Funky Cat is a real smiler
Last Word First
No question – it’s a quare name for a car, its parent company ORA displaying a sense
of humour not normally expressed via the naming of a new model car. The confident
audacity of the Great Wall Motor Company with their new, all-electric hatchback, is
well placed on driving it at its release onto the Irish market.
This B-segment SUV is up against some everyday, established names, this newcomer
requiring more than a quirky name and eastern promise. ORA arrives with its Funky
Cat at a time of post COVID recovery for the Motor Industry and a time of change,
where the motoring population are being asked to believe and invest in new
They are not alone, with MG and Polestar already with their feet under the table and
BYD just announcing their impending arrival later this year. Safe to assume they are
the first of others emerging from the mist of the East, the volume sales in their
existing markets far exceeding anything we could conceive here. It is worth noting
that ORA have a joint venture with BMW and their next MINI E.
Currently, three outlets will form the Funky Cat attack on the Irish market, where
their distributers here, the IM Group, reckon they will be able to target some 53% of
those looking to get into a B-segment SUV. In the Dublin region, Linders will lead the
way, with Blackwater Motors in Cork, looking after the south, while the West will be
awoken to the Funky Cat charms by the Connolly Group.
My two-hour test drive proved the Funky Cat to be very capable company. It is
roomy, albeit the boot space suffers a tad because of it and is very well appointed
inside on all manner of comfort and convenient systems, certainly outside what
might be expected in the segment.
Those dismissing this new ORA and indeed those yet to arrive from the massive
Chinese motor industry, should do so with the personal caveat of look, touch and test
drive. Aside from its humorous attempt at being cuddly and instantly friendly, this
car is a serious player and if this is an aperitif to what comes later, our motoring
choices are about to change dramatically.
Model: Funky Cat
Drive: Front-wheel drive
Format: 5-door, 5-seat hatchback
Model Range: 300PRO & 400PRO+
Motor: 47.78k/Wh, Lithium-Ion Phosphate and 63.13k/Wh Ternary Lithium
Annual Road Tax: €120
Charging times: 15 – 80% 3.2 & 4.3hours on AC 3-phase: 20-80% 42.5mins &
42mins on DC charge
Kerb weight: 1540kgs
Boot space: 228 litres – 858 litres seat down
Price: €31,995 & €39,995
Euro NCAP: 5-Star Rating
Warranty: 5-Year unlimited mileage, with 5-year Roadside Assistance
Battery Warranty: 8-Years, 160,000kms
Some of the competition
CUPRA Born, VW ID3, KIA NiroEV, MG ZS, FIAT 500E, Hyundai Kona, Megane E-
Tech, MINI E,
Approaching the Funky Cat on a front/side angle and it has a familiarity to it similar
to meeting a distant relation for the first time. You can see the family resemblance,
they are different, walking their own walk, but you think you know them. Thankfully
my test car came without any mention of Funky Cat, with ORA on the boot lid and
GWM on the lower right, just above the rear bumper.
Standing on very nice 18” alloys, the front bonnet and LED headlight mix has a
welcoming look, in keeping with ORA’s marketing ethos of friendly personality. At
the rear it goes all Knight Rider, with the rear light offering their own greeting on
unlocking the car – now that’s funky!
Opening the door and you are greeted with quilted leatherette seating a fully digital
one-piece driver and centre console, and a roomy interior - not shabby or inferior to
the competition at all. As with many cars on offer today, new owners should spend
quality time familiarising themselves with the multiple menus on offer and set
everything up as you desire, prior to going ninja on the open road.
Voice and face recognition technology will go over most owners’ heads, whilst those
who have a tad of trepidation about who is listening and watching us, will shudder at
the thought of a car that facially recognises you, remembers your choices and tastes
and sets you car up for you. The voice recognition is very good, providing you with an
invisible valet to open the driver’s window, switch to nigh screen, turn on the heated
seat, or the radio – all after saying ‘Hello ORA .‘
The introductory 300Pro also comes with adaptive cruise control, 360-degree
surround camera and wireless phone charging. Step up to the 400Pro + and you get
a powered boot id, an opening panoramic sunroof, massaging, ventilated and heated
front seats, heated steering wheel and auto park assist – not too shabby !!
Internal room is very good, the negative being the boot space is limited to 228 litres,
with access via a high lip and not overly wide aperture. Dropping the rear seats
provides a useable 858 litres.
On the road
Anyone who has driven an electric car will be aware of its ability to put large swathes
of tarmac in its mirrors in GTi time. The Funky Cat is no different and will have its
front wheels scrabbling for grip if given more juice on slow turns and corners.
Having 250Nm of torque from both the electric motors, (48 & 63k/Wh), on offer,
gives the ORA all a driver needs to complete all bar a formula 1 overtake.
Courtesy of the face camera and other covert electronic monitoring systems, (Lane
Centering, Lane Keep Assist, Blindspot Detection), you are kept informed, some
might say too much, on almost all your road actions. Warning beeps and console
flashes abound should you remove a hand from the steering, veer off the straight and
narrow, the facial recognition camera telling tales of your eye attention being
elsewhere other that straight ahead – no hiding place anymore.
Out on the secondary roads of County Meath and the ORA was very decent company.
It is quiet, in keeping with electric persona, and can cover ground with as much
enthusiasm as is prudent, the only intrusion being the beep from the very sensitive
lane keep assist. Over my 100-kilometre route, I was very happy with how the Funky
With all electric cars having the near-on identical rapid-response to throttle
characteristic, one needs to be mindful of current road speed limits to avoid having a
dour chat with a chap in a wig. Most will find the ORA more than adequate to the
needs, with only those who seek every whisper from their steering missing the sporty
As an introduction to the ORA brand and the intent of parent, Great Wall Motors, the
Funky Cat makes quite the statement. Aside from its slightly bonkers moniker, the
300Pro, with its WLTP range of 310km will serve well those who live within the
urban commute, while those coming from outside the Pale can opt for the bigger
battery 400Pro+ and its WLTP 420km range and extra creature comforts. Me, I’d
order one without any mention of the wayward feline and be quite happy with my Purchase.