relatively unknown in Europe. A long warranty helps here, too, as does long service intervals.
Is the Ora Funky Cat right for you?
The first question should be... 'are you happy driving a car called the Funky Cat'? It won't appeal to everyone, but the Ora Funky Cat certainly has loads of charm and charisma that's lacking in some electric vehicles - certainly at the budget end of the market. You get more physical car for your money than in a MINI Electric, while the bold cabin is infinitely nicer than a Nissan Leaf's. The Cupra Born and MG4 are both more enjoyable to drive, while the Renault Megane E-Tech feels posher and more spacious inside. The Ora Funky Cat certainly has a distinct appeal, while its affordable price tag, generous equipment levels (heated seats aside) and impressive safety record makes it an easy choice to justify.
What’s the best Ora Funky Cat model/engine to choose?
There's only one for now: the Ora Funky Cat First Edition. You can choose from four colour combinations - Aurora Green with a Moonlight White roof, Mars Red with a Starry Black roof, Nebula Green and Starry Black. Picking between these comes down to personal preference, although we quite like the bolder interior colour schemes of the Aurora Green and Mars Red models.
What other cars are similar to the Ora Funky Cat?
The obvious competitor for the Ora Funky Cat is the MG4 - another Chinese-built electric family hatchback that represents excellent value for money. We'd argue that the Ora Funky Cat has a more likeable design and brighter interior than the MG, but the 4 pips it in terms of range and driver enjoyment.
Other electric hatches that the Ora Funky Cat will be up against include the ever-popular Nissan Leaf, the Volkswagen ID.3 and the Cupra Born. You might also be considering smaller (but similarly priced) electric cars like the Fiat 500 Electric, Honda E and MINI Electric.
Comfort and design: Ora Funky Cat interior
"The Ora Funky Cat is available in a choice of four colour combinations. Two of those come with sensible black interiors, while the other two are sold with bright (maybe even garish) colour schemes that are pretty unique in the market."
The Funky Cat's interior lives up to the car's name - it's certainly more interesting that the cabin of, say, an MG4. You get a centre console with a toggle for selecting drive (this starts the car, too), while there's a dual-screen infotainment setup high up on the dashboard.
The dual-colour interior of our test car won't be to everyone's taste but we think it adds to the Funky Cat's fun factor (try saying that quickly). It takes a retro approach, similar to the MINI Electric, with toggles that act as shortcut buttons for the climate control (something that's seriously lacking in the Volkswagen ID.3).
The Ora Funky Cat First Edition is generally well equipped, with things like a reversing camera, wireless charging and a 10.25-inch navigation system as standard. Curiously, the Funky Cat isn't offered with heated seats, which feels like quite a significant oversight, while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay won't be fitted to early cars (although will be offered via an over-the-air update at a later date).
Quality and finish
This is an area in which the brand has clearly concentrated on in order to convince buyers that the Ora Funky Cat isn't just another cheap Chinese electric car. From the doors that close with a satisfying 'thunk' to the plush materials in the cabin, it actually feels a step above the highly-rated MG4 in terms of quality.
You will find a few flimsy finishes if you look for them, though. The glove box, for example, feels a bit insubstantial, while the lower half of the dashboard is rock-hard. These don't really detract from the overall quality feel of the Funky Cat's interior, though.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Ora Funky Cat
The Ora Funky Cat comes with an impressive dual-screen infotainment layout, consisting of a 10.25-inch central navigation display alongside another 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster.
It's a lot slicker than you might expect from a budget Chinese-built electric car. The graphics are sharp, it's generally quick to respond and the menus are laid out in a user-friendly way. We have a few gripes, though - the first is that it's very high up on the dashboard which makes it awkward to use on the move... although you do at least get physical toggle buttons below the screen which act as shortcuts for the climate control.
Another gripe is the navigation system itself, which is a bit awkward to follow at complicated junctions. Normally we'd recommend bypassing the in-built sat-nav and using Google Maps via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but they're not actually available just yet. They are coming, we're told, and will be offered to existing Funky Cat owners via a free over-the-air update in 2023.
One of the Funky Cat's party pieces is the voice-activated personal assistant, which springs to life when you say the words 'hello Ora'. It's a bit gimmicky but quite cool in that it can tell where you're sitting - tell it to open the window, for example, and it'll know which window to open.
If you want to check on your Funky Cat remotely, you'll be able to do so via the brand's smartphone app. This'll let you check things like the charging status of the car, while you can lock and unlock it remotely and - usefully - adjust the temperature of the climate control. The latter is very appealing on a cold day, especially as you can warm the cabin while the car's on charge - saving important battery capacity on your journey.
Space and practicality: Ora Funky Cat boot space
The Ora Funky Cat might look like a small city car in the pictures, but it's bigger than you'd think. It measures 4235mm in length, 1825mm in height and 1603mm in width - about the same footprint as a Volkswagen Golf, or rivals like the Renault Megane E-Tech, Cupra Born and Hyundai Kona Electric.
