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FUNKY TOWN (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

Urban folk have yet another fashionable small SUV option. Jonathan Crouch checks out GWM ORA's 03.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 48

Once called the Funky Cat and now called the 03, what we have here is a remarkably appealing car. This trendy little Chinese EV comes from freshly created Great Wall Motors brand ORA and aims to offer people seeking a small, fashionable all-electric hatch a refreshingly different option.

Backgroundword count: 209

This is a small EV from Chinese maker Great Wall Motors, who sold the cheap but uncompetitive Steed pick-up here between 2012 and 2016. They returned in late 2022 with this car, first called the 'Funky Cat', then rather more blandly re-named in 2024 as the '03'. It's a remarkably credible offering sold under a fledgling Great Wall Motors sub-brand called ORA, which has the ambitious goal of selling up to 50,000 versions of this car a year in the UK, using a combination of selected dealers, shopping centre outlets and online selling. The same car is known as the 'Cat 01' or the 'Good Cat' in China. Where it's also joined in the showroom by three other variants - the 'Pink Cat', the 'White Cat' and the 'Black Cat'. Yes really. Around 1,000 'Funky Cat' versions of this model were sold before it changed its name to '03' in early 2024, which coincided with an increase in drive range to 260 miles. This car is in the vanguard of a horde of Chinese EV imports bound for Europe. MG and Volvo are already basically Chinese brands, with Nio and iPhone maker Foxconn among those marques still to come. So, can this 03 model cut it? Let's find out.

Driving Experienceword count: 399

You should find the 03 to be a perky little thing. Power is sent to a 171PS motor on the front axle with 250Nm of torque, which in the most affordable variant is powered by a 48kWh battery - that's what we tried. There's the usual single-speed auto gearbox. And the sprint to 30mph is dispatched in just 3.8s and 62mph in 8.3s, en route to a limited top speed of 99mph. That's as fast as you'll go in an 03. Still, what's on offer is just about enough for the car to feel eager - though that's not the same as it being satisfying to drive: if you want kart-like handling, you'll prefer a MINI Electric. For 03 folk, a 'Sport' drive mode is provided, but you won't ever feel much like using it; this isn't really that kind of car. The other modes are 'Normal', 'Eco' and 'Auto', each setting accompanied by its own specific chime as you select it - 'Sport' by what sounds like some sort of thunderclap. Body roll is evident at speed in tighter corners, the weird Giti GitiComfort tyres aren't especially grippy and the light steering gives very little feedback, even if you select the heaviest of the three available settings ('Sport'). Drive with less abandon and you might get somewhere close to the claimed EV range figure, which is rated at 193 miles for the base 48kWh version and 261 miles for the alternative 63kWh 'PRO+' model. To aid your driving efficiency, a display to the right of the instrument cluster screen waves up and down in shades of green, turquoise and red, but all it actually does (apart from making you feel queasy if you look at it for too long) is tell you what you already know (how hard your foot's on the throttle). A better tool for properly maximising drive range lies with all the various provided braking reg settings. There are three ('light', 'normal' and 'strong'), plus a dedicated 'one-pedal' mode which, if engaged, basically means you'll hardly ever have to use the actual brake except when coming to a complete stop. It's great around town, which of course is where that light steering comes into its own. And where you'll notice that the ride's quite supple and effective at dealing with potholes and speed humps. It's a different world from driving a bumpy, unyielding MINI Electric.

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£31,995.00 (At 7 Oct 2022)

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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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