Small size, big battery… The Cupra Born VZ XL combines the advantages on its technical sheet. Result: it comes out with 550 km of WLTP autonomy. But what does that look like in real life?
SUVs have killed minivans. Not necessarily more practical but more attractive, these vehicles are on the rise. And this is even more the case with electrical technologies. Because if their silhouette is a paradox in this time of sobriety, they allow you to carry a huge battery pack to aim for the best autonomy. On the compact side, few have more than 65 useful kWh. But not the Cupra Born: taking up the torch from the ID.3 (which returns with the same configuration), the Spanish compact has the largest battery available on SUVs from other brands in the Volkswagen group. Could this be the perfect electric, to convince the most hesitant without forcing them to buy a large SUV?
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Presentation of the Cupra Born XL
XL for Extra Large. This is how this version of the Cupra Born is characterized, which is therefore equipped with a generous battery. More precisely, this is the 77 kWh unit available on the shelves of the Volkswagen group, which can be fitted on the common MEB modular platform.
But if it has the same capacity of 77 kWh as other models in the group, it has a small specificity however: in view of our various analyses, it is more precisely the unit supplied by SK On. A battery with a capacity barely more generous than announced according to our measurements, but above all very quick to recharge. As such, the Cupra Born XL automatically offers the 11 kW AC charger and can target a fast charging power of 170 kW at peak.
This battery is exclusively associated with the 230 hp VZ version. Also called e-Boost, this variation offers an over boost of 26 hp in peak compared to the usual configuration, equipped with a 204 hp rear electric machine. The fact remains that this cavalry is subject to several conditions on paper to benefit from it: you must have a battery at the right temperature, a certain level of charge and activate Cupra mode. We will see that this is not necessarily the case in reality. In any case, the torque of 310 Nm remains, as does the vehicle’s net power of 95 hp, or almost 60% less as is often the case.
All our consumption measurements of the Cupra Born VZ XL
Combined range: 458 km
The Born shows its various strengths from the first turns of the wheel. Lower and lighter than an SUV, it quickly displays interesting consumption values. And this despite the outside temperature oscillating between 15 and 16°C, the maximum that we will not exceed this year for our measurements (range of 12 to 16°C). As usual, the distribution of consumption according to sector is quite similar to what we have noted with other vehicles in the group. In town, where it demonstrates all the qualities that we know on this basis (pleasure, silence and turning radius), the Spaniard displayed an average of 15.1 kWh/100 km, i.e. a theoretical autonomy of 510 km. At the other end of the spectrum, we noted an average of 19 kWh/100 km on expressways, or 405 km all the same.
At the end of this journey intended to simulate a daily mixed journey, the Cupra Born XL displayed an average of 16.8 kWh/100. This translates into a formidable action radius of 458 km! A fitting exclamation, since the competitor of the Renault Megane e-Tech and MG 4 Luxury shows very clearly that it is playing in the big leagues.
|Conso. average A/R (kWh/100 km)
|Theoretical total range (km)
Long distance on motorway: 360 km
And it also plays with the best when it comes to racking up the kilometers on the motorway, in this case on our typical route between the outskirts of Lyon and Paris, in the most demanding direction of the A6. While waiting for the similar ID.3 and the MG 4 Grande Autonomie, few compacts can cross the 250 km mark in these conditions. This is what the Cupra Born is capable of doing… between 10 and 80% charge. Because according to our usual calculation, the Spanish compact boasts a theoretical total autonomy of 360 km, with a consumption of 21.4 kWh/100 km at the end of this 500 km journey. The Born thus enters the exclusive club where the Mercedes EQE, Hyundai Ioniq 6 or BMW i4 eDrive40, among others, take pride of place. Beautiful people. Despite its lower consumption, the Peugeot e-308 cannot keep up the comparison.
Renault Megane E-Tech vs Cupra Born: close duel among electric compacts, who wins?