That doesn't translate into a big boot, unfortunately. The Ora Funky Cat can carry just 228 litres of luggage, which is pretty poor alongside those cars mentioned above - but competitive against smaller models like the MINI Electric and Fiat 500 Electric. Access is hindered by the high rear bumper line, too, which makes it difficult for lifting luggage over.
You do get a small amount of space under the boot floor (you could squeeze a charging cable there while there's a tyre repair kit, too - but no room for a spare wheel). If you need more boot space, the rear seats can be dropped to provide up to 858 litres of luggage.
The Ora Funky Cat does a better job of transporting passengers, though. There's loads of headroom in the back, while it feels quite light and airy back there. You get a reasonable amount of knee room and you could fit a third person in the middle seat, if you wish - although it is a bit narrow, and there is a (small) lump in the floor where their feet would be.
The front feels spacious, too, although you obviously don't sit as high as you would in SUV alternatives like the Kia Niro EV or MG ZS EV. The glove box is quite small, as are the door bins and the little cubby under the central armrest. You do get a useful tray for storing your mobile phone (with wireless charging) as well as a wireless key charger at the base of the centre console.
Handling and ride quality: What is the Ora Funky Cat like to drive?
"The Ora Funky Cat has apparently been fine tuned for European roads but you'd struggle to tell. It crashes over broken road surfaces while the slow, overly assisted steering is neither fun nor confidence inspiring."
While rivals like the MG4 and Cupra Born send power to the rear wheels, the Ora Funky Cat is a more conventional front-wheel-drive hatchback. That means the front wheels have to cope with both putting down power and going around corners... and, even with the Funky Cat's fairly modest power output, they struggle to do that.
Even on a dry day, we found that the front wheels would noisily lose traction when attempting a quick getaway from a junction or if you hit the accelerator too soon heading out of a roundabout. We'd only imagine the issue would be compounded in the wet.
An advantage of rear-wheel-drive electric cars is that most allow the front wheels to turn at a greater angle, reducing the turning circle and aiding tight turns in city centres. The Funky Cat needs more room than you might expect to complete a 360-degree turn.
The slow steering is frustrating, too, as you have to wind a huge amount of lock on to turn the wheels. On the plus side, that means it doesn't feel particularly jittery at motorway speeds, although the extremely light steering does take a little getting used to here.
Ora claims the Funky Cat is capable of one-pedal driving but, even though there is adjustable regenerative braking, it's not as severe as in other electric cars. You can crank it up so that the car slows down (using the electric motor) as soon as you lift off the accelerator, but it won't bring it to a complete stop and you'll have to use the brakes more than you would in a Nissan Leaf.
What motors and batteries are available in the Ora Funky Cat?
In the first instance, the Ora Funky Cat is only available with a relatively small 48kWh battery powering a single electric motor which drives the front wheels.
With a relatively modest 171PS and 250Nm of torque, it's not as rapid as a lot of electric vehicles. As we touched on above, there's enough grunt to overwhelm the front wheels, though, so be prepared for the wheels to spin if you're heavy with the accelerator pedal in slippery conditions.
Officially, the Ora Funky Cat accelerates to 62mph in 8.2 seconds. That's a fraction slower than an MG4 (which takes between 7.7 seconds and 7.9 seconds depending on which model you choose), and almost a second slower than the entry-level Cupra Born.
If you're not used to an electric car, though, that reduced power isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's unintimidating to drive and, with instant responses and no gear changes, it'll still make a hasty getaway when required.
Maximum electric range in the Ora Funky Cat
That 48kWh battery we mentioned above provides an official range of up to 193 miles. Most rivals will comfortably cover more than 200 miles between charges so, if you're regularly covering a lot of miles in one hit, you might want to look elsewhere.
That said, 193 miles will be more than enough for a lot of drivers - particularly if you've got a short commute or are looking for a second car. There's a lot to be said for the 'right sizing' philosophy that Mazda follows with its MX-30 (which has a range of just 124 miles) - essentially, there's no point paying for (and carrying around) a big, heavy battery pack if you're not going to need it.
If you do want a Ora Funky Cat with a bigger battery, it is offered in China with a 59kWh battery, while the sporty Funky Cat GT gets a 63kWh battery. The brand is yet to confirm whether the bigger batteries will come to Europe.
Refinement and noise levels
Refinement is one of those areas in which you can really tell the Ora Funky Cat is a budget electric car. There's a considerable amount of roar from the tyres at higher speeds while, around town, you'll notice a distinctive whine from the electric motor.
Safety equipment: How safe is the Ora Funky Cat?
