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ORA 03 REVIEW

The ORA Funky Cat has now been renamed the ORA 03; it retains its characterful styling, the feel-good interior, and it’s relatively affordable for an EV.

  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
  • ORA 03
Green Car Guide Rating: 7/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:    ORA 03 PURE+
  • Fuel:    Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 193 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:    64 kW

Summary

  • The ORA Funky Cat becomes the ORA 03
  • Characterful styling
  • Quality feel, including the interior
  • Relatively affordable compared to many EVs

BACKGROUND

The ORA Funky Cat first came to the UK in 2022 and now it has been renamed the ORA 03. The majority of motorists in the UK won’t be familiar with the ORA Funky Cat, the ORA 03, or the company behind the car, Great Wall Motor (GWM), despite it being one of China’s biggest automotive manufacturers, with five brands.

We drove the ORA Funky Cat on its UK launch in November 2022, but only for a short time, so we’ve now lived with the ORA 03 for a week – what have we learned?

ORA 03

ORA 03

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The ORA 03 as tested has a 48 kWh lithium ion phosphate battery, a 171 PS electric motor, and it’s front-wheel drive.

The exterior design has character, with styling reminiscent of a MINI – although at 4,235mm long, the ORA 03 is larger than a MINI five-door hatch (which is 3,982mm in length). There’s generous legroom for rear-seat passengers, but, at just 228-litres, the ORA 03’s boot capacity isn’t huge, and it features a high sill. You’re left with the feeling that a sliding rear seat would be useful, so you could have the option of more rear legroom or a larger boot.

The ORA 03’s cabin exudes a feel-good factor thanks to its interesting design, with the exterior colour also featuring in the interior of our test car, but perhaps the biggest surprise is that the dashboard materials and the fit and finish all look and feel high quality.

ORA 03

ORA 03

ORA 03 DRIVING EXPERIENCE

The ORA 03 is a relatively small car with instantly-available electric torque so you would hope that there’s some fun to be had in the driving department, and this is indeed the case – although with a 0-62 mph time of 8.3 seconds, there are other EVs with more rapid acceleration.

Ride quality is generally decent, apart from when you hit large bumps, and overall refinement is up there with most other EVs, although some road and wind noise does intrude into the cabin, especially at motorway speeds.

The 03 is front-wheel drive, so with all that torque, under enthusiastic acceleration you can experience some wheelspin, especially on wet roads.

There are four drive modes, Eco, Auto, Normal and Sport (it’s hard to tell what the difference is between Auto and Normal). If you select Sport mode, the car momentarily makes the noise of a revving petrol car. The drive mode switch is hidden away in a strange location out of view on the right-hand side of the dashboard behind the steering wheel.

There’s a circular gear selector, and we found that the car didn’t always go into drive or reverse when selected. There’s no option to alter the level of brake regeneration via the gear selector, although this can be done in the driving controls menu on the touchscreen, which offers the choice of three levels of regen, and ‘one pedal’ driving. The handbrake goes on and off automatically, although it seems to decide whether it’s doing this quite inconsistently, which can catch you out.

As with most of the latest EVs, the majority of car controls are accessed through the touchscreen, which results in you constantly reaching out to the screen to control car functions when you’re driving. Ironically, when you’re reaching out to press buttons on the touchscreen, the car often tells you to “concentrate while driving”.

The touchscreen – which isn’t particularly large, although it’s relatively wide – features shortcut buttons on the right-hand side of the screen, but they’re not the shortcut buttons that you want – for example there’s no shortcut button for the satnav, although satnav does appear on the home screen.

There are also small temperature controls on the right-hand side of the touchscreen. which are small and fiddly, and to change the fan speed, a lot of button-pressing is involved.

As well as the central touchscreen, there’s also an instrument display in front of the driver.

When we reviewed the ORA 03 it wasn’t possible to project your phone onto the touchscreen, but this feature has since been introduced.

ORA makes big claims about the voice control system in the Funky Cat, saying that speaking to the car can avoid the use of traditional car controls; it does seem to work better than many systems that we’ve previously tried, but it’s still not perfect.

There’s a lot of steering intervention in the ORA 03, with the car saying that an “emergency steering response is being activated”. We’re not aware that there was ever an emergency that needed such a harsh response. And it’s not easy to get rid of the lane departure warning system – you need to press a total of four buttons to switch off this feature.

ORA 03

ORA 03

ORA 03 ELECTRIC RANGE AND CHARGING

The ORA 03 is available with two battery sizes: PURE+, with a 48 kWh battery and a 193 WLTP electric range (as tested), and the PRO+, with a 63 kWh battery and a 260 WLTP electric range. After a week of mixed driving the real-world range of our PURE+ test car was averaging 165 miles.

The ORA 03 has a maximum rapid DC charging rate of 64 kW, which is slower than most competitors. This translates to a 15% to 80% charge at a 100 kW rapid charger taking 42 minutes 30 seconds for the 48 kWh battery, or 48 minutes for the 63 kWh battery. A home 6.6kW single-phase AC charger gives a full charge in 5 hours 24 minutes and 7.2 hours respectively. The 03 would benefit from having a light for the charging socket.

The ORA 03 was on test with us during cold weather, and it didn’t have heated seats or a heated steering wheel, so more cabin heating is required, which is bad for the car’s driving range.

How to charge an electric car

ORA 03

ORA 03

ORA 03

PRICE AND MODEL RANGE

The ORA 03 PURE+ (with a 48 kWh battery) is priced from £31,995 and the ORA 03 PRO+ (with a 63 kWh battery) is priced from £34,995.

There are no factory options other than metallic paint (£595), and metallic paint and dual tone interior (£795).

The 21E insurance group should mean fairly low insurance premiums; ORA says that the range of driver assistance systems is a key factor in the low insurance group.

The ORA 03 also has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, along with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, an eight-year/100,000 miles EV battery warranty and EV powertrain warranty.

ORA is in the process of expanding a network of physical dealerships in the UK.

ORA 03

 

Conclusion

The ORA 03 is a compact car with an electric powertrain so there’s an element of fun to the driving experience. The 03 also has characterful design and a quality feel to the cabin. Perhaps most critically, it’s more affordable compared than many EVs.

However there are too many over-intrusive safety systems such as the lane departure warning system, and to switch these off, a lot of button-pressing is required on the touchscreen. This is also the case for general car controls such as heating and ventilation, which are all on the touchscreen, often with small graphics, meaning that you’re constantly reaching out to press the screen, ironically often resulting in the car telling you off for not looking at the road ahead.

The 193-mile range of the PURE+ model isn’t huge, the 64 kW maximum charging rate isn’t particularly fast, and the 228-litre boot isn’t the best in class.

After a week of living with the car, the ORA 03 is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.

Car facts and figures ORA 03 REVIEW

  • Test electric driving range: 165 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 3.7 miles/kWh
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):    £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2023/24): 2%
  • Price:    £31,995
  • Insurance group:    21 E
  • Power:    171 PS
  • Torque:    250 Nm
  • Max speed:    99 mph
  • 0-62 mph:    8.3 seconds
  • Weight:    1,540 kg
  • Towing capacity: 0 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor