REVIEW: Funky Cat

The Funky Cat is the first electric car to arrive in Ireland from Chinese company Great Wall Motors (GWR) and it’s marketed in Ireland under the Ora brand, who are part of the IM group that also import Subaru.

The car was styled by former Porsche designer Emanuel Derta. It has been said that if you put a put a Porsche badge on the bonnet you might think it’s a Porsche car, but instead you get what looks like an exclamation mark on the bonnet, on the alloys and also on the steering wheel.

The car has been on sale in China since November 2020 and was introduced to the European market last year. I got some curious glances last week from passers-by and from people on footpaths watching as I drove by.

There is no doubt that the car looks and feels much larger in reality than in photographs. It measures 4.2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, so it’s similar in size to cars such as the Volkswagen ID.3, MG4 and Cupra Born, rather than the Mini Electric or Honda-e.

The headlamps do look a bit like a Mini and inside the toggle switches on the dash are in the Mini style.

My test car came in a turquoise colour and inside turquoise and cream were the dominant colours in what is a very bright and spacious cabin. When you sit in, the bonnet is low and at first I felt a little nervous as I was missing the comfort of having an old-fashioned style bonnet in front of me. But you quickly get used to it.

The Funky Cat is built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform and the floor in the back is flat giving all back seat passengers plenty of leg and head room. Naturally the boot is small, but you can leave down the back seat for more space. There is no ‘frunk’ at the front as the electrics are located there, a bit like a regular petrol or diesel car.

Charging is no problem once you can find a charge point without a queue of taxis. But if you are thinking of buying an electric car a home charger is recommended.

I found it a very easy car to handle and you can turn it on the proverbial sixpence.

There is a facial recognition camera on the A-pillar which recognises you when you sit into the car. It keeps an eye on your driving and if your hand strays to the touchscreen you get an audible warning to keep both hands on the wheel. It can get a bit annoying.

Funky is probably a good description for this new Chinese electric motor. It could be described as a very loveable Cat. And if like me you like experimenting with new radio stations from any country in the world, you will also love this Cat.

In China, cats are considered lucky and Ora sells models with cat-based names like: Lightning Cat, Punk Cat and Good Cat. The Good Cat is what the Funky Cat is called in China, but the distributors saw fit to re-brand it for Europe.

Prices start at €31,995 for the 300 PRO version, while the 400 PRO + version, with the larger battery that I drove, will cost you €39,995. In addition to the larger battery and better range, you also get a few other extras like a reversing camera.

The official range is 310km for the small battery and 420km for the large one. Those figures are a bit ambitious and much will depend on whether it’s urban or motorway driving you are doing. Road tax is €120.

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