You might expect a Chinese-built budget electric car to scrimp on safety, but that's certainly not the case with the Ora Funky Cat. It's actually been crash tested by independent crash test experts Euro NCAP and it performed very well indeed - achieving a score of five out of five overall. It performed well across the board too, including 93% for its safety assist features (will come onto those in a moment) as well as 92% for adult occupants and 83% for child occupants.
While the usual myriad of airbags and crumple zones will protect you in a crash, the Ora Funky Cat First Edition comes with a long list of driver-assistance tech to reduce the chances of you being involved in a collision in the first instance. Standard kit includes Lane Keep Assist (which'll nudge the steering to keep you in your lane), an Auto Emergency Braking system which can detect pedestrians and cyclists (as well as other cars) and a Rear Cross Traffic Alert feature that can apply the brakes if it detects an approaching vehicle when you're reversing out of a parking space or driveway.
The Ora Funky Cat even comes with cameras directed at the driver which will alert you to pay more attention if necessary, or take a break if it thinks you're tired.
Charging times: How much does it cost to charge the Ora Funky Cat?
"The Ora Funky Cat has a maximum charging rate of 64kW, which means it'll be slower to boost the battery at a public rapid charger than an MG4 or Volkswagen ID.3."
It'll still charge from 0-80% in less than 45 minutes, though, which isn't an irritatingly long time to wait at a public rapid charger (assuming there's a handy coffee shop nearby).
The easiest way to charge the Funky Cat will be by plugging it in overnight. A 7kW charger will top up the battery from 15 to 80% in around five and a half hours. If you haven't got a dedicated electric car charger, we'd recommend investing in one, although a three-pin domestic charging cable is included.
How reliable is an Ora Funky Cat?
Who knows? We're not being facetious here: Ora is a Chinese brand that's new to Europe and only time will tell how reliable the Funky Cat is.
That said, it's aware it has some convincing to do. That's why the Funky Cat comes with a five year, unlimited mileage warranty, while the battery is covered for eight years/100,000 miles.
The servicing intervals are pretty lengthy, too: two years/18,000 miles to be precise, which will save you both money and time spent going back and forth to the dealer.
Insurance groups and costs
The Ora Funky Cat First Edition has been placed in insurance group 21, which means it should cost less to insure than its direct competitors, and less than small electric cars like the MINI Electric and Honda E. That's because of its easy repairability, apparently, while we reckon inspectors probably also like the Funky Cat's somewhat tardy acceleration. With relatively low insurance costs, it could be the ideal electric car for new drivers.
VED car tax: What is the annual road tax on an Ora Funky Cat?
You won't currently be charged any tax on electric vehicles, so your annual tax bill for the Ora Funky Cat will be nothing. This is expected to change in the near future so bear that in mind when calculating the running costs of an Ora Funky Cat.
How much should you be paying for a used Ora Funky Cat?
"There aren't a multitude of options and trim levels to choose from - the Ora Funky Cat will initially be sold solely as a First Edition model, priced at £31,995 in the UK."
We expect the range to be expanded in 2023, perhaps with the bigger battery model or even the sporty Ora Funky Cat GT. Prices for these are yet to be confirmed but expect an increase in the current £31,995 starting price.
The Ora Funky Cat will be sold via a small number of dealers initially. These include Peter Vardy CARZ in Glasgow, Lookers in Wolverhampton and Braintree and Wessex Garage in Bristol. The brand says it expects the number of dealers to grow gradually in the coming years, while there'll be a greater number of service centres providing aftersales support. Alternatively, you'll be able to buy a new Ora Funky Cat online via the brand's website.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The Ora Funky Cat range will initially be sold in just one First Edition trim level. Standard equipment on the Ora Funky Cat First Edition includes a suite of driver-assistance technology (including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, auto emergency braking and rear cross traffic alert). The Funky Cat First Edition also comes with faux-leather seats (with electric adjustment for both the driver and front passenger), a 10.25-inch infotainment display with navigation, a wireless phone charger, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, a facial recognition system and voice recognition with a 'hello Ora' personal assistant.
Automatic LED headlights are also standard, as well as adjustable regenerative braking, a leather-stitched steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, a 360-degree parking camera and rear parking sensors.
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Is the GWM Ora Funky Cat being sold in the UK?
The GWM Ora Funky Cat will officially be sold in the UK, distributed by International Motors. The British company is also responsible for selling Isuzu and Subaru models in the UK, while it has also taken on the aftersales division of Mitsubishi Motors UK
Why is it called the Ora Funky Cat?
The Ora Funky Cat is actually sold in its home market at the Ora Good Cat. Other cars sold in the range in China include the Ora Black Cat, Ora White Cat, Ora Punky Cat and Ora Big Cat. It was decided that 'Funky Cat' would be a catchier name in Europe.
Will there be more Ora electric vehicles sold in the UK?
The brand is expected to launch more electric cars in the UK, with the next model likely to be a saloon car (currently dubbed the 'Ora Next Cat').
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