Instant consumption of the Cupra Born XL
At a fixed speed of 110 km/h, the Born has an average of 17.8 kWh/100 km, or 433 km of theoretical range. At 130 km/h, there is an appetite of 22.6 kWh/100 km, or 341 km. Nothing new in the tropics: it only confirms once again that the difference in consumption between these two measurements is close to 27%, for -21% autonomy. The absolute loss here is 92 km.
|Cons. average (kWh/100 km)
|Theoretical total range (km)
Eco-driving: 621 km
On the road, by playing the eco-driving game with mode B activated at the touch of a button with the gear selector, we were able to get down to 12.4 kWh/100 km. Which, with this gigantic battery, pushes the theoretical total autonomy to 621 km. This is as much as the BMW i4 eDrive40 measured in similar conditions on the same road. In short, there are more than enough.
Performances of the Cupra Born VZ XL
This chapter suits the compact, intended to be more dynamic than the Volkswagen ID.3 which serves as its basis. Especially since it has a higher power peak thanks to an over-boost which must be activated by pressing the accelerator pedal fully. Except that the compact blows hot and cold here. Because by being 111 kg heavier than its Cupra L counterpart (204 hp, 58 kWh battery), it even presents barely less dapper performance on paper! A shame for the one who prides herself on a unique e-Boost.
On the road, the results still remain flattering. At 80% battery with Normal mode, we measured 0-100 km/h in 6.8 s (7.0 s announced), 80-120 km/h launched in 4.5 s and 400 m DA in 15.1 s. On the pure recovery side, we timed the exercise in 4.76 s at 80% then in 5.31 s at 20% load. That is exactly the same time recorded by us on board the L version. The difference in performance is greater than on board the ID.Buzz equipped with the same management, and this is simply explained by an overboost much less present at this load threshold: we calculated a power drop of almost 23 hp… or the equivalent of the gain provided by the boost.
|SoC at 50%
|SoC at 20%
Still, we were particularly surprised by the Cupra mode. Despite all our attempts, the timer is categorical: it only saves, at best, 0.1 s on the acceleration exercise from a stop, otherwise it can display results similar to Normal mode. Funny paradox. But it should be noted that it is the configuration that allows you to make the most of the compact, with the rear axle much more freed than on an ID.3. Fans of kicking will have to pass (the ESP is always careful), but it offers something to put a smile on your face on wet roads. It’s a shame, however, that the braking system is not more up to par: the rear drums can quickly show their limits in the event of excess, while the transition between regenerative and dissipative braking is too sensitive and poorly calibrated.
Comfort of the Cupra Born VZ XL
Some might regret the absence of the controlled suspension as standard (€900 option) on a model with a sporting, if not dynamic, vocation. Even if this does not improve the performance of the compact, it marks a break with the soft and comfortable behavior the rest of the time. The roll is well channeled and the roughness is just as well smoothed out. More agile in town than on the road, it still proves rigorous.
On board, the universe does not differ from what we already know. We can directly identify the origins of the compact, but the presentation is still different from the ID.3. Everyone will appreciate the presence of a central console or not, but it is practical on a daily basis. It also retains its hard materials and particularly complicated ergonomics from the German. Finally, the soundproofing remains impeccable. The levels are equivalent to those recorded on board a Skoda Enyaq or a Kia EV6 for example.
As usual, the MEB platform which serves as a base does not allow the integration of storage under the hood. You therefore have to make do with a trunk at the rear, with a volume of 385 liters. If it is barely smaller than that of a Renault Megane e-Tech when strictly reading the figures, it appears wider. This makes it easier to carry large objects like our model electric scooter.
Renault Megane e-Tech test: consumption, range and performance measured in our Supertest
Supertest Cupra Born XL: the conso’
Electric technology no longer really allows a car to leave the perimeter for which it was designed. For technical reasons, a city dweller will hardly be able to move away from cities without sacrificing travel times. Conversely, large SUVs allow you to plan trips without ulterior motives, but their size is not always easy on a daily basis. Bringing together the best of both worlds is the desire of this Curpa Born, which immediately appears as one of the most interesting electrics on the market: with nearly 360 km of autonomy on the motorway and nearly 460 km on a daily basis, it offers a very comfortable range of action while its urban size makes no sacrifices. In short, it is undoubtedly the ideal electric vehicle that could suit young and small families. Because beyond its autonomy, its charging performance is not lacking either. We’ll talk about it again next week!
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