The highly specified First Edition car is the only one on offer right now and will remain so until such time as bosses see fit to introduce the sporty Funky Cat GT (tweaks are primarily chassis- and style-focused) and the longer-range variant (with a 61kWh battery boosting range to 261 miles) at some point in 2023, when the longer and sportier ‘Next Cat’ fastback will also come to UK showrooms. 

Ora presents the Funky Cat as a small car with big-car tech and prestige – and that’s an ethos that carries through to its dynamic character. Not in a bad way (this is a fantastically easy thing to thread down tight, slick, congested country lanes) but in the impressive composure it is able to maintain at speed and on rougher surfaces. 

On the motorway, it holds its lane comfortably and predictably, requiring minimal correction in crosswinds in the wake of overtaking lorries (both out in force on the day we tested the car), and though it doesn’t tout particularly lofty power and torque outputs, there’s plenty of performance in reserve for high-speed overtaking and merging. There’s a bit of buffeting and tyre roar to speak of, but nothing that would grate over the course of a lap of the M25, for example (it won’t go much further on a charge, anyway), and the quilted leatherette seats – albeit contrived in their retro ‘plushness’, somewhat reminiscent of a ’50s Pontiac – are generously padded, comfortably shaped and flexible in their positioning. 

Head into the shires and the Funky Cat continues to make good on its premium promises, coasting quietly over potholes and coming back down to earth softly after enthusiastically approached lumps and bumps. The steering is a bugbear: there’s barely any weight variation off-centre, which makes for a lack of feel and pretty resoundingly kills off any preconceptions of this being an unlikely affordable driver’s hero, despite its agreeable straight-line pace. Plus, the steering wheel feels a couple of inches too large in diameter, so there’s a bit of grappling in low-speed manoeuvres and quick bends, and the traction control isn’t quite up to the task of facilitating wheelspin-free, full-bore launches in Sport mode on wet roads – though maybe that’s too much to ask. It remains to be seen exactly how the forthcoming GT variant will be differently tuned, but if it’s to have the chops to properly take on the most tied-down compact EVs on sale, it’ll need to tighten up the steering rack and stiffen the dampers, at least.



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